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The Sunday following Pentecost/Whitsunday is the celebration of the Holy Trinity. Trinity Sunday is a celebration of just one day, and the liturgical color is white, symbolizing the purity and sinlessness of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Now that the Holy Spirit has arrived on the scene to complete the Trinity, Ordinary Time shall begin starting next week, stretching over twenty-some weeks until the arrival of Advent in late November to early December. Nearly half of the Church Year consists of Ordinary Time for which the liturgical color is green, symbolizing the continual growth of our faith as we follow Christ and endeavor to become more like Jesus. During Ordinary Time, the weeks are counted as being "after Trinity": the First Sunday after Trinity, the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, etc.
But today we celebrate Trinity Sunday. The website Church Year explains:
Trinity Sunday, officially "The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity," is one of the few feasts of the Christian Year that celebrates a reality and doctrine rather than an event or person. On Trinity Sunday we remember and honor the eternal God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost, and lasts only one day, which is symbolic of the unity of the Trinity. The Eastern Churches have no tradition of Trinity Sunday, arguing that they celebrate the Trinity every Sunday. Westerners do as well, although they set aside a special feast day for the purpose.The Collect from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.For the Epistle today, the Book of Common Prayer requires the reading of the fourth chapter of Revelation; you may read it here in the English Standard Version: Revelation 4:1-11, ESV.
The Gospel reading for Trinity Sunday is written in the third chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John, the first verse through the fifteenth. You may read it here, again in the ESV: John 3:1-15.
Today is also the Feast of Title for two churches in the San Diego area, both of which have removed themselves from the San Diego Episcopal Diocese and have put themselves under the authority of Biblical leadership: Holy Trinity in Ocean Beach (along the coast in the city of San Diego) and Blessed Trinity Church, formerly in Alpine and now meeting in El Cajon. I have been attending weekday healing services led by Father Keith Acker when he was Rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church and also after he and his church left the Diocese and reformed as Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity. The church relocated a few years ago to the more central SCAIR building on Main Street in downtown El Cajon as Blessed Trinity Church which is now part of the Reformed Episcopal Church. So blessings to both churches on their Feast of Title!
So today we give special thanks to our Lord, one God realized in three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although we praise God for the Trinity each and every day of the year, this day we celebrate it more than usual, remembering His gracious goodness, His lovingkindness, and His ever-faithful mercy in, as Dr. Stephen Sammons, our former pastor at Lake Murray Community Church often stated, loving us as we are, yet loving us too much to allow us to remain that way. In the traditional words of the Gloria Patri, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
Here's the Collect for Trinity Sunday from the Book of Common Prayer 2011:
ALMIGHTY and eternal God, who gave grace to your people to proclaim the true Faith, acknowledging the glory of the eternal Trinity and, by the power of your Divine Majesty, worshiping One God; Keep us standing firm in this Faith and always defend us from danger; Who lives and rules, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Also, I wanted to share a few quotations on The Trinity...which are not easy to find, by the way. But I really like these words from an Anglican who started the Holiness movement:
"Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and I will show you a man that can comprehend the Triune God."
And another quotation, this time from a Catholic mystic of the 14th century:
"You, oh eternal Trinity, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter, the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek."
~Saint Catherine of Siena
And from another mystic, this time of the 20th century:
"He is at once infinite solitude (one nature) and perfect society (three persons)."
And finally, from a saint recently gone Home to glory:
"God the Father is fully God. God the Son is fully God. God the Holy Spirit is fully God. The Bible presents this as fact. It does not explain it."
Wishing you all a blessed Trinity Sunday as Ordinary Time begins once more...