Baptised in the name of the Trinity
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost. The most graphic reference to the Trinity occurs in Chapter 1 of Mark’s Gospel where the three ‘members’ or ‘persons’ of the Trinity are all involved.
‘As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
Jesus, the obedient Son, had just emerged from the waters of the Jordan, newly baptised by John the Baptist. The Spirit of power descended on him in a dovelike form; and from the skies, as it were, the Father endorsed the Son’s great mission of salvation.
St Paul refers to the Trinity in his letters. His best-known reference is his famous blessing at the close of his Second Letter to the Corinthians:
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.’
Walk into any Christian church on any given Sunday and you will find lots of differences:
different styles of music and musical instruments – pipe organs, pianos, keyboards and guitars; different styles of architecture; some are given hymn books and others have their hymns or songs projected onto a screen; there are differences in formality, or informality; differences in how the clergy are robed, or not robed; and, differences in the expectation about how long a sermon should be – 12 minutes, 40 minutes or more!
But when it comes to how people ‘do church’ there are some things that we all share and one of them is baptism.
Down through the centuries Christians have been obeying the command of Jesus to baptise when he gave them this charge after his resurrection.
‘Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near…. marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ The Message Bible – Matthew 28:19
When it comes to baptism there are many ways that people can be baptised. Some traditions pour water on people, some sprinkle people with water and others immerse or dunk people in a river or a swimming pool.
We may do baptism differently. We may disagree about the age at which a person should be baptised. But all Christian churches (with the exception of the Salvation Army) baptise.
Not only that, but we are all baptised in the name of the Trinity: we are baptised in the name of ‘the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’. Amen.