Sunday, June 24, 2007

Clothed and in Our Right Minds

Texts: Galatians 3:22-29; Luke 8:26-39

EVERY TIME YOU GET DRESSED, DID you know you’re making a theological statement?

You could be dressing for work or for a party. But whenever you put on a decent, suitable set of clothes, you’re agreeing with God that’s He’s right about the sort of creature you are and what you need from Him.

Back in the Garden of Eden, people didn’t need clothes. Adam and his wife Eve were created naked, and they felt no shame. They had nothing to be ashamed of! They lived with God in sinless innocence. Their relations with one another were those of pure marriage. They lived in harmony with creation, and didn’t need to be protected from it. Their unashamed nakedness was a sign of their openness and freedom with their Creator and one another.

But then, Adam and Eve sinned. They cast off the one restraint God had put on them, not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and tried to get wisdom and knowledge He had forbidden them to have. And when they’d been "made wise," what did they find out? That they were naked! And that suddenly, it was something to be ashamed of. So they tried to make themselves clothing out of fig leaves, and they hid from the Lord God that evening when He manifested Himself in the Garden.

But the clothes they made for themselves weren’t adequate. Adam and Eve’s efforts didn’t cover what’d gone wrong between themselves and God, between the man and the woman themselves, and between humanity and nature. The Lord God made garments of animal skins and clothed them Himself. That covering wasn’t just for their bodies; it was symbolic of the covering that needed to be made for their sin.

When we human creatures wear clothes, we’re acknowledging we’re not sufficient unto ourselves. Without clothing, we’re naked, cold, defenseless, and vulnerable. We’re at the mercy of the elements and other people. To be stripped naked is to be violated and shamed.

But even when the weather is perfectly fine, even when there’s nothing to fear from those around us, the fact that we go around clothed testifies that our human freedom and innocence are gone. Things aren’t the way they should be between ourselves and God, and between ourselves and others. We really do have something to be ashamed of. Not just our bodies, but our thoughts, our emotions, and our inclinations need covering and restraint.

But occasionally you’ll hear of people who don’t believe that. They say there’s nothing wrong with human nakedness, and to prove it, they go out in public with nothing on just to prove they can. I recently read about bike riders in sixty different cities around the world who rode naked two weeks ago, to quote, "Protest oil dependency and showcase your gorgeous self-love." Well, you know, it’s that "gorgeous self-love" that got us in the mess we’re in. People do things like that to assert their freedom, but they don’t realize that we’re not morally free. We operate at the whim of our sinful desires, unless God steps in and overmasters them. Deliberately to go naked is really to rebel against God.

So it’s significant in our reading from St. Luke that the demon-possessed man has not worn clothes for a long time. He is a demonstration of the ultimate rebellion. He has cast off all restrait from society and God and opened himself up to control by God’s enemies, the demons.

When did it start for this man? Maybe when he was a boy he rebelled against the influence of his parents and teachers. Maybe as a teenager he started dabbling in dark mysteries and the occult. Maybe he got involved in alcohol abuse and sexual sin. But in the name of self-expression, he cast off morality, social structure, his home, his clothing, and his sanity. In the name of freedom from God and His rule, this poor man ended up possessed and hounded by his demons, driven naked to live like a wild beast among the tombs.

He was so possessed, so enslaved, that he no longer had any identity of his own. It’s not just that we don’t know his name; that’s common for people whom Jesus meets and heals. It’s that in verse 29, Jesus commands the evil spirit to come out of him, and he cries out, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!"

Who’s this "me"? This man of Geresa doesn’t know Jesus of Nazareth. He doesn’t know Jesus is the Son of God Most High. He doesn’t know our Lord has power over the demons of Hell!

But the demons do. And they won’t let the man answer for himself. Naked, bleeding, living cold and crazy among the tombs, this poor fragment of humanity no longer has any self to answer with.

Now here’s something that never fails to amaze me: Every time there’s an encounter between our Lord Jesus and a demon, it’s always the demons who are quaking and afraid. Jesus is always the one in control. Jesus asks, "What is your name?"

