Trinity Sunday, May 27, 2018

Title:Trinity Sunday, May 27, 2018

 Trinity Sunday, May 27, 2018 (full size gallery)


This was a combination Sunday – Trinity Sunday, Memorial Day and celebration of the change in seasons. We had 40 for our 11am service.

Birthdays (Dave) and wedding annniversaries (Ron and Claudette) were also part of this Sunday. Memorial Day and the change of seasons were represented by a strawberry dessert after the service. One couldn’t miss all the flags on our graves for Memorial Day – both those who served the US (Austin Hoyt, Tom Mahoney) and Confederate (William Friend, our first rector and D. B Powers).

Our prayers of the People included this statement for Memorial Day-"We pray for those serving in the armed forces of this land, especially those on our prayer list We remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines."

Today’s readings invite us to experience the mystery of the Trinity. Isaiah responds to the invitation to speak for God, the Holy One. Paul explains that the Holy Spirit leads us to the Father, who adopts us as children and thus makes us “joint heirs with Christ.” In today’s gospel, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that being born of the Spirit, with faith in the Son, results in eternal life with God the Father.

The sermon expressed this relationship in terms of biology. "This doctrine of the Trinity is lifegiving and can us joy and hope in the midst of death and despair. So it’s no wonder that in today’s gospel, Jesus talks with Nicodemus about birth and new life. To enter into this resurrecting birth, we must be willing to enter into the great Trinitarian womb through which we are born again and again into ever larger and richer and longer and at last never ending lives.

"For a baby to form in a mother’s womb, a three-fold life support is necessary. The three parts of this life support system are the placenta, the umbilical cord, and the amniotic sac. In the Trinitarian womb into which we Christians can enter and find rebirth, God serves as the placenta. In the great Trinitarian womb, Jesus is our umbilical cord. The Holy Spirit is the amniotic sac

"When we spend time in the Trinitarian womb and are born again into this world, this is the birth that Jesus is telling Nicodemus about, the birth of the Spirit.

"We get reborn every time we take the time to pray. Our prayers are like the blood vessels of the baby in the womb, running through God, and through prayer, God gives us nutrients and lifegiving oxygen. Through prayer, God hears about the awful waste in our lives, and through God’s mercy, purifies us and takes all that sin and waste away. We Christians pray through Jesus, the One who connects and keeps our very life blood linked to God, our source of life."

The Isaiah reading recounts the call of the prophet Isaiah. He has a vision of the Lord enthroned amidst the divine council in the setting of the temple at Jerusalem. The throne is the ark of the covenant. Above the Lord are the seraphs, literally “burning ones.” Here, like the cherubim in the first chapter of Ezekiel, they indicate the heavenly creatures who give God worship.

The triple repetition of holy emphasizes the mysterious, unapproachable quality of the divine. Isaiah responds to the vision of God’s holiness with a sense of profound sinfulness before God’s perfection, not only for himself, but for all the people. He is granted cleansing through the coal from the altar so that he may proclaim God’s word to the people.

Psalm 29 is a hymn to Yahweh as the God of storm that may have been written as an objection to the pagan assertion of Baal as the thunder-god. The “glory” of the Lord gives God dominion over nature and over all gods. Thus Yahweh alone is the source of strength and blessing for the people.

The presentation of the Trinity in the scriptures about the living experience of God revealed in creation, redemption and sanctification. For example, in 1 Thessalonians, our earliest New Testament document, Paul speaks of God as Father, of Jesus as Lord and of the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:1-5).

In Romans 8, Paul mentions, within the space of one chapter, the Spirit as being the Spirit of God (8:9), the Spirit of Christ (8:9) and the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (8:2). Paul seems neither to intend nor to feel the need for any particular distinction among these phrases. He emphasizes that the source of the Spirit is God, that the Spirit’s full manifestation is in Christ and that Christians experience the Spirit communally in the body of Christ, the Church.

The Spirit gives to Christians “the spirit of adoption” (v. 15). While Jesus is the Son by proper relationship, Christians are offspring of God by adoption. We are to call upon God as “Abba! Father!” (v. 15) as did Jesus. Adoption was rare among Jews, but more common in the Hellenistic world. Its primary importance was to establish inheritance rights. Christians are “joint heirs with Christ” (v. 17), sharing in the redemptive act of Christ’s passion and resurrection and looking forward to sharing in his glorification.

The Gospel reading, John 3:1-17 is about Nicodemus and the discourse with Jesus about being reborn and the spirit

This discourse as a whole (3:1-21) moves from the work of the Spirit (3:3-8) to that of the Son (3:10-15) to that of the Father (3:16-21). Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, explains his interest as being caused by the signs Jesus has performed. Jesus seeks to draw him past these outward manifestations to a recognition of the inward significance of his activity.

The discussion begins on the meaning of being born, or “begotten,” “from above” (v. 3). In Greek, this phrase has two meanings. The first is “anew, again”—temporally—which is what Nicodemus understands on the physical level; the second is “from above”—spatially—which is what Jesus seems to intend.

Jesus contrasts the realm of the Spirit, which is eternal and heavenly, with the realm of flesh, which is earthly, weak and mortal (but not necessarily sinful). Both flesh and spirit constitute human existence, but the Spirit is life itself. The life that the Spirit gives is not under human control, not anthropocentric, but theocentric, as shown by the illustration of the wind blowing where it will. Both the Greek and the Hebrew words for wind also mean spirit and ¬breath.

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