It's...complicated: relationships, family stories of home that weren't the sentimental perfect American up-brining, the workplace with its fair share of backroom drama to say the least. It's...complicated: the words that form our last line of defense; our respectful, yet firm, way of hoping that the questions infringing our personal space will stop right there, that we will not have to get into the details of the complex life issues, that we won't have to relive the disturbing memories, that we won't have to test how much we want to trust certain people. Let's just say, "It's complicated."
We could very well say that today on this Holy Trinity Sunday, when we not only recognize, but celebrate this most holy complexity we know as God not just this Sunday, not even every Sunday, but all the days throughout this life and beyond. And yes, this triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is complicated. We confess what we believe about this Trinity every worship with the creed in the middle of the service, and we'll do so again today, but we don't believe for a second that those three succinct paragraphs fully describe this complex, and yet amazingly life-transcending, God.
After all, we worship one God, and yet, evidently three persons. But they're really not "persons" per-say. They are God, but One God. They are distinctly unique from one another, and yet, staunchly unified to the point you cannot have one without the other two. We could go on and on, but let's just say, "It's complicated."
However, when we use those two words in the realm of our faith, it is not meant for the questions about God to stop, for the curiosity of Scripture and church tradition to in any way diminish, for the conversations that ignite this faith to come to a screeching halt. In reality, "it's complicated," means we have to dive even further, even just for a glimpse of this eternal God.
Because the truth is we don't want the simple, the easy. Simple doesn't immerse an almighty God into a tiny little baby from a teenage girl in poverty. Simple doesn't make blind people see, feed five thousand, walk on water, eat with sinners, step in front of stones being thrown at an adulteress, change water into wine, die on the cross, rise from the dead. Simple doesn't offer hope for those depressed, and sick, without a job, without a family, those who are dying. Simple does not save the world for all times and places.
And so the church is feverishly pushed, oftentimes against our will, into this holy complexity: into this Holy Trinity that saves sinners, that ignites ministry, that tramples down injustice, that conquers death. And if two words can describe the church for the past, present, and the future still to come: "it's complicated." Because no matter how much we are claimed by God, set aside to continue the very ministry brought to life through Jesus Christ for the sake of the world, human beings have a way of complicating things. For centuries the church thought it was okay to kill non-Christians during the Crusades. Too many of the church stood idly by while slaves worked the fields for our own benefit, and in due time did nothing to stop Jews being forced into concentration camps. We have a complicated history to say the least. Thanks be to God, to this Holy Trinity, that not only forgives, but calls us day after day to try again and again to live out our baptismal calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But, you see, it's complicated.
Because not only do you serve, but you work with, human beings: people of different attitudes, different backgrounds, different up-bringings, different passions, different ideas of what should be done, different gifts, different families, different personalities, different physical abilities, different ages, different views on the world, different allegiances. So yes, this whole church thing, this whole doing ministry with and for human beings, some we know, some we have never met...it's complicated. But just like with the Holy Trinity, "it's complicated" is meant for us to dive even further, because we don't want the simple. We don't want the easy. Simple and easy is not ministry. Nothing that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever did for us, for the world, was easy.
And the way we do end up serving our community and beyond is not alone, but just like the Trinity with one always with the other two, we do it together. We do ministry with all our different gifts and passions and even our brokenness, with all our "it's complicated" life stories. We do church together because we are all a living testimony of the God Who gives us something else to say than "it's complicated" to describe our life. Instead, "Life is absolutely beautiful, because we are loved. We are claimed. We are forgiven. We are set free. We are worth dying for. We are children of God; and neither death, nor life, nor anything else in all Creation can separate us from that love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord." And for that, that we know absolutely for certain, we give thanks to God indeed. Amen.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Rev. Nan Dehnke, Pastor
Office: Mon - Thu: 9 a.m. - Noon