Can this man be called back to a sense of himself? Or has his personality been stripped away from him as thoroughly as the clothing and fetters he couldn’t help but shed?

"Legion," is the reply. (A legion was a Roman battalion of 4,000 to 6,000 soldiers). No, there seems to be nothing left of what once was a human being.

But the legion of demons know that’s about to change. With Jesus there, it has to change. And they beg and beg Jesus not to send them into the Abyss, to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, where they will be naked before the wrath of God for all eternity. The demons have more sense than a lot of us human beings! They didn’t want to be unclothed!

So they beg Jesus to allow them to go into the herd of pigs feeding nearby, and we know the result. Sorry, you stupid demons, you’ve just driven the pigs mad, they’ve rushed down the hill into the lake and drowned, and it’s off to the Abyss with you, after all.

Do you feel sorry for the pigs? Or for the swineherds? Surely, it was a terrible economic loss. Though if they were Jews who owned them, they had no business investing in pork! But let’s not miss the point of what Jesus has just accomplished. There were witnesses to this scene, not just the disciples, but also citizens of that region. It was important for them to have proof of what Jesus can do. It’s one thing for a priest or a healer to say, "Demons, be gone!" The demons might lie low, then break out against their victim worse than ever after the exorcist has departed the scene. But when the exorcist says, "Go!" and immediately a peaceful herd of pigs goes thundering down the hillside, you know the cure is effective. The demons are really gone.

By the time the people in the town and from the countryside gather, there the man is, no longer possessed. He’s sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. Jesus has restored him to a right sense of who he is and who God is for him. For the demons, it was "God Most High," the old pagan name for the distant all-powerful great Spirit who was only to be feared. But now, the man knows Jesus, come to minister God’s love and mercy to him. He was free in a perverse way when he raged naked among the tombs, breaking off his fetters. But now Jesus has claimed him for His own, now he belongs to Christ, and he’s never been so free in his born days.

How do the people of that region react to that? They’re overcome with fear at Jesus and what He’d done. It wasn’t just about the pigs. The thing that scared them most was the change He’d worked in that one man.

It can be scary when Jesus gets ahold of someone who used to be really bad. If we know somebody who’s really out there, who’s really wicked, who’s really far gone, we can say, "Well, I’m not like him! I must be okay." But then, Jesus makes a shocking, radical change in the wicked person’s life. He or she truly becomes good, pure, and merciful. We see up close and personal what the power of Christ can do, and all our own excuses for our own attitudes and behavior start to look pretty shabby. We’re forced to see how poor, rebellious, enslaved, and unclothed we really are.

That’s hard to face. "Jesus, go away," we say. "I want to celebrate me and my gorgeous self-love. Stop scaring me with the idea of my guilt and shame. Stop shaming me with your white-hot goodness." We hug to ourselves the rags of our good works, or our social position, or our nice temperament, and try not to see that we need Jesus to deliver us and clothe us in His righteousness, too.

When I was first exploring my call to the ministry, I submitted the usual written material about my understanding of a pastor’s duties, my sense of call, and so on. My senior pastor at the time was theologically liberal, and he objected to the orthodox, Biblically-based way I’d put things. I still remember sitting in his office and having him tell me, "You have to get rid of all that religious baggage and stand naked before God!" I wish I knew then what I know now: That none of us can stand naked before God. That if we did, the blazing fire of His purity would consume us right away.

No, the only way we can stand before God, the only way we can sit at Jesus’ feet, is if we’re clothed and in our right minds. That is, if we are clothed with Christ Himself. Until Jesus Himself clothes us, we are prisoners of sin, prisoners of our rebellion, prisoners of our enormous, raggedy self-love. As we read in Galatians, until Jesus clothes us, we are prisoners of the roles and categories the world puts upon us: Jew vs. Gentile, slave vs. free, male vs. female, rich vs. poor. But when Jesus clothes us with His redemption and righteousness, there’s only one category for us, and that’s beloved child of God and heir to His blessed promises in His only begotten Son.

St. Paul says that these promises are given to those who believe. Believe what?

