|Proper 10, Seventh Sunday After Pentecost||July 15, 2012||Proper 10, Seventh Sunday After Pentecost||Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost||July 8, 2012||Sermon, Proper 9, Year B||2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost||July 1, 2012||Sermon, Proper 8, Year B||Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43|
|Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost||June 24, 2012||Sermon, Proper 7, Year B||Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41|
|Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost||June 10, 2012||Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost)||Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1|
|➤Trinity Sunday, Year B||June 3, 2012||Trinity Sunday, Year B||Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 27, 2012||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15|
|Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 13, 2012||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17|
|Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 6, 2012||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18|
|Third Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 22, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||Luke 24:36b-48|
|Second Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 15, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||John 20:19-31|
|Easter, April 8, 2012||April 8, 2012||Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B||Mark 16:1-8|
|Good Friday, April 6, 2012||April 6, 2012||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
Trinity Sunday, Year B
Sermon Date:June 3, 2012
Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17
Liturgy Calendar: Trinity Sunday, Year B
“How can these things be?”
The question that Nicodemus asked Jesus is a question we all have when we try to wrap our minds around our belief in the Trinity. One +One+One=Three God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer One God, three persons This belief that God is Three in One distinguishes us from the other great world religions—an audacious, daring claim because of what this theology means when it comes to our relationship with God.
One God, three persons
This belief that God is Three in One distinguishes us from the other great world religions—an audacious, daring claim because of what this theology means when it comes to our relationship with God.
Christians, Muslims, and Jews all agree on the transcendence of God—the transcendence summed up in our scriptures today that puts Isaiah into a state of awe—Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on a throne high and lofty, a presence so immense that just the hem of his robe fills the temple. The Psalmist tells us that the voice of the Lord has the power of a tornado—the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness, makes the oak trees writhe, and strips the forests bare.
A God in control of creation—a God of vast power and might.
And yet this God, so mighty and powerful, chose to come to us, as the Word made flesh, this God pitched his tent and lived in our midst as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
“How can these things be?” Nicodemus wondered. “We know you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”
But that understanding is as far as Nicodemus could get. His beliefs about God had solidified into a rigid pattern of thought. This rigid thought pattern kept Nicodemus from being able to integrate the new information that he received from Jesus during this visit by night. In the presence of Jesus, Nicodemus found himself mystified about the nature of a God that he had thought he understood.
So now Nicodemus wanted Jesus to define himself in rational terms in a way that Nicodemus could logically grasp.
But Jesus immediately turns the tables on Nicodemus by saying to him “I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
“This isn’t about me, Nicodemus,” Jesus says. “It’s about you.”
Trinity Sunday offers us the great temptation to be Nicodemus: to try to define the Trinity in rational terms that we can logically grasp.
But how could anyone ever rationally explain the inherently mysterious Trinitarian claim that we make—that the transcendent God, who controls all of creation, loves us so deeply that God , our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, would stoop to enter into creation to live and die as one of us, and that God the Holy Spirit would love us enough to dare to make a home and dwell in each and every one of us, to give us new birth through the Spirit.
Actually, this Sunday is about us—about delving into our own relationships with God in light of our Trinitarian faith in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In what has to be the most well known verse in the New Testament, John 3:16, Jesus boils God’s relationship with us down to five words.
“For God so loved the world…” This is the nature of God, revealed in Jesus.
God is love.
This is the nature of our Trinitarian God—a relationship of sheer love shared among the three persons of the Trinity throughout eternity, love so great that it cannot be contained within the Trinity, so that it pours out on all of creation.
God is love.
Our life long challenge as Christians is simply to respond to that love. The fact that God is love turns out to be all about us.
Isaiah had the right idea. Finding himself in the presence of God, Isaiah was humbled by his unworthiness. All he could say was
“Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
But God did not leave Isaiah caught up in his unworthiness. Instead, God had Isaiah purified through no action on Isaiah’s part. The seraph touched Isaiah’s lips with a live coal—Isaiah’s guilt left him, and his sins were blotted out.
Like Isaiah, when we find ourselves in the presence of God, we become painfully aware of our unworthiness, and yet , through no action of our own, God cleanses us as well.
Jesus puts it this way– we must be born from above, born of the Spirit.
And Paul tells us that through the Spirit, we are made Sons of God—that means that we will inherit everything that God has for us! We will inherit God’s love!
Paul goes on to tell us, if we read to the end of chapter 8, that NOTHING will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord—not death or life or angels or rulers or things present or things to come or powers, or height or depth, or anything else in all creation.
What a promise! A promise based not on what we’ve done, but on what God does for us because God loves us.
The God who created us out of love and who lived and died as one of us because of love and who now dwells within each one of us through love, endlessly and eternally asks this question of each one of us.
“Whom shall I send?
Ultimately, if we answer as Isaiah did, “Here I am! Send me!” God carries us first into the heart of the loving Trinity, and then God sends us out to carry that love back into the world to those around us, reflecting in our very beings the love that God has for each one of us.
Randy Alexander, a priest in New York, wrote about his father recently in the Virginia Episcopalian.
Randy’s father was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Great Depression and he knew real hardship. He couldn’t go to high school because he was needed at home to work in the family sawmill.
God sent this man not to some far off mission field, but sent him instead to stay home and to help his family.
Randy says that his father’s reference Bible is worn with use—the edges of many of the pages simply worn away, pieces missing, especially in the epistles where Paul speaks of grace and forgiveness. Many spots in the Bible are stained with fingerprints.
Randy says that his father is humble about his faith, that his father is a witness of what loving and living the scriptures looks like.
This man has traveled into the love that we find at the heart of the Trinity through his devotion to scripture study. He has carried the love he has absorbed back out into the place that God sent him—his own home.
Randy’s father’s faith and witness has poured out God’s love on his own son. And Randy, in his own life, has poured out God’s love on those he serves.
So on this Trinity Sunday, I would challenge each and every one of us to listen for God’s eternal question to us,
“Whom shall I send?”
I pray that each one of us will find the courage and the grace to answer, “Here I am, Lord. Send me”—
To let God carry us into the very heart of the Trinity, to drink in God’s love there, and to carry that love out into the world as we go to or stay wherever God wants us to be.