What if you won the lottery?
At a wedding last weekend, the bride and groom gave every guest lottery tickets for the powerball. We played a fun game, maybe you've played it, where you all talk about what you'd do if you suddenly won millions of dollars. What would you do? Your whole life has the potential to change instantly! Imagine for a moment what you would do, how you would react, how your life would change.
Now, think about not just what you would buy. I’m sure we would all get ourselves something nice. But imagine for a moment the way your every day life would change.
How would you live differently? If you never had to work again, if your finances were taken care of for the rest of your life, what would you do with yourself? What would you do with your new found freedom? With your time and energy? Imagine for just a moment what that might be like.
For sure your relationships would change in one way or another. They might be better off in some ways...you could potentially help family and friends in ways you never imagined. Other relationships might be strained. I’ve heard many stories of people who receive an inheritance or win the lottery and suddenly their relationships become damaged or broken. Money can do crazy things to people.
Even without money as a factor, think of how complicated and crazy relationships can be. I don’t just mean our marriages or relationships with significant others. I mean relationships with parents, children, sisters, brothers, long time friends or distant relatives, church friends, and workplace buddies. Some of these relationships I’m sure are life giving for you. Some you probably can’t live without: a friend you confide in, a parent that helps with every important decision, or the person you go to when things get tough.
But there are also the hard relationships: the children we don’t speak to, the member of our family who ruins every Thanksgiving dinner, or the friend we haven’t been in touch with since a big fight. Relationships can be both a blessing and a curse.
This coming Sunday is what we call Trinity Sunday. It’s the day in the Church year that we celebrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the teaching that God is three persons in one being. Three in one and one that is three. It’s a doctrine we say we believe every week in the Nicene Creed.
We believe in God the Father the Almighty.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.
Its a doctrine we profess to believe each week, yet its sometimes described as one of the hardest to relate to or understand.
In today’s reading from the Apostle Paul to the Romans, Paul gives us something we might be able to latch onto. He says that each of us as Christians has been adopted as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
Paul is not explaining the doctrine of the Trinity, but what we do get is this: that fundamentally our understanding of God is all about relationship.
You can’t know, or experience God without relationship. The most fundamental way that God has made God’s self known to us is in relationship: the relationship between a Father and his Son Jesus Christ in the communion of love that is the Holy Spirit.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in an eternal relationship from before time and forever, a relationship of equality and love that never ends.
The dynamic power of love that is at the very heart of God’s identity cannot be understood - love cannot be understood - without understanding it as being shared. God’s essential and core being has always been the giving, sharing, and receiving of love.
When Paul says we are co-heirs with Christ what he means is that because God has adopted us as children, we also get to inherit that relationship of love. Because we have been reborn in our baptism by water and the Spirit, we have been drawn into the life of the Holy Trinity.
The love shared between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit spills out into creation and invites us into that same relationship. A relationship that is always a blessing. That is always life giving and fulfilling. A relationship that is always there for us and never goes away.
We as God’s children inherit fully the same love that the Father has for the Son, the love that led the Father to give his Son to the world so that the world through him would be saved.
So, I want you to stop and imagine an inheritance again for a moment. But this time, instead of inheriting a large sum of money, I want you to imagine that you have inherited all that God has to give. That you no longer have to be afraid of the future, afraid of what people think of you, afraid of your status among others, afraid of your standing before God. Imagine the courage that you can have as an inheritor of all the blessing and riches God has to offer.
What difference would that make in your life? What difference does it make to know you are unconditionally loved, that you have immeasurable value in God’s eyes?
That no matter what you do or no matter what is done TO you, God will always love and care about you?
How might you live differently? Imagine for a moment what decisions you might make differently this week.
How would your relationships look different in light of God’s promised inheritance?
How might your challenges at work or school look different now that you are a co-heir with Christ? What risks could you take in your relationships or in your career knowing that the God who created the universe has your back?
Who would you treat differently? Who would you love more? Who would you forgive?
Imagine how your life will change this very week ahead knowing that you are a child of God and inherit the very relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and all of the love and life that that offers?
Unlike an inheritance of money, this inheritance knows no end, no boundaries. Its meant to be shared. So claim that love for your own and share it with everyone around you.
Love endlessly and vigorously.
Forgive without measure or condition. Reconcile with those you have wronged and those who have wronged you.
Reach out into the world with this good news. You are an heir of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.