Ah, there’s the sad, joyful, and astounding part. We must believe that the perfect, eternal Son of God laid aside the garment of His own power in heaven and permitted Himself to be clothed in a body of human flesh. We must believe that in that flesh He condescended to be taken captive, stripped naked, and nailed to a tree, to gasp out His life’s breath in agony and shame. That just as God slew those animals to make skin coverings for Adam and Eve, Jesus the Lamb of God shed His blood to provide the covering for our sins. That just as those pigs died to prove that the demon-possessed man was free, Jesus took on our uncleanness to deliver us from sin and the Devil.

We must believe that Jesus in His perfect purity and obedience totally defeated the powers of Hell, that He burst the prison house of death, and rose to glorious and everlasting life.

And we have to believe that Jesus did all that for us, to restore to us the joy and fellowship that Adam our father and Eve our mother knew with God in that long-lost garden.

But not to walk naked. Never again to walk naked. Rather, to be clothed with Christ, sitting at His feet, in our right minds, blessed, confident, open, and free. In His name, I invite you, put on the garment of His love, and be at peace.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Ultimate Prophet

Texts: I Kings 17:17-24; Luke 7:11-17

WHAT IS A PROPHET? What does he or she do?

When I was in seminary, sometimes I'd go to the nearest big city to shop or attend a meeting or a concert or whatever.

On one of the main streets you were sure to see a certain character. He carried a placard, like a gigantic chalkboard, with words written on it in various colors. It was always the same message, and it said something like, "The wrath of God is coming! Don't eat cow, pig, beans, bird! Repent!" There was a lot more to it, against sex, drugs, violence and all, but that's the part I remember, how he called poultry "bird" and ranked "eating beans" as an abomination against God.

Is that a prophet? Is that what a prophet does?

But maybe a prophet is more somebody who predicts the future. Like your aunt who said you'd end up marrying that person you didn't like at first--and you did. Or the theorist who looks at the signs and predicts what the climate will be like in a hundred years, or when the next big war will occur.

Preachers of doom. Predictors of the future: That's how the general public thinks of prophets these days. We Christians would also point to prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah who spoke the word of the Lord and really could foretell the future, because God Himself was telling them what was to come. And we might debate whether prophets like that are around any more.

But I think we'd be pretty well agreed that being a prophet is about speaking a certain message, and that message is generally about what'll happen in the future. That's why it's called prophecy, right?

Which is why it might seem odd to hear the reaction of the crowd at Nain when Jesus raises the widow's son from the dead. He didn't preach, He didn't predict. But the people were all filled with awe and said, "A great prophet has risen among us!"

We might be tempted to ask, "Hey, folks, don't you mean 'a great miracle worker'? Where's the message from God in what Jesus just did?"

But the people of Nain were right in their reaction, more right than they knew, themselves. And it all comes down to what a prophet; that is, a prophet of God, really is.

In the Book of Numbers, the Lord says, "When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams." A prophet is one with whom the Lord truly communicates.

In Deuteronomy, the Lord declares, "If a prophet . . . appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder . . . takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods . . . and . . . worship them,' you must not listen to that prophet." A true prophet of God will always give glory to God. He or she is faithful, and will never contradict what the Lord has handed down in His Word.

Also in Deuteronomy, the Lord speaks of a prophet to come and says, "I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will bring him to account." A prophet of God makes God's will known to the people.

In Zechariah, the Lord says, "[D]id not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your forefathers? Then they repented and said, 'The Lord Almighty has done to us just what our ways and practices deserved, just as he determined to do.'" A prophet calls people to repentance and declares what the Lord will do if they do not obey Him.

And in 2 Kings, a young Israelite slave girl tells her mistress about the prophet Elisha, saying, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy." God demonstrates His presence and power through His prophets by the working of miracles.

In all these things, the true prophet is there for God's sake, and not for his own. A true prophet is sent to give us what God knows we need, not what we think we want. The true prophet is there to show God to us, that He might be worshipped and glorified.

The people of Nain knew that. They knew that God demonstrated His presence and love through His prophets and the miracles they worked. When they saw what Jesus did for the widow and her son, they gave God praise and said, "A great prophet has risen among us. God has looked favorably on his people!" They recognised that Jesus was a true prophet.

