Year A Trinity Sunday Matthew 28
The Trinity
Matthew 28:16-20

A preacher proudly boasted that he does not preach doctrinal sermons. They are boring he asserts and people do not understand or relate to them. Further, he claimed, I am a preacher and not a theologian. I get down do the practical issues and simply preach Christ crucified.

His thinking is faulty at several points. First, he is wrong when he says that he is not a theologian. The fact is that everyone to a certain extent is a theologian. Theology is nothing more than what you think about God. Well, shouts one person, I don't believe In God. That then is your theology. I would also take issue with him when he claims that he does not preach theology but gets down to practical issues. In my thinking there is no difference in good theology and good practice. Good, solid theology gets down to the very core of our existence.

Finally, I would disagree with him when he says that we should only preach Christ crucified. I know that is what the Apostle Paul said but this preacher doesn't mean what Paul meant. He is saying that he only preaches about the cross and saving the sinner. I submit to you that the cross is not central in Paul's theology; rather, it is Christ. It has always puzzled me why some ministers preach the message of salvation to people who have been sitting in the pews all their life when they need so much more of Christ's teaching on life's other issues. There are many strings on a guitar. To make beautiful music all of them must be played and not just one. That is why in the United Methodist Church we honor the lectionary and the seasons of the church year. That insures a witness to the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can one go through the season of Advent and not touch upon the doctrine of the incarnation. How can one go through Lent without touching upon the doctrine of the resurrection? Likewise, how can we embark upon the season of Pentecost, as we did last week, without mentioning the doctrine of the Trinity?

Today is Trinity Sunday. This is a day that has been celebrated in the Christian church since the 10th century. It is on this occasion that ministers around the world address themselves to the subject of the triune God.

Let me begin by saying that the doctrine of the Trinity does not attempt to explain God. It only explains to us in a very elemental way what God has revealed to us about himself so far. To describe the tip of the iceberg above the water is not to describe the entire iceberg. So we Christians affirm the Trinity, not as an explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing what we know about Him.

The idea of the Trinity is not emphatically stated as a doctrine in the scriptures. Yet, by implication, it is stated many times. The early Christians soon discovered that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which he had revealed himself to them. This does not mean that there are three separate Gods. It means that there is one God who has shown himself in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let's look at these this morning:

  1. First, we affirm God the Father.
  2. Secondly, we affirm belief in the Son, Jesus Christ.
  3. Finally, we affirm belief in the Holy Spirit.

Those Kissing Christians
2 Corinthians 13:11-13

How many of you remember your "first kiss?"

Wow. Now I need some "first kiss" stories. [This would make a great EPIC [Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich, Connective] moment. Take a mike into the congregation and ask for details.)

I hate to burst your bubble so early in the sermon. But all those "first kisses" you remember…whether it was a stolen smooch in the schoolyard, or a braces-locking embrace and teenage embarrassment: whatever you call your "first kiss"…was not.

Your "first kiss" was doled out when you were way too small to recall. Babies are snuggled, cuddled, and kissed by their parents and relatives and sometimes, even complete strangers. Is it any wonder that snuggling, cuddling, and kissing are the first behaviors we learn to do by ourselves? Your "first kiss" was toothless and slobbery and probably left something gooey behind. But it was that "first kiss" that initiated you into the uniqueness of being human. It was your first kiss that connected you to the universe of relationships.

The second thing you learned wrong in your kissing history was the mantra, "Don't kiss and tell." You say "I don't kiss and tell?" I say, Really? [If you dare, you can have someone interrupt you here by putting on the refrain "Are You Gonna Kiss and Tell?" from the Justin Bieber 2010 hit "Kiss and Tell"]

In the over-watched movie "You've Got Mail," Meg Ryan's character is consoled by Tom Hanks whose giant conglomerate just put her little independent bookstore out of business. "It wasn't personal," Hank's explains, "it was just business." Ryan protests and proclaims, "That just means it wasn't personal to YOU! Whatever anything is, at the very least, it should be personal!"

In other words if you care enough to "kiss," you should care enough to "tell"... presents Leonard Sweet