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Holy Trinity – June 4, 2023
Text: Matthew 28:16-20
Theme: A Clean Well-Lit Place
We live in a seemingly orderly world. Traffic lights and clocks, amazon delivery and electricity, running water and cell phones all lead us to think of our world as well ordered and to depend on it being so. But it only takes a relatively small act of nature to bring us all to a screeching halt and remind us that this world is really quite disorderly after all. Anyone who has witnessed the aftermath of a flood, a tornado or a hurricane knows just how disorderly our world can be. I took the youth down to New Orleans in 2010 for the National Youth Gathering. It had been five years since Hurricane Katrina and they were still digging out from it. The stories that we were told by the people who lived through it were horrific: dead bodies floating in the streets, family members murdered in the violence of the aftermath, weeks with no clean water and no food. It was utter chaos.
Our God is a God of order not chaos. In our Old Testament text, we see how the Holy Trinity created a beautiful and orderly world for us. Everything was in its place and there was a place for everything, especially Adam and Eve who were created differently from everything else. Unlike anything else in creation, Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. That means that they were created with a soul. They were the crown of God’s creation. Then Satan entered the picture. Satan does not like order. It was his loathing for order that got him cast into Hell. He saw no reason why God should be on top so he attempted to take God’s position. For that, there was no redemption. He was cast in Hell along with the angels who followed him.
It might have ended there. Except God’s favored beings fell for Satan’s tricks. We followed Satan and fell into the same sin into which he had fallen. We wanted to be like God and in that, everything was ruined. All the order God had created was destroyed. Death and disease and all manner of brokenness entered the world and God could have let it all end there but he didn’t.
The Holy Trinity devised a plan to re-order the world. First the Father preserved life for His creation while the plan took effect. While life would never be as pleasant and joyous as before, there would be air to breathe and food to eat until the Son and the Spirit finished their parts of the plan. Then the Son came to earth and took on human flesh and blood so that God could literally die for the sins of His people. God cannot die. But God as a man can die. He paid with His own life and soul so that Satan could have no claim on us, God’s children. Then the Holy Spirit stepped in and made us His temple where He would dwell until the day of the Resurrection when God would destroy this disorderly earth and recreate a new and perfect world in which His children could live for all eternity with no threat from Satan because Satan will be locked away in Hell forever.
The whole plan has been completed except for the last step. The Holy Trinity have all played their roles to save us from Satan and prepare us for a life in paradise. We have only to wait for the last day to come when we will inherit everything, and not become distracted. That is what happened the first time. Satan distracted Eve from what she knew. She knew God had provided everything good that she could ever want. She knew that God had commanded her not to eat of that tree. She knew that God would never withhold anything from her that was good for her and yet, she became distracted from what she knew, listened to Satan, and ate of the forbidden fruit.
I think we find ourselves in the same boat with Eve; knowing what is right and finding ourselves distracted by Satan. We are most impatient people and it seems as though Satan has sped up the world to make us even more impatient. We know that everything is finished and our salvation is complete but we find ourselves losing focus as we wait for the Lord to return. We have cell phones and microwaves, the internet and jet planes and if it is not fast, we grow distracted. I think that is Satan’s game. He thinks he can outlast us. He's like that hyena waiting for the lion to leave his kill, knowing that sooner or later the lion will need water or need to chase off another lion or something, and then they can get that juicy antelope that the lion brought down.
What Satan does not seem to grasp is that Jesus did not leave us alone. Or maybe he knows it and cannot deal with it, so he just plows ahead as though it were not true. The Holy Spirit dwells within us because we have been baptized and we have been taught. That is what we do until Jesus returns. We baptize and we teach because those are the tools that usher in the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and defends us from Satan. Don’t become impatient. Don’t lose focus. He is coming and when he does, all order will be restored and we will once more be stored to our rightful spot as the crown of creation.