They saw it in His godly compassion. Luke says that when the Lord saw the widow walking in front of the bier of her only son, His heart went out to her, and He acted on her behalf.

They recognised it in His calm authority when He told her, "Do not weep." Jesus can say that because He can do something about the cause of her grief. For you or me to come up to a mother who's lost her only child and say, "Don't cry!" would be an obscenity and an imposition. Of course she should cry in the face of death! But Jesus can face death down. He has a right to say, "Do not weep!"

Then Jesus reaches out His hand and touches the bier. I wonder, did any of His disciples or any one in the crowd think, "Oh, no, Teacher, you mustn't pollute yourself by touching a dead body!"? If they did, it didn't matter, because life and cleanness were about to overcome death and corruption.

Jesus commands the corpse, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" He does; and Jesus, who has just given him new life, gives him back to his mother.

The townspeople are rightly filled with the fear of God. They rightly understand, as the Greek says, that "God has visited his people." It's significant that Luke the physician uses "visit" in the sense of a doctor coming to heal a patient, not "visit" in the sense of a judge coming to pass sentence. They recognise in Jesus a great prophet, like Elijah, coming in the Spirit, love, and life-giving power of the Lord.

Elijah was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. He was the prophet against whom all other prophets were measured. Elijah spoke God's judgement before kings and performed mighty wonders. Elijah brought God near to His people Israel, whether they wanted Him near or not. It is certain that when Jesus raised the widow's son at Nain, the onlookers immediately thought of the widow and her son at Zarephath and what had been done for them by the great Elijah.

But there's something they likely missed in their awe and praise. When Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath, he had to ask God for the boy's life back. It was all up to the Lord. Elijah had no power of himself to restore life; he was an ordinary mortal like any of us. The boy was raised only when the Lord heard and acted on Elijah's prayer.

But Jesus can simply say, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" and the dead man sits up alive and healthy and begins to speak! Jesus can do that because He does have power in Himself to give life!

Jesus can do that because He is not merely a prophet, He is the ultimate prophet. He is the Word of God spoken directly from the mouth of God, incarnate among us. He is the Law of God lived out in all its purity here on this earth. He is the power and compassion of God demonstrated in signs and wonders among the people. Yes, God had come to help and heal His people! He was doing it in person, and His name was Jesus of Nazareth. No prophet before or since could ever be the Prophet that He is.

But in our hearts we wonder: if Jesus is the ultimate Prophet, and if He demonstrated the power of God by miracles like raising the widow's son at Nain, why didn't He go on to raise all widows' sons, and their daughters, too? Why doesn't He look down from heaven and immediately banish pain, suffering, and grief from all our loved ones?

If you're going through a hardship like this, I can't answer that question for you in your particular case. But taking the bigger picture, I would suggest that if Jesus did that, He wouldn't be the Prophet we need Him to be. No matter how we feed it, heal it, or prolong it, this earthly life of ours will come to an end. These mortal bodies will die and decay. They are infected with sin and never can be the perfect lives we all wish we had. They can never be worthy to stand in the presence of the perfect, holy God. Jesus healed bodies to give us a sample, a taste, of what life will be like in that day when He heals body and soul together.

And truly, God our Father knows what it is like to have an only Son die young. Jesus was the only innocent human being who ever lived. He is the only one of whom we can say, "He didn't deserve to die like that." Jesus didn't deserve to die at all!

But He did die, and God raised Him from the dead. His resurrection is the ultimate sign of God present with us. Already, if you have Him living in you by the power of the Holy Spirit, He's given you new life in your inmost being. Think of it: Jesus our Lord has already raised your spirit from the dead, and in His perfect time He will give you an undying body and make you perfectly whole.

The prophets of old represented the life and power and righteousness to God's people Israel. And even now, our Lord Jesus displays the power of God to us. He is the presence of God with us. He is the ultimate Prophet, Emmanuel, Christ the Lord.

