Today is Trinity Sunday, and the Lectionary Gospel reading celebrates this day by bringing to our attention the text often understood as the marching orders of the church — usually called the Great Commission.

Toward the end this homily we shall think about the Trinity, but initially we must see the text for what it is, the Christ’ offering to the world not the church triumphant, but the church which bears the suffering of the world, the church practicing Kingdom ministry for the sake of the King in a broken and hostile world at war with itself.

In fact, we could say that the church is called and sent to face a world-system that rejects the resurrection of the King primarily for its inconvenience — we want to be in charge and we do not want Jesus as King thank you very much, as well as for its miraculous nature — we prefer a flat, non-mysterious world thank you very much. So, the church, thus commissioned by the King, must announce the reality of the King’s Resurrection and Ascension to the places of authority and power who simply do not want to hear it.

And this announcement, therefore, will be seen by many (most) as bigoted and hateful:

How can you say that Jesus is King, when there are so many other views in the world?”

or,

“How can you say that Jesus is King when there have been such hate and violence perpetrated in his name?”

These are actually very good questions, however the answer would take us pretty far afield today. Let me just say that the basis of Jesus being King is nothing less than his resurrection from the dead (cf. Rm.1:3,4; 1Cor.15:23-26) and his sacrificial love (Phil.2:5-11), and the sacrificial love of his new community, and not the tyranny of a religious dictatorship.