A few questions we need to ask ourselves
This is Trinity Sunday. We often use this Sunday to explain the “what” of the trinity. We may use resources like the Athanasian Creed in our worship service. There is a different approach to talking about the trinity. This focuses more on the “why” of the trinity. We teach that God is love. This is a permanent quality of God, so it was before creation. In order for there to be love, there needs to be another. In order for love not to just be turned in, there needs to be a third. This is one traditional explanation of why God is in three persons. What difference does that make in our world?
Since God is love, we should be able to see that love around us. We are told in Romans that nature testifies to the existence of God. This is because God’s love shows itself in being creative. This is like how an artist expresses herself or himself in their art. The artistry of creation is God’s expression of love. Its beauty testifies to God’s love. We are told in Genesis 3 that man was placed in the Garden of Eden to keep it. God is our keeper, and we are to keep nature in the same way. The way we treat nature is how we want God to treat us. One sermon I heard paraphrased 1 John 4 (1 John 4:20 “the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen”) and said that we are not able to love and honor the creator, whom we have not seen, if we hate and dishonor the creation which we have seen.
Also, since nature testifies to God, when nature is harmed, its witness is also harmed. When nature’s beauty is degraded, nature’s witness to God is also lessened. I remember when I was young, and Dutch Elm Disease had gone through the area. There were standing groves of dead Elm trees. This was not a good testimony to God’s love. Humans had brought this disease to North America, and it had spread like fire. In the same way, when Europeans came to the Americas, they brought diseases that killed more than 90 percent of Native Americans. Most of this was unintentional, but it still brought pain and death.
Today, we need to ask ourselves, how am I helping to show that God is love, and how am I getting in the way of people seeing that God is love? How am I obscuring God’s love?
(Van Dam is the pastor of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Weirton.)