“He therefore that would be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity”
My text comes not directly from the Scriptures but from the Scriptures credally understood, from the Athanasian Creed, to be more precise, itself one of the three catholic creeds of the universal Church. It is rarely used and yet it speaks most wonderfully and profoundly to the central and essential mystery of the Christian Faith as well as to the spiritual nature of the great religions of the world. It is all about the Trinity, about God revealed in the witness of the Scriptures as Trinity, the three-in-one and the one-in-three, God as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The important point is that the Creeds come out of the Scriptures and return us to the Scriptures within a pattern of understanding – an understanding above all else about God. We cannot not think God. In the Christian understanding thinking God means thinking the Trinity.
This is the essential insight of the Christian Faith but it belongs as well to the deeper meaning of all of the great religions of the world. As the great nineteenth century German philosopher, Hegel, observes, the Trinity is adumbrated – shadowed forth – in some way or another in all of the great religions of the world. At issue is how do we think the Trinity?
The Trinity is the fullest possible statement about the spiritual reality of God: God in his self-sufficient majesty and truth. This is a day where we stand on our heads, as it were. We are enveloped in mysteries which we strive to think knowing that we are struggling with what is inescapably beyond our grasp and yet cannot not be thought. Such is worship which is why the lesson on this day is from The Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine. It presents us with a vision of heaven but even more with a vision of worship, the worship of the whole of creation. It is in worship that our humanity achieves its greatest dignity and highest honour. Our souls are made apt for worship. We are made for worship and for worship, in the language of Isaiah which John deliberately recalls here, of the thrice-holy God, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Worship is about thinking God.
Think about that for a moment and realize how much that runs counter to our culture and church. It is not simply about us and about what pleases us as if entertaining ourselves and making us feel good about ourselves was the aim and purpose of the Church. No. It is first and foremost about God and only then the discovery of things about the truth of ourselves in God. Such is the true meaning of worship: God and us in God.