My father liked to know a person’s first, middle, and last name; then he’d take his pen and paper and write the initials in flowing letters of what was called Spenserian script, which in my father’s time was considered the American standard for writing. (Wikipedia) Now we let a keyboard do the writing for us; something which my father never fully accepted; he still wanted to scroll out the initials of a person’s full name.
On the calendar of the church, this is the Festival of the Trinity, when we hear God say, “‘Trinity’ is My Name” which when fully spelled out is three words in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or in today’s English: Creator, Savior, Sustainer; three words within the name for God Who is known as “Trinity.”
Three words that have always been visible in the Bible, but it has taken centuries to see they are there, providing the initials for God’s name, which is “Trinity.”
The first initial is “F” for “Father” or “C” for “Creator” which is scrolled across the heavens and the earth to be read:
in the vast expanse that almost takes our breath away when we open a website to view the images sent back from the Hubble telescope, and in the down-to-earth wonder of a rose or iris whose beauty is easily captured with a digital camera, but challenges the most accomplished artist who labors to reproduce the details and capture the colors.
Years ago a person thought he’d met the challenge with a wall design of flowers so perfectly painted a person would try to pick them. Then someone brought in a bouquet from the garden, opened the window, and watched as some bees buzzed past the wall and landed on the flowers in the vase. They could tell the difference between the Creator and the creature’s work of art.
Write the first initial for God Whose name is “Trinity,” with the “F” for Father or the “C” of Creator, and as you do, hear the echo of the Psalmist ‘s song:
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders…
which Mathbie Davenport Babcock heard as he took walks along the Niagara cliff that overlooks the panoramic vista of upstate New York and Lake Ontario. He turned that sight into a poem we now sing:
This is my Father's world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres...
This is my Father's world,
He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
“Trinity” is my name announces God, written out as three words with the initial of the first word being “F” for Father or “C” for Creator, read in all that God has made!
“Trinity” is my name announces God with the second initial being “S” for the word “Son” or “Savior,” written on Good Friday’s cross, raised to pull all people to the One Who is has been crucified for the sins of the world, the ultimate offering, once and for all.
Today’s Gospel has us hearing Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Do not be astonished that I say to you, You must be born from above.’” The "you" in the Greek is plural, addressed not just to Nicodemus, but to anyone and everyone, to US, to whom Jesus is saying, ‘You must be born from above.’…“You” must let God re-birth you into the new life of Jesus, offered up in death, to give you His life, as a gift of love.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message translates today’s Gospel into these contemporary words, "God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." (Quoted from Day1, for May 31, 2015 sermon by the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Weems, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Miami, FL)
Born” into the new life that has us singing words that seemed to be dictated by an inner voice to the Scottish minister, George Matheson:
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
“Trinity” is my name announces God, with the second initial being “S” for the word “Son” or “Savior,” posted on Good Friday’s cross.
“Trinity” is my name announces God with the third initial being the “S” for the word “Spirit,” signed in the deep breath of God first felt in the open lines of Genesis, like a sweeping mark that tails off into a swirling, twisting elegant stroke at the end of a signature, that spreads across the pages in the Bible and reaches beyond until it entwines itself into every cell within us, giving us the voice to confess: For all who are led by the Spirit of God
are children of God.
In high school I worked on weekends and during the summer in a maternity ward and sometimes in the nursery where every newborn wore a beaded bracelet spelling out the name by which he or she would be known and called; names that my father would have enjoyed taking the first letters and scrolling the initials.
Now when I mention my father’s practice and picture his intense effort to give each initial the flow of Spenserian script, I think of our Parent-God’s unswerving desire to write the initials for God’s name that is “Trinity,” not on paper, but on each of us.
And so, in our Baptism and at Confirmation and the time of death God’s initials are marked on our foreheads,
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and with that sign the God Whose name is “Trinity” claims us with the indelible seal that marks us as “children of God.”
Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift! Amen!