This Is Us: The Earthly Trinity: Seeker, Dysfunctional, Caustic
Words From The Back Row Thoughts on the Weekend Sermon @ GateWay Church
A friend of mine (and member of our Connect Small Group) is traveling the path of making racial unity a reality. One way he has explored the trail is going to a local church for Sunday service where most of the people are of a different racial background. He relates the odd and perhaps fearful feeling of being the “only one” never having been in such a situation before. Being a “white” man, he was acutely aware of his uniqueness in this Black-African American church. It made him wonder how person of a different race or color would feel coming to GateWay. Of course he was greeted warmly and made to feel welcome. He says he would like to go again. And this is how it should be in the family of God.
The beginning of the church at Philippi is a great story of outsiders becoming insiders and of welcome and redemption. It is the story of European gentiles and racially different people becoming part of the chosen family of God. It is all the more wondrous when put in the context of the three characters described by Pastor Ed in Acts Chapter 16 – the Seeker, the Dysfunctional and the Caustic. This is amazing as each personality is united in Christian community and becomes the church and people treasured by Paul. Interesting to me as these three types represent what I now term, the Earthly Trinity.
Throughout history, humans have been Seekers wanting to know our origins and our connections and how to live life better. From the beginning we are the Dysfunctional as in every aspect of human discourse we have struggled and limped along. And sadly, our history and current events reveal how caustic we are in all our relationships from the personal to the public; from the local to the international. This Earthly Trinity encapsulates the human condition. We lament this condition and we think of people in our circle of contacts that fall into each of these categories. And perhaps we despair even more because the Earthly Trinity is three-in-one: Me! I am an outsider looking in.
We have all been outsiders looking in ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. The cascading consequence of incorrect thinking, faulty assumption and very bad choices caused the severing of the intimate and personal relationship Adam and Eve possessed with the Creator of the Universe. Cast out of the presence of God, they were now outsiders ever burdened with the unattainable desire to be insiders again thus the rise of the Earthly Trinity.
But as any good late night TV infomercial would say, “Wait, there’s more.” In contrast to the Earthly Trinity stands THE TRINITY. Romans 5:1-10 reads, Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Because of God’s great mercy and grace, we now can be on the inside not on the outside looking in.
I was on the outside and I am so grateful to be an insider now. I came to be an insider because someone else already on the inside invited me, an outsider, to come meet Jesus. Through grace and mercy and persistent relationship, the Earthly Trinity is fading in my life and THE TRINITY is becoming more evident. The Seekers, the Dysfunctional, and the Caustic are everywhere in our community, our workplaces, schools, and in our families. People need the Lord. Who are you inviting?
October 1, 2018