All praise, honor, and glory be to you, Lord Christ, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

[Preached Thursday, 7 June, and Sunday, 10 June 2007]

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Seeing Who's There

Texts: Proverbs 8:1-5, 22-36; John 14:8-21

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED HOW HARD it is to see things that are really close to you?

Like last month when I went to the dentist for some fillings. I couldn't see the Novocaine needle. I couldn't see the drill. I couldn't see the little mould for the filling being fitted on my teeth. Same with the filling goop and the tool the dentist used to put it in. Couldn't see any of it.

No, it wasn't because I had my eyes shut. They were wide open, just like my mouth. I couldn't see any of these things, because they were Just Too Close.

You might say, "Good. When I go to the dentist's I don't want to see any of those things, either. In fact, I don't want to hear them or feel them, as well!"

If that's your opinion, I don't blame you. But there are some important things we had better see, but we don't because we're too close to them. Even something as important as God and who He is and what He wants for our lives.

Today is Trinity Sunday. It's the day the Church particularly celebrates the great truth that God has revealed Himself to humanity as God in Three Persons. This God isn't just "our" God or "the God of the Christians"; He's the one and only, true and living God. This Truine God is the Holy One who made heaven and earth and everything in them. He's the God in whom we live and move and have our being. He's the God before whom every knee will someday bow, whether they want to or not. This God calls out to us to open the eyes of our hearts and see Him as He really is.

But a lot of people say that the doctrine of God as Trinity is irrelevant. It's irrelevant, they say, because it's incomprehensible. How can a being be three, and also be one? They say it doesn't make sense, and no one can expect them to believe it. Not just pagans say this, but also people who call themselves Christians. But you go down that road, and you're not only failing to see the God who is actually there, you're also losing out on who you can be in relation to Him.

The doctrine of the Trinity is far from irrelevant; it's the framework for our creation, our redemption, and all our hope for meaning and joy. As our hearts begin to understand it, God enables us to step back and see Who is really there.

In our reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus is gathered with His disciples in the Upper Room. They have finished their last supper together, and the Lord is preparing them for what will happen as He goes to the cross. He comforts them, letting them know that He is the way to God the Father, and that He's going away to make it possible for them to come to the Father as well.

But Philip doesn't want doctrine, he wants experience. What does all this talk about Jesus going away and returning again have to do with knowing the Father? He says, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

Meaning, "Teacher, show us the all-powerful Divine Being who is Out There Somewhere. Be like Moses who brought the Law down from Sinai a long time ago, like Moses who saw God's back and lived."

We can't blame Philip. We would probably have been just as blind. Jesus answers him, "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."

Did you get that? That is doctrine that illuminates experience! An ordinary human being could have said, "I'll point you to God." An ordinary teacher could have said, "I'll give you an example of how God wants you to live." Jesus says, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me." For He isn't just an ordinary human being. He's God in human flesh. He's the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, standing right in front of them!

If He isn't God, if the Muslims are right and, quote, "Allah has no son," then what Jesus said about Himself was either totally crazy or totally depraved.

But even our Lord's enemies have to admit that He comes off as the most sane, sensible Man who ever lived. This sane, sensible Man declares that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. In fact, He is so identified with God that there is really no separation between them.

The disciples had been so close to Jesus, they hadn't seen this. They got so used to marvelling over His miracles, they hadn't really understood what they meant, what they demonstrated about who Jesus was.

But now they must begin to understand and see. So Jesus introduces the disciples to another divine Person who will be given to them by the Father and the Son, the Holy Comforter, the Spirit of truth. He tells them the Spirit already lives in them and will be with them forever. The disciples don't yet realize that they already know the Spirit, but the day is coming when they will. They will see who's there.

But the unbelieving world cannot see the Holy Spirit or know Him. Even if they think they do, they don't understand who He is. They say He's an impersonal force, or an extension of their own human spirits. They don't recognise that the Holy Spirit is true God, working in power in the world. His particular work is to call people to Christ and salvation in His shed blood. By His divine power Christians see and understand exactly who Jesus is and are built up in the loving obedience of faith.

