At the end of the Easter season, AUR celebrates the 12 Days of Commission, beginning on Commission Sunday, 20 April this year, and ending on Ascension Thursday, on May 1st. This time commemorates the charge of Jesus Christ to teach all nations, to baptize, and to obey his teachings.
The text of the Great Commission in the Gospel of Matthew contains one of the proof texts often mistaken as supporting Trinitarianism, and it thus bears comment.
Jesus tells his disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Listing three items does not, by any stretch of reason or imagination, lead to the conclusion that these three are parts of a triune whole, co-equal and co-eval.
As a son descends from a father (to consider them as co-eval is to deny the Father-Son relationship) and the Holy Spirit is described in scripture as emanating from God, this triple invocation is more accurately understood not as a list of equals, but as a flowing of spirit from the unbegotten Unitarian Creator through the only-begotten Son who is the “firstborn of creatures” and a Holy Spirit which is embodied in a variety of ways.
Rather than a Trinity, this baptism is in the name of a sequential “Triplicity”: the wellspring of the Father pouring out the river of the Son, and issuing into the world through the Holy Spirit like a delta washing out into the sea through a multitude of streams. It is in this truth we baptize, that we might retrace the path of the diverse waters of Spirit, reconciled in the unity of the Logos, by which we may find the One God.
The Twelve Days of Commission conclude in the Ascension of Jesus, which is one of the Four Great Thursdays of AUR, the other three being Garden Thursday, Declaration Thursday, and Thanksgiving Thursday. This day commemorates the return of Jesus to stand at the right hand of God.
Just as the Voice of God came to the Jews from between the two angels on the Reconciler (also known, in a poor translation, as the “Mercy Seat”) atop the Ark of the Covenant, the Reconciling Word of God returned to Heaven between two angels who appeared beside him.