You know, many make the sign of the cross when we are in the church, but we are afraid to do this in other places. We are shy of our faith, we are afraid that others will say about us that we are such backward, vintage people, since we still believe in God.
At the same time, the sign of the cross is the simplest confession of the Christian faith. A person may even be mute, but as soon as he (or she) makes the sign of the cross, everyone around him will understand that he is a Christian.
He is a Christian, as he was baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and belongs to the Church that confesses faith in the Triune God.
“We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity” (Athanasian Creed).
And how can it be that the Church has been staying in this Creed for fifteen centuries, and does not shorten it, does not change this text for the sake of culture and time? Has the truth really not changed at all during this time?
The answer is simple: the truth has not changed. We Christians affirm that truth exists, whether some like it or not. We continue to confess our faith in the Triune God — the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And what’s more, please pay attention to the fact that we not only “believe” and not only “confess,” but we “worship.” That is, we do not just intellectually recognize the doctrine, not just abstractly agree with the Trinitarianism of God, but we worship Him. That is, we obey Him, we believe as He tells us, we gather in His church; we try to live according to His will, we are His servants, we are God’s property.
And you know, here, after all, it immediately becomes clear the reason why people reject the Christian faith. This reason, since ancient times, is called so: disobedience.
Original sin, the sin of Adam and Eve, consisted precisely in disobedience to God. People wanted to change the structure of the world created by God, to “become gods,” that is, to put themselves in the center, at the head of the universe, to take the place of God, or at least to “equalize” with God. We still carry this original sin from generation to generation, like an ancient curse that condemns us to death, dooms us to eternal punishment. And if it were not for the second person of the Holy Trinity – Jesus Christ, Who came to redeem us, we would certainly perish, we would go the direct road to hell.
The world has changed a lot since the days of Adam and Eve. It invented new “gods” and new ideas with which humans diligently replace God. Some idols are quite “similar” to God, and some formulas are quite “trinitarian,” because third time’s a charm. For example, the communist slogan “freedom, equality, fraternity” sounds very trinitarian.
And I immediately remembered another similar formula, even more ancient: “sin, death, devil.” And you know, this formula includes everything that opposes belief in the true God.
And so, in order to save us “from sin, from death and from the power of the devil,” the Son of God came to this earth, incarnated, became one of us. And He died in our place, taking upon Himself our sins.
And then He resurrected, and before the ascension He commanded to the apostles and their successors to go and baptize all nations “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The Lord has established that the gift of salvation from God will be transmitted to us through the sacrament of baptism.
All that we know about God is only that He Himself told us about Himself, that which He revealed to us. Without this revelation, we would know about Him no more than at the level of “it seems that there is someone here.”
But, nevertheless, sometimes the veil is slightly lifted. So, for example, when the Gospel told us about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, the mystery of the Trinity was revealed to us. We heard the voice of the Father speaking from heaven, we saw Christ standing in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove.
And the same Holy Trinity also acts in our baptism. So it is not by accident that Jesus commanded to “baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” These are not just beautiful words that Jesus finally left to His disciples (like, I go but let you think about it). These words are the culmination of the Gospel, the self-revelation of God, and this is a description of how God acts in this world.
The Church has always believed in the Triune God, Who revealed Himself to us as the Creator of heaven and earth, Who created everything, but did not leave His creation. And more than that: He did not leave, but loved people so much that He gave His only Son for our salvation.
The Church believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being the eternal Son of God, became one of us to take away our sins, to suffer for us and die, and then to resurrect to bring all the faithful to the Heaven.
The Church believes in the Holy Spirit, Helper and Comforter, Who was sent to clean us with the water of baptism, and to forgive our sins, and nourish us with the precious holy meal of the Eucharist so that we do not get tired on the way to the God’s Kingdom.
And all of them — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — are not three Gods, but one God. This is the faith of the Church, the faith that the Church has received from God and passed on to us. The Church has always believed this way, and has always preserved and defended this faith.
Whenever we make the sign of the Cross (and say, “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!”) we confess our trinitarian faith. We tell ourselves and the whole universe that baptism was not in vain for us, and that we still stand in this faith. You know, so many people were baptized, and then run away, back to the world, so it is so important that we are here.
We did not run away, so we are here in the church. Maybe there are not so many of us, but no matter how many we are, we are not alone: today all over the world, Christians gather in their churches to “worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.”
I wish you a blessed feast of the Holy Trinity!