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Resources Trinity Sunday


This week is the eighth week in Ordinary Time (Counting Time). Sunday, May 30, Trinity Sunday takes precedence and hence replaces the Sunday in the ninth week in Ordinary Time.

Here is a reflection on the collect/opening prayer for Trinity Sunday.

On the top of this page is Rublev’s icon of the Trinity reflection 1 reflection 2

In the New Zealand Anglican Church there is no requirement to use a creed at a Eucharist. My suggestion is that Trinity Sunday be one Sunday when the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed be said by all. Just to stir things along a bit, it might be said as per the original, ie, omitting the Filioque (“and the Son” – added at the non-ecumenical 3rd Council of Toledo, 589). Some provinces have restored the original. Others of us in communities that use the Filioque might find ourselves suddenly pausing for a breath at that point and so find ourselves proclaiming: “… who proceeds from the Father <sudden need to draw breath> with the Father and the Son…” Who knows, a majority in a community, may suddenly all find themselves needing to draw breath at this point…

Lambeth Conference 1978 passed “that all member Churches of the Anglican Communion should consider omitting the Filioque from the Nicene Creed, and that the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission through the Anglican Consultative Council should assist them in presenting the theological issues to their appropriate synodical bodies and should be responsible for any necessary consultation with other Churches of the Western tradition.”

Lambeth Conference 1988 passed “that further thought be given to the Filioque clause, recognising it to be a major point of disagreement (with the Orthodox) … recommending to the provinces of the Anglican Communion that in future liturgical revisions the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed be printed without the Filioque clause.”

The General Convention of The Episcopal Church (USA) in 1985 recommended that the Filoque clause should be removed from the Nicene Creed, if this were endorsed by the 1988 Lambeth Conference. This has not been implemented. The Anglican Church of Canada conforms to the Lambeth resolution.

Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svgSome relate Trinity Sunday to the Athanasian Creed. This is not the most popular of creeds nowadays. From a liturgical perspective, it may be worth highlighting “the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship” – this is the universal Christian faith: worship. On Trinity Sunday, of course, it is worth continuing: “the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity”. Some other parts of the Athanasian Creed may be harder work to explain (not that explaining the Trinity will be particularly an easy task…).

The Church of England has used the Athanasian Creed as a source for:

We proclaim the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe and declare that our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, is both divine and human.
God, of the being of the Father,
the only Son from before time began;
human from the being of his mother, born in the world;
fully God and fully human;
human in both mind and body.
As God he is equal to the Father,
as human he is less than the Father.
Although he is both divine and human
he is not two beings but one Christ.
One, not by turning God into flesh,
but by taking humanity into God;
truly one, not by mixing humanity with Godhead,
but by being one person.
For as mind and body form one human being
so the one Christ is both divine and human.
The Word became flesh and lived among us;
we have seen his glory,
the glory of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

I am not, however, suggesting that this replace the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Symbol/Creed, nor do I think it is helpful to have a second credal declaration in one service. One creed and a solid Eucharistic Prayer (our Christian Shema) I think is quite sufficient.

In with the comments, please also remember to feel free to add links and suggestions for hymns, prayers, etc. for Trinity Sunday. The week following Trinity Sunday, of course, is the ninth week in Ordinary Time. One, of course, does not use the collect for Trinity Sunday in the week following.

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4 thoughts on “Resources Trinity Sunday”

  1. I have never been totally in favor of the entire sentence containing the filioque. Perhaps I do not fully understand the word “proceeds.” If God is indeed Trinity then all persons must have existed at the same time since before time. The Son and the Holy Spirit cannot have proceeded from the Father or the Trinity cannot be Unity. The Son and Spirit must be somehow inferior to the Father because they become a creation of the Father rather than the co-equal of the Father. I usually drop the filioque in favor of a quick intake of breath.

    1. Yes, Gary, whatever one does with the creed, we cannot have the Son or Spirit as “creation of the Father” – God is outside time as you indicate, and the persons of the Trinity are equal. And distinct/different. And one God.

    1. Julianne Stewart

      Phew! That’s quite a sermon. I think the most insightful comment is where Luther says the Trinity is “a heavenly mystery which the world cannot understand”. If we accept this point, we won’t get knotted up in Filioque and other logical conundrums about the nature of God in relation to humans.

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