Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday, 2011

St. Andrew's Pastoral Assistant, the Rev. Dean Byrom, will be preaching this morning, so I thought I'd re-post here my Trinity Sunday sermon from 2010. Blessings on the day.

Grace and peace on this Trinity Sunday. On the calendar of the Church Year we travel together through the great thematic and story-filled seasons of Advent and Christmas and Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. This morning, the Sunday after the Day of Pentecost, the scene before us now opens wide to what we sometimes call the “Green Season,” which will be the color of our altar hangings after this week. In Roman Catholic calendars this is sometimes just called “Ordinary Time.” The interval in which we live, our focus now on the space between Whitsunday and the Second Coming.

There used to be this wonderful magazine called “Acts 29.” You look that up in your Bibles, and you’ll find . . . that it’s not there . . . . The chapter after the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

Our chapter, you might say. The story of the Church as Christ’s body stretching out into the life of the world on our mission to live in Christ and be ourselves sacraments of his kingdom, outward and visible signs. Signs of restoration, renewal, healing, forgiveness, and even in the days of deepest challenge signs of a confident hope in God’s favor and love and perfect intention. The most important chapter in the whole of the Bible. Acts 29. Written in the story of our lives.

Trinity Sunday is for us then one big over-the-top day of celebration of the eternal life of God, Father, Son, and Spirit. God known to us in the experience of our lives, in our encounter with him in the creation, and at the Cross, and in the spirit-filled life of Christian community. In the scriptures and in prayer and in loving service, day by day.

“. . . confessors’ faith, apostles’ word, the patriarch’s prayers, the prophets’ scrolls; all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls. I bind unto myself to day the strong Name of the Trinity . . . .” It’s a long hymn that we will sing perhaps only once or twice a year, but it is above all and in all that we are and all that we do. The theme song and background music, birth and baptism, and the unfolding of our lives. “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.”

The gospel for this morning once again as in previous weeks from St. John and the great High Priestly Prayer of Jesus on the night of Maundy Thursday, and the promise of the Spirit, who comes not on his own but with a deep message of Truth for us that is fully congruent with the character and life of Christ, who is himself fully one with the Father. The Spirit delivers the Word of the Son, who is himself the one who speaks all that the Father has spoken.

Again as the formula goes, Three in One, and One in Three. A mystical message, it may seem. But also the simple realities of our birth and life and death, our rest in him, our sharing in the new life of resurrection. The message for us, that all our life, past, present, future, what was and is and is to come, all will be in him, for him, through him. That the end of our journey is in our beginning, and that all roads will lead us home.

Blessings then simply on this Trinity Sunday, for the green season ahead, spring and summer, and for all the lives that we share together. Singing together, praying together. Opening ourselves to the scriptures; gathering at the table. Going out into the wide world: home and family, work and play; in prosperity and adversity, in sickness and in health. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty: God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. It is a great gift, that he will live in us, and we in him.

Bruce Robison

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