Well, here we go. It comes around every year: the dreaded ‘Trinity Sunday’ sermon. Actually, we should not be afraid. It should be as natural for us to speak of God by the name of Trinity as it is to call on him by the name of Love. To speak of God by the name of Trinity is to understand that relationship or community is the ground and meaning of reality, of all that is. No being comes to be not already in relationship. We are not given to ourselves in the first place as isolated individuals, but we are given to be in relationship; and it is only through relationship – most importantly our relationship with God who is from eternity both perfect community and perfect unity – that we come to be our individual selves.
As Christians, we know God as Trinity because the fundamental Christian experience is the experience that salvation (the overcoming of the separation between God and the world) is offered to us and completed in Jesus Christ; that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that the world might be saved through him.” We know God as Trinity, moreover, because we experience God’s Spirit, dwelling within us, inviting us to share in the same Spirit of loving intimacy which the Father shares with the Son. In St Paul’s words, “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:15-17). Fellow heirs with Christ! If only we could allow that promise to permeate all of our actions and decisions! It is our invitation to live within the perfect communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the invitation to live in perfect communion with all that is.
Sometimes, my head spins with the wonder of it all – the audacity of the theologians who first dared to put language to these things. To insist, for example, that the word ‘Trinity’ does not just say something about our experience of God, “but says something essential “about the mystery of God’s eternal being.” It is fashionable today to say that the greatness of God forbids any one faith to claim a privileged understanding of the being of God. There is of course much wisdom in that caution. But neither can we take it to be an absolute rule. To do so would be to maintain that our experiences of God have nothing to do with the reality of God, the God behind those experiences. But to assert that there is an unbridgeable gap between our experience of God and the being of God is to destroy the ground of faith. We trust that God reveals himself to us as God truly is – in creation, in the word spoken through the prophets, and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus his son. So to call upon the name of God as Trinity is not to formulate some impossibly difficult logical puzzle. It is a prayer, a statement of faith: that God is who God reveals himself to be – self-giving, outward-turning, loving from eternity.
Catherine Lacugna, in her well-known book on the Trinity, expresses this faith in beautiful words. To call upon God by the name of Trinity, she says, is to believe that:
God cannot be anything but personal. . . . God alone exists at every moment in perfect communion. God alone is both unoriginated and the origin of everything; God alone is incorruptible love; God alone cannot perish; God alone can thoroughly empty Godself without ceasing to be God; God alone never succumbs to isolation and withdrawal; God alone exists in right relationship; God alone is infinitely related to every last creature, past, present, and future.
To say these things about God, to make positive statements about who God is and how God acts, is also to speak about our belief about who we are. To call upon God by the name of Trinity, in other words, is to hear ourselves called into a certain kind of life. To quote Lacugna again, if:
the ultimate source of all reality is not a ‘by-itself’ or an ‘in-itself’ but a person, a toward-another . . . (If) The ultimate ground and meaning of being is therefore communion among persons; (if) God is ecstatic, fecund, self-emptying out of love for another, a personal God who comes to self through another
then what sort of people ought we to be? How ought we to live? How might our lives reflect and participate in that “ecstatic, fecund, self-emptying love” that is the ground and meaning of being?
One thing we can say already: we are not called to be these things alone. That is why we are here, now, together. We are here because we experience God as Trinity. We are here because we desire that our lives reflect that perfect communion – with one another, with all that is. We assemble here to practise how to be real persons in real community; we come here to practise love for one another and for God’s holy and beautiful world.
Very practically speaking, one way we practise this love, this Trinitarian life together, is through our Sunday Lunches. Last week I included the lunches in a short list of ways in which I believe our parish acts as a prophetic community – that is, modelling an alternative way of being to the dominant culture around us. Trinitarian life is prophetic because it challenges the prevailing ethos of our society, the ethos one political scientist called possessive individualism. The Sunday Lunches are Trinitarian and prophetic because they challenge the ethos which maintains that possessive individualism reflects the really real. The lunches insist that, no! There is another way, a way that reflects the being and ways of God – the way of hospitality, of mutual sharing, of creative generosity, of self-giving – not only for those we know and like, but for all. If we see the Sunday lunches as just something nice we do for ourselves, then let’s forget them. But if we see the Sunday lunches as practising Trinitarian faith, as practising perfect communion with and for one another and for all whom God sends our way, then let us make the lunches a priority, both as a community and as individuals. Let us make sure each one of us is doing whatever he or she can to ensure that this ministry thrives in the Holy Spirit. Let us, each one, practise generous self-giving in our active support of the lunches. Right now, too few of us actively seek ways to support the ministry. Too few of us anxiously look around for the sign-up sheets when we go into the hall – before we line up for food. The Sunday Lunches are a precious and prophetic example of the way we practice our Trinitarian faith. I am asking us all, not just to lend a hand when asked, but actively to seek out ways to ensure the prophetic voice of this ministry does not falter but moves from strength to strength.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1973), 4.
 Ibid., p. 301
 Ibid., p. 14