Sunday, June 11, 2017

Trinity Sunday Sermon

O Lord our God, accept our fervent prayers and in the multitude of your mercies, look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help; for you are gracious, O lover of souls, and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

On this Trinity Sunday, as we consider our relationship with God & understanding of God, I think of the words of St. Julian of Norwich, a saint from the 14th century in England. This is from her book, Revelations of Divine Love:

"So when he made us, God almighty was our kindly Father, and God all-wise our kindly Mother, and the Holy Spirit their love and goodness; all one God, one Lord… I saw the blessed Trinity working. I saw that there were these three attributes- fatherhood, motherhood and lordship- all in one God… In this uniting together he is our real, true husband, and we his beloved wife and sweetheart. He is never displeased with his wife, as God says: 'I love you and you love me and our love will never be broken.'"

Julian saw our triune God in aspects of both fatherhood and motherhood, but most importantly, in a loving relationship with us, God’s creation. The lover of souls as that opening prayer put it. To which, our connection with Jesus who we follow is important, Again in Julian’s words:

“And Christ rejoices that He is our Brother, and Jesus rejoices that He is our Savior.” Again it is relational for he is our brother, but Julian also reminds of his saving work, for he is our savior too.

So what does our brother and savior Jesus ask of us today? I think of his last words in Matthew that we heard in the Gospel of Matthew this morning.

To the 11 disciples, he calls them to go and make disciples, baptize and teach the way of following Jesus, and to remember that Jesus is with us always...

That call is also to us – to go and make disciples, baptize (which we will do today! welcoming little Arlan into the household of God) and then we are called to teach the commandments that Jesus has given us.

As one author puts it: “If we are going to make disciples, we need to teach commandments. If we ourselves are to follow Jesus, we are to obey commandments. But what are the commandments of Jesus? You can find various lists online. They certainly include the commandment to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbors. There are many more. We are to forgive others. We are to repeat Jesus' last meal by celebrating Holy Eucharist. We are not to store up treasures on earth. We are to love our enemies. These are not easy--impossible even--to obey all the time. As we say in our baptismal covenant, we do these things with God's help. And as Sunday's Gospel reminds us, God abides with us always, "I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).” [Rev. Scott Gunn]

In other words, Jesus is asking us to follow him and live out those commandments of love and forgiveness, of celebration and fasting in what we say and do. It is not the easy road, and we will often fall short of following Jesus, but the importance remains on us journeying with Jesus, with this God we understand in three ways (F + S + HS), who loves us always and is always with us.

A woman in need of help saw a row of cars parked at a church at noontime. Hoping that someone there might be able to help, she went inside and found a group gathered in a small meeting room. She asked if the church might be handing out food, but she was told that she had come on the wrong day. This was the weekly midday Scripture study group. The food pantry would be open next week.

The woman was embarrassed for interrupting the Bible study, but said her family needed food that day, not next week. The parishioners apologized and said that she would simply have to wait until the twice-monthly food giveaway came around again. With a look of disappointment, the woman backed out of the church door and walked away empty-handed.

That's when the group was interrupted a second time - but this time, the interruption was transformative rather than intrusive. Several participants got up from their chairs and followed the woman out the door. They did their best to meet her needs from their own resources. A couple of the women even offered to give her a ride to the grocery store and then back to her home with the food they had helped her to purchase for her family.

In that interrupted Scripture study, the group was able to hear in the distressed woman's voice more than a plea for food. They heard God's invitation to partner in the work of making whole again the world that God loves so much. [From "Living by the Word" by Cleophus J. LaRue, The Christian Century, June 24, 2015.]

That perfect love that binds God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to us - manifests itself in our lives in ways so ordinary that we often barely notice. God "interrupts" our lives in different voices and people and circumstances - all guiding us to the meaning and purpose of our lives – which is realized in embracing others and being embraced in the creative, sustaining love of God.

In the words of Julian of Norwich – “Our life too is threefold- being, growth, and perfection.” Each of us is made in the image of our triune God, for we have our being from God (our creation), we are continually growing in our life and finally we will find that perfection is found in love.

On this Trinity Sunday, may we know ourselves to be loved by God so deeply, that we are his beloved, his sweetheart, that what we say and do in our lives today, this week and always, is a response out of that love towards others & our God.


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