Pentecost and Trinity

In the Church calendar we have just celebrated the two important festivals of Pentecost and Trinity. Our cathedral is called the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity and at the high altar there is a famous tapestry celebrating the Trinity. It is made up of seven panels, in the three central panels there is a red equilateral triangle in the background with a bright white sun in the centre representing the Father, a blue Tau cross representing the Son, and orange wing-shaped flames representing the Holy Spirit. On each of the four side panels are symbols of the four Evangelists – Matthew (a winged man), Mark (a winged lion), Luke (a winged ox) and John (a winged eagle). Wings represent the spread of the Gospel far and wide. There are also symbols of the four elements of creation representing the whole earth: earth, air, fire, and water.

Our Gospel reading for yesterday was from Matthew 28:16 – 20

‘Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”’

Three Instructions from Jesus

These were the final comforting and reassuring words of Jesus to his disciples in which he instructs them in three vital aspects of faith:

First, He reassures them of his power and authority. Jesus has conquered death through his sacrifice on the cross and has paid the price for our sin. We must not doubt but trust that Jesus is ultimately in control of our lives.

Second, He commissions them to go out into all the world to make disciples. Jesus instructs them to baptise believers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His desire is that all may come to know him as Lord and Saviour. We are the means by which He has chosen to spread the good news of His love through our words and actions to the rest of humanity throughout the world.

Third, He promises to be with them always. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, His presence is everlasting, come what may, He promises to be with us forever and ever, throughout eternity.

Three Instructions from Paul

Similarly in our New Testament reading yesterday 2 Corinthians 13:13

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all evermore. Amen’

Again, Paul comforts and reassures us of three things:

First the ‘Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, means that we do not have to earn God’s love because of the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. Grace is the foundation of our Christian faith because we are saved by faith through grace. God’s grace is His undeserved favour and through Christ it is freely given, unconditionally.

Second the ‘Love of the Father’, our heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this to give us new life and so that we could spend eternity with Him, this is God’s true, sacrificial, and unconditional love.

Third the ‘Fellowship of the Holy Spirit’, not only does God love us but he has not left us alone. He has adopted us into His family, we are His sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit guides us through the scriptures into all truth and empowers us to become children of God and followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit is present with us at all times and gives us the boldness and the power to live and to proclaim God’s love.

I love the way both Jesus and Paul help us to remember these important faith-shaping doctrines by listing in ‘three’s’ – very Trinitarian indeed!

Let Us Pray

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever. Amen

(The 15th century Russian artist Andrei Rublev’s painting c. 1425-27 is full of symbolism and is interpreted as an icon of the Holy Trinity, and the embodiment of spiritual unity, peace, harmony, mutual love and humility. Such a pity that such ideals have been forgotten by Russia in it’s war with Ukraine. Let us keep praying for peace!)


Being Disciples: Essentials of the Christian Life by Rowan Williams

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr

The Coming of The Holy Spirit (for Children) by Robert Baden