Trinity, Shepherdstown, June 7, 2020

Dear Friends, 

As you could see by “the plan” we will regather slowly and carefully.  It is both exciting and a bit scary but I don’t think that the virus is going to completely go away any time soon so we will need to do our best to live safely with it around us.  On Wednesday June 10 we will begin a new offering.  Evening Prayer will be held on zoom beginning at 7:00 PM.  If you are interested in participating, please reply to this email so that we can give you the login information and send the order of service.  I am grateful to Tina Barton and Tom Miller for putting this together.  Having your prayer book available for this service will be helpful.

How can we not be distressed by the state of the world around us.  It seems to be that as Christians our call is to do exactly what our baptismal promises say: “to seek and serve Christ In all persons” and “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being “ and to go into our world in witness to the love of God poured into our hearts.  May these truly be more than words for us.

Please pray for healing for our world, our country, for all who are sick, hurting, grieved, for all who put themselves in harm’s way for our safety.  Keep in touch.  Call if you need anything.  Remember that we are all deeply and profoundly loved.

GT

THE LESSONS:

Genesis 1: 1-2:4
II Corinthians 13 :11-13
Matthew 28: 16-20

A HOMILY:

A many of you know, I have often over the years “passed off” the Trinity Sunday sermon to someone else, knowing that as the old saw says: if you talk about the Trinity for more than a few minutes you are bound to commit heresy because you are probing the depths of God too deeply.  And there are many, many heresies.  The notion of the Trinity is one of the most controversial and fascinating doctrines of Christianity.  In fact, today is the only day in the Church when we commemorate a doctrine.  Finally, the Trinity is a mystery.  By mystery, the Church does not mean a riddle, but rather a reality above our human comprehension that we may begin to grasp, but ultimately must know by worship, symbol, trust, and love.  It has been observed that for us Christians mystery is not a wall to run into but an ocean in which to swim.   The Athanasian Creed (see the Prayer Book, page 864-5) is one of the earliest descriptions of Trinitarian belief.  In part it says: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son, incomprehensible and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible”. The key word is incomprehensible.  As Christians we are comfortable with the incomprehensible.  We worship the incomprehensible.  Having mystery and paradox, rather than certainty, must not be disturbing to us.  It is certainty, dualism that so often leads to fallacy.  Most of our lives are lived in gray areas, not certainty.  Usually, certainty is nothing but a comfortable illusion.  The opposite of certainty is not doubt, but faith, especially in that which is beyond us.

There are many models in both art and word of the Trinity.  Our window above the altar and the needlepoint rug in front depict one of those models, there are others in the hangings used throughout the church year.  Sometimes we talk about the “Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Between” or “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier”.  While we know that they all fall short of perfection, what they have in common is that they point us to the truth that at the heart and soul of all is a vibrant state of harmonious, loving relationship that is God, the fountain, source, and ground of all being.  The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is an unceasing flow of love.   There are many implications for us in that truth.

First of all, it affects how we see ourselves and who we are as created in God’s image.  At our heart and soul we are designed to be loving, harmonious relationship. Our lives are a matter of relationship: with ourselves, with others and with God.  Each of those relationships impacts and informs and molds and shapes the other to make us who we are.  Fear, hatred, ignoring one part of us put us at best out of balance and always make us less that we have been created to be. 

Secondly, Jesus makes it clear over and over that God seeks to include us in the vibrant state of harmonious, loving relationship that lies at the center of all.  God seeks to enfold us, widens the circle of Himself, if you will, to enfold us in Himself and that ceaseless flow of love.  Oh, He knows we don’t belong there, yet in the awesome wonder of who He is, He continually seeks to gather us into Himself so that we become infused with that ceaseless flow of love.   Notice that this is not our choice.  Our sense of disconnection is an illusion.  Nothing can stop the flow of divine love; we cannot undo the eternal pattern even by our worst sin.  God is always wining, and God’s love will win in the end.  Love does not lose, nor does God lose. That is what is means to be God.

Finally, the notion of Trinity impacts and informs our mission, our work as Christians.  If indeed harmonious, loving relationship is at the heart for all that is and if we have been enfolded into and infused with that same harmonious loving relationship, then our job must to gather in, to wrap loving arms around all those what are broken, hurt, “cast down and faint of heart amid the sorrows and difficulties of the world.”  As God’s children, we are to do what God does and that simply is who He is: binding up, enfolding, healing by His presence and love.  Any wonder reconciliation lies at the heart of the Gospel.   “To bring back into council with” is the very longing and work of God, and, therefore, ours as well.   Any wonder Jesus last words in the Gospel of Matthew are, “Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . . . And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  It is our Good News to share with all.  See that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the vibrant, loving relationship at the center and heart of all things enfolds and longs to include all of us, infusing us with that same love, always with us,  always for us, bringing us ever nearer His heart.

AMEN

SOME PRAYERS:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his
promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end
of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son
Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to
strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior
Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring
forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I
am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,
help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it
patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 
Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit
of Jesus.  Amen. 

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands help you to serve each other.
May the Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart help you to love each other and your neighbors. 
Praise God wherever you may go and may you see the face of God in everyone you meet
And the blessing of God Almighty: Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always.  AMEN