Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trinity, a sermon

Trinity Sunday, the day most preachers try to explain how we believe in one God whom we describe as three persons or types.  I’ll give you the quick answer.  It’s about relationships.

There are times when we relate to God as the creator or as a kind of parent.  There are times when the Son
is how we know God best.  And then most of the time it is the Holy Spirit that we recognize moving in and through us.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the readings!

Almost every single one of us cut our biblical teeth on Genesis 1 plus that little bit of chapter 2.  We love that story even as we admit that it is a myth, the kind of story that is mostly fiction built on a fundamental truth,
this one being that God created everything that is.  It is a comfort story and despite all attempts to paint it as anti-evolutional, it is exactly the opposite of that. This is a story of how our world evolved.  Told around campfires in the camps of nomads, passed on to children generation after generation, these stories of our early ancestors speak of how they understood God to be related to and involved with themselves  and all that surrounded them.

We cannot fault them for not including the big bang theory or an anthropological understanding of evolution,
species coming and going, fault lines and tectonic plates causing the earth to shake or ice ages pushing the land around to form mountains and valleys.  There was no way they could know any of those things.  It is only in the last several hundred years that we have begun to discover the rich knowledge beyond the Genesis understanding of God and creation.

Along with the psalmist, these early people considered the heavens, the work of God’s fingers, the moon and the stars God set in their courses.  And they asked, where do we fit into this scheme and how come we
seem to be masters of all that we see on the earth?  The psalmist has no answer for those questions.  It is sufficient to state them, to recognize that the Lord gave us mastery over creation and then to praise the name of the Lord.

With all of our science, do we  really understand why humanity has the power to nurture and to destroy
that which we had no hand in creating?  Not really.  So why should we consider the awesome-ness of earth and sky?  Why should we wonder why God made us a little lower than the angels?  Because doing so
brings us into relationship with the Lord of creation.  God made us and then invited us to be stewards of the rest of creation. 

We were not given creation to do with as we choose, however.  There are some who see humanity as co-creators with the Almighty.  I’m not sure I agree with that idea but I am awed to realize that God chooses to share the work of care and nurture of all created order with us, that God trusts us that much!

Jesus reiterates that care in the Gospel.  Jesus tells the disciples that authority in heaven and on earth
belongs to him. He does not give it to them, but because he has the authority and they are the ones who know and love him, he sends them out to make more disciples, disciples of all nations to be stewards of the Church, caring for and nurturing it.  Through his authority, they are to baptize and teach, bringing others into the family.  And he, the one who holds the power, will be with them always, caring for them as he always has
and helping them to continue growing in the work they now share with him and with those they will teach.

Relationships.  Between people and nations, between the Lord and the creation.

The apostle Paul has a stormy relationship with the Corinthians.  Even so, he loves them deeply and they love him as the one who cared enough to show them how God wanted them to live in Christ.  Paul ends this epistle by calling them brothers and sisters.  They are now closely related through the redeeming work of the Son.

Paul tells them to agree with one another and live in peace.  Obviously Paul must have been an only child. 
But even when we are not in agreement, my brothers and sisters, we do agree on the love of God that we share. 

You and I know that the God of love and peace is with us.  And when we greet one another, whether with a nod, handshake, hug or kiss, we share that love and peace with the entire communion of saints.

Relationships.  Ours with each other.  Ours with God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  God knows us at our beginning, God walks beside us throughout our lives, God waits to welcome us into the gates of larger life opened to us only by the grace of that very same God.

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


revabi said...

Yes indeed it is about relationships.
I like that. We tend to forget that.

Sharon said...

I like the way all the readings were woven together. Another relationship! Thank you for this.