With the doctrine of the Trinity garnering fresh attention in recent decades, I dare to preach more often about the Trinity, and have found congregations appreciative. The John 16 text is one of several in John that bring Father, Son and Holy Spirit into dynamic proximity and invite a Trinity Sunday theological sermon.
But even as I write this, it’s Paul’s daunting promise to the Romans that haunts me: “Suffering produces endurance,” he assures the Romans and us, “and endurance produces character and character produces hope.” Recently I stood in the pulpit of my church and looked over the top of a white, 32-inch-long casket at a young couple from my congregation. Their six-month-old son, who had been happy and healthy just days before, had died in his sleep. The unfathomable suffering of the family was shadowed by a church filled with mourners for whom the scene enacted their most dreaded fears.