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Trinity on a Mission

The gospel reading for Trinity Sunday in Year A, the closing section of Matthew’s gospel, is chosen because it contains a “trinitarian” baptismal formula. Its theme, however, is not the theology of God that emerged in the next few centuries of the early Church’s ruminations, but rather the ongoing mission of the living God in our world. So that is what I will be preaching about this Sunday. My comments on the text make five points, summarized below for those who don’t want to take 18 minutes to listen to my voice:-
1. Matthew’s “Great Commission” is not the only one: all four Gospels contain an equivalent commissioning of the disciples near the end of their narratives. So mission is essential to the Church’s reason for existence, any way the New Testament looks at it.
2. Matthew’s distinctive view of how the mission proceeds is that Jesus trained disciples who train more disciples who then train the next generation of disciples, and so on to the end of the ages, producing an ongoing transformation of humanity.
3. The mission, in Mark’s narrative, begins from Galilee, not Jerusalem, which is to say from the place they were most at home, where they had experienced earlier successes. We too are called to build on our successes rather than flog dead horses.
4. The disciples were a mixed bunch, all worshipping but some doubting. God uses us as we are! Perfection is the goal of our growth as disciples, but that can come later while we are on the job.
5. Jesus is always with us, leading the mission, right down to 2014 and beyond, and the problems we face in our modern contexts are his long before they are ours.So the responsibility he lays on us to continue God’s mission today is never a crushing burden, but rather a surprising exploration of God’s presence and purpose.
You can find my podcast here…
Let me know what you think!
Howard Pilgrim

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