“The God of New Beginnings” (Genesis 1; Acts 2; Matthew 28)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 7, 2020

“The God of New Beginnings” (Genesis 1; Acts 2; Matthew 28)

Today is Trinity Sunday. It is on this day every year that we call special attention to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This teaching is true every day of the year, of course, but on this particular Sunday, we call special attention to it. The Scripture readings for today bring out the nature of God as being triune, that is, one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The hymns we sing on this day are trinitarian in their content. And Trinity Sunday is the one day of the year when we read out loud the Athanasian Creed, the creed that goes into the most depth and detail on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Now when I say “doctrine,” maybe some of you, your eyes glaze over. You think of “doctrine” as “boring” or “academic” or “unrelated to life.” But no, that is not so! The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching,” and what the Bible teaches about God is anything but boring! And while Christian doctrine can be taught and studied in an academic manner–and there is great value in that–that does not mean it is “unrelated to life”! Indeed, doctrine is life! What God’s Word teaches us gives us life! God’s Word guides our life, and guides us all the way into eternal life, life with God, life forever.

And then when we talk about the doctrine of “the Holy Trinity,” again, our eyes may glaze over. How can we understand this great mystery, that there is only one God, yet there are three distinct persons in this one God? How can this be? We have trouble wrapping our heads around it. Our little brains can’t comprehend it. The circuits start to fry out.

Well, today you don’t have to figure everything out. Instead, I want you to relax and just take it in, who this God is whom we worship and adore, who God is, and especially, who he is for you. Today I want you to know God, more than just to know about God. Because today in his Word, God reveals himself to us. He shows himself to be “The God of New Beginnings.” And we could all use that.

“The God of New Beginnings”: So it makes sense, then, to begin “in the beginning.” “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1, the Creation account. Our God, the triune God, is the God who begins things, the God who creates. And we see all three persons of the Trinity active in creation. We especially associate God the Father with the work of creation, and rightly so. But we can see the other persons of the Trinity, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, also active in the work of creation. It says, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” OK, there’s the Holy Spirit. But where’s Christ? Right here: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

“Huh? That doesn’t say anything about Jesus.” Oh, but it does. If you would look at John chapter 1, there it says, “In the beginning”–there’s that phrase again–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” And this one called “the Word” we know to be the eternal Son of God, the Word who became flesh, namely, Jesus Christ. So all three persons of the Trinity, active in creation, active in the beginning.

But our God did not just wind up this world like a clock and then walk away and leave us on our own. No, God continues to create. He is the God of new beginnings. When you were born, every time a baby is born, there is a new beginning. And God continues to care for his creation and his creatures. He richly and daily provides you with all that you need to support this body and life. Do we deserve it? No, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. But God is gracious, and he continues to care for us. All this he does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in us.

This is the same God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth. And at the end of those days of creation, God looked at everything that he made “and behold, it was very good.” But now, even you and I can see that not everything is very good. Behold, a lot of it is pretty ugly. People hurting other people. People hurting themselves. Looting, burning, murder, and mayhem. This is by no means good. What happened? Well, we rebelled against our Creator, we humans did. We thought we knew better than God. This is called sin. We all do it. Some may do it more blatantly than others, but we all do what we’re not supposed to do. We humans fell out of a right relationship with God. We no longer knew God as we were supposed to know him. We became people groping around in the dark, bumping into things. And with this sin came the curse of death and all the damage we do to one another.

But our God, the triune God, is the God of new beginnings. So God had a plan to reverse the curse and undo the damage. And this is where the Son of God, Jesus Christ, comes in. Literally. Jesus Christ came into our world, in the flesh, to do the job.

St. Peter tells us about him today, in the Second Reading, from the second chapter of Acts, about the Second Person of the Trinity: “Jesus of Nazareth,” Peter tells his fellow Jews, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Notice that: The crucifixion of Christ was not an accident. It happened “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” God gave his Son into death for you, that you would live through him. Jesus went to that cross to make the only sacrifice that would wipe the slate clean for us. The holy Son of God shed his holy precious blood for you and me and for this whole world of sinners, to take the punishment we deserve, to win forgiveness for all our sins, and thus to open the way to heaven for us.

Our God is the God of new beginnings! And the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marks a new beginning for humanity and for this cosmos. Now we have forgiveness. Now we have a clean start. Now we have a way into eternal life, and that way–and the truth, and the life–is Jesus Christ himself.

And God has given a new beginning to you personally! It began in your baptism. Jesus himself tells us about this. He sends out his disciples to make more disciples, that is, more people who follow Jesus in faith and learn from him and receive from him all his gifts. Jesus made you his disciple when he baptized you. Oh, a pastor may have used his hand and his voice to do the baptism, but he only did it on Jesus’ authority, so in reality it was Jesus who baptized you.

You have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That was your personal new beginning. And it’s still in effect. You ARE baptized, perfect tense–a past action with a continuing present effect. God the Father has claimed you as his child. And your Father loves you and cares for you in all your needs, day by day. God the Son is your Savior. He died and rose again for you. All your sins are washed away by his blood. You are clothed with Christ’s perfect robe of righteousness. And you will share in his resurrection. God the Holy Spirit has wakened you from death and darkness to light and life. The Holy Spirit has given you the gift of faith in Christ your Savior. And the Spirit continues to strengthen you in your faith through the means of grace, Word and Sacrament. This is why you need to be here regularly, every week, to be refreshed and strengthened in your walk as Christ’s disciple. This is the life station, right here at church.

Being baptized in the name of the triune God is your personal new beginning that has effect every new day. Every day you die to sin and rise to newness of life with Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” You are a new person in Christ.

Friends, do you need a new beginning in your life? Have you messed up things so badly that you think there is no hope for you? There is hope! Our God, the triune God, is the God of new beginnings! No matter what you have done, God has forgiveness and life and hope for you today. God is able to restore you and to heal what has been damaged. Take your troubles, take your brokenness, take your sins and your weaknesses, your anxieties and your worries, and hand them over to God. He is the God of new beginnings, and he cares for you.

Even in the midst of our sorrows, we have hope. For the ultimate New Beginning is on its way. That will happen on the day when Christ returns. We look forward to that day with great hope. That is the day when we will hear a loud voice saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And on that day, he who is seated on the throne will say, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, take hope in this today: Our God, the triune God, is the God of new beginnings!

Published in: on June 6, 2020 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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