Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”Genesis 1:26
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.2 Corinthians 13:13
Broadly speaking, the liturgical year is broken up into two halves. The first half stretches from Advent to Pentecost and focuses on the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The second half encompasses the long green season of Sundays after Pentecost and ends in late November with Reign of Christ Sunday. This half of the liturgical year focuses on the church – the collective body of Christ, filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and sent forth into the world to witness and serve in Christ’s name.
The verses above are taken from the first Sunday of this second half of the year: Trinity Sunday. Trinity Sunday falls on June 7 this year, and I think it is kind of a fitting way to begin this second half of the liturgical year.
This reading from the first chapter of Genesis reminds us that we are all made in God’s image. This particular verse is God talking to Godself in the middle of creating everything (isn’t it nice to know that God does this too?). Note the pronouns that God uses: let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness. God is not some single, monolithic, lonely deity. God is a dynamic community of persons: three-in-one and one-in-three. God is relationship – how else could God be love? The Trinity is a divine relationship whose wild love spirals out to embrace the entire cosmos. So when we talk about being made in God’s image, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about each of us as individuals; we as a community, as a whole human race, are made in the loving image of our triune God.
We are created to be full of love and grace. And we are created to be in right relationship both with creation and with one another – just as the three persons of the Trinity exist in loving relationship with one another, with us, and with all of creation. We were born of the love of the Trinity, and we continue to live and move and have our being in it.
This powerful love keeps us connected to each other, even in this time of exile and illness. This love moves us to care for our neighbors in ways that are new and uncomfortable: wearing masks and practicing social distancing when we go out, holding off on gathering in person for the time being, and doing whatever we can to support the most vulnerable among us, as well as all those who are working to keep the rest of us safe and fed. And this love means that we are still church, even when we do not gather, and even when our worship does not look like what we are used to.
The love of the Trinity will continue to sustain us as we move forward, not knowing what exactly the future will hold. And love will guide all those who are making difficult decisions in our congregations and elsewhere about when and how to resume gathering in person, responding to the best information available to us, and to our call to live out God’s love by caring for our neighbor.
Be kind to one another – and to yourselves – as we continue to navigate these stressful times. And know that you are loved beyond measure by our triune God. I pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit may continue to be with you all, now and always.