The Trinity – not just a river in Texas

June 11, 2017

If you grew up in the North Texas area, you most likely went to Six Flags over Texas a time or two. Being from Ft. Worth, I went several times a year when I was young. One of my favorite rides was LaSalle’s Riverboat Ride. That was one of the original rides of the park, which opened in 1961, and it’s last trip was in 1982.

LaSalle was a French explorer who traveled most of the major waterways of this country, and he called the Trinity River, the “River of Canoes” in 1687.

The name “Trinity” came three years later in 1690 from the New Spanish explorer Alonso de León, who called the stream the “La Santísima Trinidad” (“the Most Holy Trinity”). (Handbook of Texas)For those of you who are a little rusty in your Texas geography, the West Fork of the Trinity begins in Archer County and flows toward Ft. Worth. The Clear Fork of the Trinity flows from North of Weatherford to Ft. Worth where it joins the West Fork. Together they merge with the Elm Fork as they approach Dallas, and the Trinity becomes one River. The Trinity flows over 700 miles to Galveston Bay on the Gulf of Mexico entirely in the State of Texas.

Today being Trinity Sunday, we honor God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

To talk about the Trinity it helps to explain what it is not. There are not three Gods. Christianity is a monotheistic religion, entirely compatible with the Old Testament of the Bible.

Jesus is not a created being. You may recall the prologue of St. John’s Gospel where he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“The Holy Spirit is not a created being. Jesus said, according to St. John, “if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince[a] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;”

The Trinity does not describe three roles played by one God. There has been a recent movement to describe the Trinity as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. I even heard a so-called bishop give a blessing in this manner, because, I suppose, she did not want to refer to God in anything approaching masculinity.

There are three distinct persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Without that distinction, the terms we use could just be seen a different forms of the same God.

These distinctions were discussed long ago when a council of bishops came together in Nicea and gave us what we know as the Nicene Creed. It is the statement of our belief in the Trinitarian we God we worship, and it is so important that we rehearse it every Sunday. If anybody wants to know what we believe, there it is.

The definitive statement on the Trinity is the Athanasian Creed, found in our Book of Common Prayer. As it is quite exhaustive in its treatment of the subject allow me to pick out some of the important statements concerning the Trinity for you.

“Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

“And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
“For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

“The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

“So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity. “

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

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