Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
TRINITY SUNDAY, 1943
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Proper Preface for Trinity Sunday addresses our worship to the "Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, Who with thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord, in Trinity of Persons and in Unity of substance. For that which we believe of thy glory, O Father, the same we believe of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference of inequality."
Then follows the act of worship, "Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy Glorious Name, evermore praising Thee, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High, Amen."
On Trinity Sunday we offer to the Holy Trinity the collected intentions of the Christian Year. It will be well for us to read devotionally the Proper Prefaces for Christmas, Epiphany, Purification, Annunciation, Easter, Ascension, Whitsunday. If we do this as part of our prayer, we shall find that the Trinity Preface has a ,fresh meaning for us.
The second Preface will help to simplify what we are trying to express, and that is our gratitude "For the precious death and merits of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and for the sending to us of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter; Who are one with Thee in Thy eternal Godhead."
When we remember that these Prefaces are memorials of the sacred mysteries offered as Our Lord has commanded, we are moved to render the most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.
When we remember that with these offerings of devout praise and thanksgiving we have repeatedly offered ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice, then we discover how deeply rooted- in our hearts the mysteries of Christ are. We begin to realize that the knowledge of God grows out of the love of God. We begin to understand why the first and great Commandment of the Law is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." We grow in faith as we grow in love. For God. is love.
The commemorative festivals of the Christian Year are milestones along the Way that leads to God. They begin with a Manger; they end with the Altar of Heaven. They teach one lesson to all alike.
"What do you chiefly learn in these Articles of your Belief?" "First, I learn to believe in God the Father, Who hath made me and all the world. Secondly in God the Son, Who bath redeemed me and all mankind. Thirdly in God the Holy Ghost, Who sanctifieth me and all the people of God. And this Holy Trinity, one God, I praise and magnify, saying, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
The Collect for the Festival teaches that he who would confess a true faith must first obtain divine grace from God. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God," said our Lord. "Give thy Holy Spirit to this child (or this thy servant) that he may be born again." So the Church prays over the person to be baptized.
And again when the person receives the Laying on of Hands, the Bishop prays, "strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost."
Finally the person receives the supreme gift of the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. In the power of that indwelling Life, the Christian is kept steadfast in this faith.
Affectionately in Our Lord,