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The Feast of the Holy Trinity
The First Sunday after Pentecost
The Feast of the Holy Trinity, or Trinity Sunday, is a movable festival on the Church calendar
in Western Christendom. Its date of celebration depends, as do Lent
, Ascension Day
, and Pentecost
, upon the date of Easter
Often, the Church Year is divided into two approximate halves. The "festival half," sometimes (rather inappropriately, in my opinion) termed "the Lord's half year," runs from the First Sunday in Advent through the week following Pentecost. This period encompasses all of the major Christological observances. Trinity Sunday is sometimes considered the close of the festival half but is usually understood to be the beginning of the non-festival half, sometimes called "the Church's half year." Its proper liturgical color is white, but except for certain special observances, green will be used for paraments and vestments until the church year closes.
This day celebrates the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — One God yet Three Persons — a fact revealed in Scripture but apprehended only by faith, since its comprehension defies human logic. Some people with a literalistic (rather than literal) understanding of the Bible attempt to deny this doctrine since they cannot find "Trinity" or "Triune" or "Three Persons" in the pages of Scripture. However, the sum total testimony of the Old and New Testaments certainly speaks of God as One yet also as Three Persons.
Regardless of the lectionary cycle used, the appointed Scriptures for the day reflect both God's undivided unity of self and His Triune nature. While not often used by most of the Christian Church during the rest of the year, much of the Western Church uses the Athanasian Creed
as its confession of faith on Trinity Sunday.Lection — One-year SeriesPsalm 29Isaiah 6:1-7Romans 11:33-36John 3:1-15 (16-17)Lection — Three-year Series, Year BPsalm 29Isaiah 6:1-8Acts 2:14a, 22-36John 3:1-17Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever.HymnsHoly, Holy, Holy
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.
Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!Holy God, We Praise Your Name
Holy God, we praise Your Name;
Lord of all, we bow before You.
All on earth Your scepter claim,
All in heaven above adore You.
Infinite Your vast domain,
Everlasting is Your reign.
Hark! The glad celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising;
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising,
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
"Holy, holy, holy Lord!"
Lo, the apostolic train
Join Your sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the glad refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun
Through the Church the song goes on.
You are King of Glory, Christ;
Son of God, yet born of Mary.
For us sinners sacrificed,
As to death a Tributary,
First to break the bars of death,
You have opened heaven to faith.
Holy Father, holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name You,
Though in essence only One;
Undivided God we claim You
And, adoring, bend the knee
While we own the mystery.
Related items: A Chime in the Church Ever Ringing
and Trinity Sunday Thoughts
from Incarnatus Est
, Tainted Trinitarian Theology Trouble
at Martin's Mumbles.
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