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What’s Love Got to Do with It?

St. John’s Lutheran Church
26 May 2024 + The Holy Trinity
John 3:1-17
Rev. Josh Evans


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What’s love got to do with it?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

It’s been cited more often than any other Bible verse. Martin Luther has even called it “the gospel in miniature.”

It’s the core of the gospel of John: For God so loved the world that God embodied flesh and bone, entered into human experience in all its messiness, and became one of us.

For God so loved the world that God in Jesus became flesh and lived among us, in order to challenge the status quo and the powers of the world that sought to denigrate and separate and demean God’s creatures.

“Abide in my love,” Jesus invites his disciples. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Be love as you are beloved.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

***

It’s a peculiar thing – this Trinity Sunday. Every other principal feast of the Christian tradition revolves around an event: the birth of Jesus (Christmas), the death of Jesus (Good Friday), the resurrection of Jesus (Easter), the descent of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).

But Trinity Sunday? It’s a day about a doctrine. An idea. A theological debate that scholars and preachers have spilled a great deal of ink over, that none of us fully understands, and that has left a faithful few who lost those debates throughout church history branded as “heretics.”

Ultimately, Trinity Sunday asks the question: What is God like?

What is God like? What does it mean that God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” three-in-one, and one-in-three? Who is God? How does God relate to God’s self? How does God relate to us?

Big questions, no doubt. Questions we’ll never be able to fully answer in our finite human experience. Of course, it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – stop us from trying.

In one attempt to better describe the Trinity, St. Augustine is often quoted as naming the three persons as “Lover, Beloved, and Love.”

What’s love got to do with this Trinity thing? Everything.

What is God like? Maybe God is like … this 

***

[Read: Maybe God Is Like That Too by Jennifer Grant]

***

Trinity Sunday is, admittedly, weird. Trinity Sunday asks big questions. Questions we’ll never be able to fully answer in our finite human experience.

What is God like?

The one thing we can say for certain of God is that God is by God’s very nature indescribable and beyond our limited human comprehension.

We can’t ever fully know or see or explain God … but we can know what God is like … how God moves and is at work in the world, among and through God’s people.

We can see and know what God is like when we experience love, joy, and peace … patience, kindness, and goodness … faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We can see and know what God is like when we experience these “fruits of God’s Spirit.”

When we experience these fruits – in our ordinary, everyday lives – we experience God.

When we bear these fruits, we share God.

***

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Where there is love, there is God. God is love.

“Abide in my love.”

Abide in the love with which God so loves the whole world.

Abide in the love that enables and empowers us to bear much fruit.

Abide in the love that has everything to do with us.

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