My church write-up on last Sunday’s service may be rather terse! I was too busy to write it today, and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to write it tomorrow, so I am writing it tonight. Late tonight!
A. The sermon was about the Trinity. The pastor was talking about
the mystery of God being one and yet being three persons. And, as the
pastor said, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three parts of
God. Rather, they are all God. Or each is God.
The pastor was resorting to modalism to try to explain this, although
he himself is not a modalist. Modalism was an ancient Christian heresy
that believed that there was one person of the Godhead, and that one
person has three roles: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The pastor was
saying that he himself is one person and yet has different roles:
father, pastor, husband, teacher, etc. If there is some way for him to
be one person and yet have different identities, why can’t God be one
The pastor of the Presbyterian church that I used to attend would
explain the Trinity that way every Trinity Sunday. Yet he, too, was not
a modalist, but rather believed that the Trinity consisted of three
To be fair, the pastor at the church that I attended last Sunday did
not say that God was one person with three roles. He was just saying
that he could conceive of himself being one person with different
identities, so why can’t there be some way for God to be that?
The pastor said, in the end, that God is God: God can do anything,
including something that we consider possible, such as being God in
three persons. I question whether divine omnipotence is a way to
account for the Trinity. Technically, the Trinity is not something that
God does, but rather something that God is, and has always been. I
suppose that one can say that, in a sense, God does things within the
Trinity: the Father generates the Son, for example. And yet, that has
always been the case, according to orthodox Christian doctrine, right?
There was never a time when God said, “I’m going to start using my power
to generate the Son.” It’s just what is and has always been.
B. The pastor was talking about how the Holy Spirit guides us. When
Jesus was on earth, the disciples were always coming to Jesus for
answers. A multitude is hungry, and the disciples drop some loaves and
fishes in front of Jesus saying, “What now, Jesus?” The pastor was also
talking about how the disciples failed Jesus at his arrest and
crucifixion, and that this was because they did not truly know who he
was. Had they known, they would have been calm, maybe even cheering
Christ on, throughout the whole ordeal. The pastor was also saying that
the Spirit guides us on things that we cannot know for ourselves.
Do I believe that the Spirit can guide me personally? Do I want him
to do so? I am afraid of what he’d ask me to do! The pastor, though,
said that a sign of the Spirit’s activity is that we get blessed. I
know from this pastor’s past sermons that he does not take that to mean
that the Spirit always tells us what we want to hear! But the end
result is blessing. The pastor also shared about the happiness that he
feels when he is by himself, praising the Lord, in the Holy Spirit.
As I’ve said before, I am going through the Bhagavad Gita, As It Is.
In 13:23, Swami Prabhupada comments: “As long as [the living soul] is
conditioned by material energy, the Supreme Lord, as his friend, the
Supersoul, stays with him just to get him to return to the spiritual
energy…From without He gives instructions as stated in the Bhagavad Gita,
and from within He tried to convince the living entity that his
activities in the material field are not conducive to real happiness.
‘Just give it up and turn your faith toward Me. Then you will be
happy,’ He says.”
The idea here seems to be that God is somewhere within all living
beings, encouraging them to leave material preoccupation for the
spiritual. Christians would say that only Christians have the Holy
Spirit, by contrast, though they also think that the Holy Spirit can
lead a person to God.