Trinity Sunday

07 June 2020

 

READINGS

 

Isaiah 40:12-17, 27-end

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
   and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
   and weighed the mountains in scales
   and the hills in a balance?
Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
   or as his counsellor has instructed him?
Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
   and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge,
   and showed him the way of understanding?
Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
   and are accounted as dust on the scales;
   see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,
   nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him;
   they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.


Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
   and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
   his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
   and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
   and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint.

 

Psalm 8

 

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!


You have set your glory above the heavens.
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger.


When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?


Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.


O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

2 Corinthians. 13:11-end

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Matthew 28:16-20

 

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

COLLECT

 

Almighty and everlasting God,

you have given us your servants grace,

by the confession of a true faith,

to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity

and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:

keep us steadfast in this faith,

that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen

(or)

Holy God,

faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen

 

 

 

Sermon

Ylva Blid-Mackenzie

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. This is the day in the Church's calendar when we celebrate God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three Persons. The Three-in-One, as we sometimes say. But how do we understand such a strange formula? Does it matter that God reveals Godself in three different ways to us?

As a child, I could easily understand God the Father. He was simply God. He is the Creator, the Almighty, the Everlasting Lord and God of all. That made perfect sense. But what use to me was Jesus? Only as I grew, did I come to know and love Jesus as the Teacher and as the Friend, the Lover. God here with us, in our own reality, sharing his existence with us on our terms. And I really had to become quite old until I got even an inkling what God the Holy Spirit was. To understand that the One who prompted me to take action when I felt someone was upset, or in need, was that Holy Spirit. That what I had always labelled 'intuition', could be understood in terms of the Spirit. And that the One compelling me to live a more authentic, creative life, true to myself and to God, was that Spirit. 

To have a faith is not a static experience. It is not something we acquire, then keep in a box, pristine as the day we got it. Our faith is a living, breathing something, which we tend to, nurture, sometimes neglect, but always return to, finding a new facet or way of looking at our life and at the world, through it. In some periods we will feel closest to God the Father. The reassurance that someone is in control, that there is a plan, that there is a higher power. In other periods we will turn our eyes to God the Son. He walks with us: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows, but Jesus", as the old Gospel Spiritual has it. All human life is well within his experience, nothing surprises him, we can always tell him all that is in our heart. And God the Spirit breathes through all our experiences, is God at work in our world, through us and through all people, who sometimes unwittingly, sometimes very consciously put themselves at the Spirit's disposal.

Our Gospel reading contains what is called "The Great Commission", Matt. 28:19-20. Jesus is sending us out to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the "name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit". That specific instruction forms the basis for our faith. Our walk with God's Church starts with baptism in the name of the Trinity. When we baptise small children, or even babes-in-arms, we do so out of concern and love for them, that they should be included in the Church and get that connection to the faith, which we ourselves so enjoy. Traditionally it was the Godparents, and especially the Godmothers, who were responsible for bringing the children up in the faith, teaching them the essentials, such as Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Creed. There is something for us to ponder, who are proud Godparents of small children. Are we taking our responsibilities serious enough?

Believers of other faiths find our Trinitarian formula hard to grasp. Many monotheistic faiths think we believe in three gods, or have misunderstood the true nature of God, which they are sure is One. But our understanding of God as both One and Three is mysterious and utterly sublime, lending our faith a richness and a subtleness that can be mined for hidden treasures throughout our whole lives. God cannot, and will not, be fully understood, pinned down, boxed in. This is what the Trinity speaks of to me. God is always more, larger, stranger, than our understanding. Thank God for that; Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Amen

HYMN

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, blessed 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 wert, and art, and evermore shalt 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 pow'r, 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, blessed Trinity!

Words by Reginald Heber Music by John Bacchus Dykes