We do better to adore the mysteries of Deity than to investigate them.

Philip Melanchthon

Every year when Holy Trinity Sunday draws near, I remember this word of wisdom from Martin Luther’s fellow reformer and dear friend, Philip Melanchthon: “We do better to adore the mysteries of Deity than to investigate them.” To me, this is what Holy Trinity Sunday is all about: adoring the mysteries of the One God revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not investigating them, or trying to understand them, but simply adoring these beautiful mysteries.

There are a number of poems that help us to do that, and which are appropriate for Trinity Sunday, but I find George Herbert’s poem, “Trinitie Sunday,” particularly meaningful. Don’t let the archaic spelling of Herbert’s poem throw you – read this poem aloud and it will sound surprisingly modern and relevant. While there is a lot that could be said about this poem, let me offer just a few comments. There are three verses, obviously, but lots of other threes in this incredible poem. In the first verse, for example, we are praying to the three persons of the Trinity, who create, redeem and sanctify us. In the second verse, we see a reference to the past, present, and future. In the third verse, we see a mention of “these three” theological virtues from 1 Corinthians 13: faith, hope, and charity. And also in this verse, the three ways that we live out our faith: heart, mouth, and hands. And, finally, a reminder that we run, rise, and rest with God – we rise with the one who redeems us, run with the one who creates us, and rest in the one who sanctifies us. There is more, but I will leave it at that, to make sure that I am adoring the mysteries of Deity more than trying to investigate them.

Devotional Poem: “Trinitie Sunday” by George Herbert

Lord, who hast form’d me out of mud,
        And hast redeem’d me through thy bloud,
        And sanctifi’d me to do good;

Purge all my sinnes done heretofore:
        For I confesse my heavie score,
        And I will strive to sinne no more.

Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
       With faith, with hope, with charitie;
        That I may runne, rise, rest with thee.

A prayer inspired by this poem:

O Lord, who has formed me, redeemed me, and sanctified me: how majestic is your name in all the earth! Hallowed be your name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always. Your grace, mercy, and steadfast love for me is more than I could dare ask for, and more than I deserve. Forgive me, Lord, of my many sins, and help me as I strive to run, rise, and rest with you. Thank you for your gifts to me of faith, hope, and above all, love. They have sustained me through my life, they sustain me now, and I trust that they will continue to in the days to come, no matter what the future holds. For all that I have, all that I am, and all that I will ever be, I give thanks to you; through your son, Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Icon of the Trinity

4 thoughts on “Trinitie Sunday | George Herbert

      1. The problem of the ages is rooted in the unhealthy quest for reason. We would do so much better if we simply accepted.
        Thank you for sharing your wonderful musings with us always.
        Very many godly blessings to you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

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