The Feast of the Holy Trinity

Lessons:Genesis 1:1-2:4a Psalm 8 2nd Corinthians 13:11-13 St. Matthew 28:16-20

Prayer of the Day: God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

28.16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

St. Matthew 28:16-20, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Ever Three and Ever One

As I write this devotional message, I am sitting in the meadow at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, in Hillside, Colorado. We are just below Eagle Peak (which some of our campers will attempt to ascend today), at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, looking across the valley towards the Wet Mountains, and it is a spectacular day. Light clouds dot the blue sky. Snow is visible on western slope of Pike’s Peak. The cacophony of birds calling causes me to wish I knew more about identifying birds by their calls. A light breeze makes its way through the pines. A small creek gurgles in distance (no small distraction for this fly fisherman…). The occasional sound of Middle School laughter makes its way to my ear. In a setting like this, it is easy to be inspired by creation, and for those of us who call ourselves Christian: in the creating work of our God. We live in a world that has been created good by our God; a world able to sustain and delight those who live within it. Both are in evidence today here in the meadow. I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

This camp has been a deep source of blessing for Saint Peter Lutheran Church’s youth and their families. I have spent many weeks at various camps during the thirty-some years I have been involved in congregational ministry, and for my money there are none better than this one. There is a deep sense of grace in this place, both in what is taught, and in how people live together. Campers are reminded that God loves them enough to become one of them; to give even life itself, so that they might know forgiveness and renewal. This is a truth both proclaimed and practiced, and for many of our young people the time they have spent here has deepened their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helped them to experience first-hand the loving forgiveness of God. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.

Ask any camper returning from Rainbow Trail and they will tell you that this is a spirited place. Spirited worship. Spirited play. Spirited fellowship. Spirited compassion. It is also a place where God’s Holy Spirit moves through campers and staff. In planned activities, spontaneous conversations, the warmth of a hug or a smile, a postcard or hand written note at mail call… in these and many other ways, the Holy Spirit moves to inspire and comfort our young people during this week away from family and friends. Ours is an embodied faith, and it is inspiring to observe as college-aged staff and campers become available to serve as vehicles of the Holy Spirit, and truly become the presence of God in one another’s lives. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

The fullness of God’s transforming love and redeeming grace is evident this week, as we are gathered here at Rainbow Trail. Our Triune God is indeed present, in rich and powerful ways; not just in theory, but in practice and in experience. We are blessed through God’s creating wonder, through God’s saving grace, and through God’s ever-present Spirit. I am grateful for this camp, and for how our so many of our young people come to know God better through its ministries.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. When did the disciples begin to believe that Jesus was truly God (not just a man)?
  2. Why was it important for the early church to know that in Jesus was the fullness of God?
  3. How does the “Trinitarian Formula” (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) teach about God’s nature?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. How do I understand that I experience God as Creator, Savior and Sustainer?
  2. Why is it important to remember that our God is one being?
  3. How does the mystery of God’s nature deepen my experience of faith?