The Rev. Ian Emile Dunn
Trinity Sunday - 2021
May in the church always ends up being a bit of an interesting month. Typically, ministers bemoan exhaustion around the Christmas and Easter season as events at the church become busier. We often forget the three feasts that usually fall in May, though sometimes June: Ascension Day, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday which lie 40 days, 50 days, and 57 days after Easter, respectively.
Each of these days marks an important event for our Christian life. Ascension Day reminds us of Christ’s ascension into heaven, where he now reigns as a co-regent with our Heavenly Father. Pentecost marks the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church for our enlivening, edification, and our Sanctification. Finally, we celebrate Trinity Sunday.
As we gather for Trinity Sunday, we celebrate the revelation given to the early church that God is Three Persons in one. Our worship centers around this truth – we pray the litany, recite the Athanasian Creed, and our lessons focus on the glory of God and His kingdom.
We pray the Litany three times a year: At the beginnings of Advent, Lent, and Trinity. All which we do in church is done for a reason, we are not arbitrary in our worship but intentional. We strive to glorify God and edify one another as we gather. Each element of the liturgy, when done humbly and well is catechetical in nature. That is to say, it helps to form us slowly, but surely into the image of Christ.
We are humbled as we cry out for God’s mercy in Christ, we are edified as we hear God’s word read and preached, we are sanctified as we gather around the table, we are bound together in our prayers and in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup. The liturgy draws us together and draws us as one body into Christ.
But what of the Litany? The Litany is an ancient form of prayer. The first recorded Litanies were seen somewhere around the late 300s. In these prayers, like our litany, the leader, a typically deacon or presbyter, would call out and the congregation would respond. One of the notable parts of our Litany and many others is that it strives to call on each person of the Trinity. Reminding us that each of the Trinity is at work in our prayers and in our salvation. The Spirit carrying our prayers into the heavenly court, the Son offering our prayers as our priest at the foot of God the Father, and God the Father hearing our prayers, and delighting in them. The Litany in our prayerbook reminds of the beauty and truth of this.
When we gather, it is my prayer that our worship is not rote or routine, but that it enlivens and continues to form our hearts and minds into the image of Christ. I hope this very brief explanation of this present portion of the Christian year and the Litany helps bring more life to your worship this coming Sunday.