Here is the sermon preached by our Reader Christine for Trinity Sunday on 30 May 2021:
At our recent Inspiring Music in Worship group meeting a question was asked, “How would you plan Sunday morning differently if you knew Jesus was the guest preacher?” and as it’s my turn to preach I said a little tongue in cheek, “yes please.” As I’m sure he would do a better job than me.
It got me thinking though, if Jesus were to speak, what might he say? He may have told us a new parable, but maybe he would have said; “I’ve told you everything, it’s been written down and spoken about for centuries, do you still not understand.”
Words similar to the ones he said to Nicodemus, when he spoke about new birth; ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?’ but, Jesus wasn’t speaking about physical rebirth to Nicodemus, he was I think, speaking about spiritual rebirth through the water’s baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, being born to God. However, Nicodemus’ mind was on earthy things, not spiritual things and then Jesus said; “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.’ Giving Nicodemus and us even more food for thought.
Today, Trinity Sunday we think about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The Trinity, something that people have tried to untangle and explain for many years using all sorts of metaphors, symbols and illustrations. We have some that are very common and one I have used myself, the 3-leaf clover, we have the examples of different roles each and everyone of us have, mother, sister, nurse, etc. We have the example of a butterfly, three stages, egg, caterpillar, butterfly and I’m sure you can think of many others, but ultimately, I think it’s down to everyone’s own interpretation of how you understand it, or get your head round it.
However, let’s look at Trinity Sunday in the Christian calendar. It brings to an end a six-month period where we have been celebrating great events around the coming of Jesus into our world.
Events such as the Incarnation, Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. We have heard about his teachings, miracles, his ascension and finally last week, the gift of the Holy Spirit on his disciples and all who follow him and his teachings.
It’s been a hectic time in the life of the church and in so many other ways in the last 15 months for the world too. So now let’s give ourselves time to pause, pray and prepare ourselves. To allow ourselves to take stock of our lives and re-focus our sights on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Three in one and to remember God’s first commandment of love. To love him with every part of our being because, “God so loved the world he gave his only Son, not to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” And showing our love to God is what we try to do every day as we worship him, follow his commandments and allow the Spirit to guide us in our faith.
A faith God calls us to, maybe not in the same way as Isaiah was called, but are we prepared to say, ‘Here am I; send me!’
Paul and many of the other prophets were all called to faith in very different ways.
Jesus who took on flesh and died for us, left us examples and teachings of how to live our lives in faith.
The Holy Spirit was sent to remain with us and to become our guide and comforter so we would not lose faith.
Having faith, means accepting God at his word something Paul did. He experienced joy in his heart which remained with him as the years went by even when he faced torture and persecution. He suffered in his own way, but acknowledged that we are all children of God and that the spirit is in everyone who turns to Christ.
The Trinity cannot be separated and fully explained, it can’t be stereotyped into something physical, it can only be accepted as spiritual and by us in the way we feel comfortable.
To try and stereotype the Trinity would be wrong, in the same way it is wrong to stereotype people, something I’m sure many of us have done at some time or other, me included.
Something a close friend of mine once did. She was an elderly lady who struggled with mobility and was going to her car parked on the pavement. She had her car keys, bag and a letter in her hand and as she struggled to open the car door, she dropped the letter. As she looked up there was a group of youths approaching her with hoodies on and one of them quicken their pace to reach her. As she prepared to chastise the youth, he gently asked if she was alright and if he could help her. She explained her predicament and he and the others helped her open the car, put her bag in safely, ensured she got in the car and offered to post the letter. That lady many of you would know it was Joy Hawthorne and she told me how glad she was that those youths appeared at that exact time and how they would wave to her every day after as they walked past her house and how sorry she was that she had misjudged their characters, because of the way they were dressed.
We both agreed that God works in a mysterious way and that the Holy Spirit was definitely with them and her at a time when she needed help when no-one else was around. God works in and through people irrespective of whether they know it or not.
It is our faith that asks us to look for God in our everyday lives, in the people we meet and the environment in which we live and the sounds we hear, for me especially the birds.
God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world, but to save it.
We can all be forgiven for stereotyping, but it accepting that God is working in and through others all the time wherever we go that we may sometimes struggle with.
However, as Paul states we are brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit of God and are therefore children of God.
So, what would we change if Jesus was invited to our Sunday morning worship?
I think it would be very little, because every Sunday should be and is special as we recall the gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s love for us who he created and the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus who died for us.
So, let’s pause, pray and prepare ourselves to allow the spirit who is with us and in us to work through us in faith.
You know us by name, you know our needs.
Help us to trust you and to walk by faith not by sight.