A lot of people-- the author Dan Brown, say-- think the doctrine of the Trinity is something a bunch of theologians made up in the 4th century to grab power or to confuse people. Not at all! Rather, the writers of the New Testament books knew God and what He was like. So did the apostles and teachers of the Church who came after them. These men and women knew that Yahweh was the one and only God, and apart from Him there is no other. But they saw what Jesus did in His miracles and they heard what He preached and taught. They saw Him raised from the dead. And they had to conclude that He was true God, come to earth to live among us. And they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They felt His power. They understood that to go against the Spirit's leading was to go against God Himself, because the Spirit was and is God.
How could they put all this together? They had to conclude that God was both One and Three. That He was God in Three Persons, God the blessed Trinity.

And they studied the Old Testament with the new, open eyes that the Holy Spirit gave them. And they saw that this truth about the triune nature of God was nothing new. It was there in the old writings all along.

In so many places in the Old Testament we read of the Spirit of God being sent by God to do His will. We read of God Himself promising to come to earth in person to straighten things out and bring in His kingdom of righteousness. And we have passages like today's in Proverbs 8, all about the call of divine Wisdom.

Please don't be distracted by the fact that Solomon has cast Wisdom as a noble lady. The Book of Proverbs is not really a book of human rules to live by, it's a call to live in covenant relationship with the God of Israel. In the first nine chapters Solomon sets the stage by contrasting holy Lady Wisdom with wicked Lady Folly. Holy Wisdom is the way to God and blessedness. Folly-- by which is meant all kinds of sin-- is the way to Hell and damnation.

But here's something interesting. Lady Wisdom is constantly portrayed as a distinctive person, not just as an idealized principle. She asserts that she existed before the dawn of time. She rejoices that she was there working with God when all things were created. She claims that to find her is to find life and favor from the Lord.

Who is this personage? Is she the so-called goddess Sophia or "Woman Wisdom" that the feminists are always going on about?

No. Rather, the Holy Spirit led our ancestors in the faith to understand that this picture of Wisdom in Proverbs is truly a picture of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians we read that He is the Wisdom of God. In Colossians we learn that He is supreme over all creation, and that all things were created by Him and for Him. In the Gospels He cries out to men and women to believe in Him and be saved. And in our John passage, Jesus declares that He is the one way to find life and love in our heavenly Father, the Lord.

Christ our Wisdom calls out to us to hear and understand. He calls us to stop listening to our human wisdom that says the Trinity is irrelevant, and listen to the Wisdom of God instead. Christ our Wisdom teaches us to stop taking Him for granted as a great moral teacher or a good example, but to step back and see Him for who He really is-- God in human flesh, crucified for our sins, and the one and only way to the Father.

The truth about God is right here in front of us. It is close as the Bible on your nightstand, that testifies to Christ and all His works. It is as close as God the Holy Spirit witnessing in your heart that this Word is true. Jesus our crucified Saviour can show us the Father, because He is God. The Holy Spirit can show us the risen Christ, because He is God. Every promise Jesus made to us is faithful and sure, because every last one is the promise of God.

The doctrine of the Trinity helps us step back and see who is really there. And the doctrine of the Trinity helps us step forward again into deeper fellowship with our Lord and God. Other religions tell us to love God but they don't tell us how. Other religions say we should do good, but our best is never good enough.

But our faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit assures us that we can love God because He first loved us. We know because He died for us, to save us from our sins! We can keep His commands because Jesus the Son of God kept God's commands perfectly for us. We're assured of a place at the the Lord's great eternal banquet, we join in the divine everlasting dance that is God, because the Spirit of truth has united us with Christ and brought us into the fellowship of the One, Holy, Blessed, and Undivided Trinity.

Don't fret if you cannot understand how God can be Three in One and One in Three. God and His nature is too big for our human minds to comprehend. But what He does for us and who He is for us, God has given us that to see. Let the Holy Spirit open your eyes and your heart. See and understand that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as He has revealed Himself to be. See that your life and hope in this world and the next depend on God being who He is-- not one god all alone, not three gods working together, but One God in three Persons.

See who is there. With the eyes of faith, look upon your triune Lord, and give Him all worship, adoration, honor, obedience, and love.