Trinity Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Title:Trinity Sunday, June 16, 2019

 Trinity Sunday, June 16, 2019 (full size gallery)

Today is the Bishop’s Visitation, Reception of two, the conclusion of our study of First Corinthians with an Agape Meal, Trinity Sunday and Father’s day. Whew! We had 55 at the service on a sunny day with moderate but increasing temperatures. The week had been noted for cooler temperatures. The day lilies were out in the graveyard. We didn’t forget our fathers. Our Father’s day prayer is here.

At 10am we experienced an agape meal with Bishop Ihloff playing Paul in our “home church” in Corinth, concluding our study of First Corinthians. We prepared challenging questions for him. The agape meal is known as a Lovefeast and was originally part of the Eucharist in the early church but split off by 250AD. These foods are typical of the food that would have been eaten by the Corinthians -Grapes, dried fruit of various sorts, dates, olives, green peas and basil, hummus, pita bread, lentils, mint, goat cheese]. For more details, pictures and videos.

The service was noted for the music.

The prelude was “Holy Ground” an arrangement by Geron Davis and is based on two hymn tunes, one old and one contemporary: (1) “Holy Ground,” hymn tune, “Beatty,” composed in 1982 by Christopher Beatty; and (2) “Holy, Holy, Holy,” hymn tune “Nicaea,” composed in 1861 by John Bacchus Dykes, using the 1826 text by Reginald Heber. Beatty relates the origin of the words – ” I was a young pastor in Southern California on vacation with my wife, Carole, in San Diego. As was my practice I started my day with some Scripture reading, singing and exploring song ideas. Exodus 3:5 jumped out at me as having a profound meaning, not just for Moses, but for us all. “Do not come any closer,” God told Moses. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” Two things immediately hit me: First, we should approach the Lord with deliberate preparation; Second, because He is everywhere we go, we can always expect a holy ground experience.”

We received into the Episcopal Church Morgan Key and John Hess. There was a reception in the Parish House for them and the Bishop. The Bishop not only did a sermon but also a children’s sermon when he explained his attire. The sermon concentrated on the role of the holy spirit which he saw as a female entity, standing beside us.

Trinity Sunday follows Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit gives birth to the Church. Told in the Acts of Apostles, it is a reminder of how this event is part of the unfolding story of the Gospel as Luke tells it – it is not isolated from the Gospel but is integral to it: the inspiration of the Spirit, the incarnated word in Christ and the loving kindness of God the Father. The ancient Orthodox icon, “the Trinity of Rublev”, depicts the persons of the Trinity in communion with one another: the oneness of God is not merely transcendent, a God distant and remote from all human grasping, but is one in intimate relationship with humanity and the whole of creation.

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
The first reading reminds us of the holiness and wisdom of God’s personal mystery

The author personifies wisdom as a woman, focusing on her participation in creation. There was no time when God’s wisdom did not exist. This poetic description offers a way to understand Jesus as the “wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30), through whom “all things came into being” (John 1:1-3) at creation. Wisdom’s main joy is found among humans, for they are the crown of God’s creation.

Psalm 8
The psalm for today serves as a meditation on the majesty of God, who is both transcendent yet whose presence is all around, evidenced in God’s creative and providential power. All creation points to the majesty of God – the heavens, the stars, all life, and human beings can only marvel at this God whose majesty is beyond all telling. An important part of Trinity Sunday is the praise of the majesty of God, expressed in many of the traditional hymns associated with this Sunday. But why should this God, so majestic, so splendid, be concerned with mere mortals? Yet this God who has created the universe also has an intimate care for creation, from the smallest part to the greatest and most breathtaking of natural wonders! Just as God cares for the flowers of the field, and the sparrows of the air (Luke 12:22-28), so this love and care extends to all of God’s creation. The praise of God is therefore the immediate response of every human being “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (the Westminster Shorter Catechism).

Romans 5:1-5
Paul uses two equivalent metaphors to describe God’s saving action in Christ: justification, the ending of a legal dispute, and reconciliation, the termination of a state of enmity. Christ’s sacrifice reveals God’s justifying, reconciling love for us.

The work of salvation begun in Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection is now operative through the Holy Spirit. Whereas justification marks the beginning of this process, salvation marks its future completion. We enter more fully into salvation by participating in Christ’s risen life and by anticipating a share in God’s glory

We are both drawn close to the transcendent God, through being justified through faith, and compelled to live in the world whatever challenges might befall us. We are reminded again of the post-Pentecostal context of the Church’s place in the world; for “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”. This life into which we are drawn is also relational – we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (v.1) and God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit – we are never called to act alone, and just as in the ancient Orthodox icon “the Trinity of Rublev”, the persons of the Trinity are depicted as being in communion with one another, so too our mission in the world is undertaken in communion with one another and with God.

John 16:12-15
In Chapter 14 of John’s Gospel, Philip asks, “show us the Father” and Jesus tells them that those who have seen Him have seen the Father also. These chapters are often referred to as the “farewell discourse”, where Jesus prepares His disciples for all that will befall Him on Good Friday and in chapter 16 we turn to the work of the Spirit. Jesus warns the disciples of his impending death and of persecution to come. Yet his death is described as a return home to the Father. Thus he tells them that it is to their advantage, for only then can he send them the Spirit.

The word for “spirit” here is the Greek word for “advocate” that has implications beyond the disciples themselves and by implication, the Church. The advocate is the one who pleads the case of the disciples in the world and this then places the work of the Holy Spirit within the context of mission.

This Sunday follows immediately on from Pentecost, and it is no accident that Trinity Sunday is set within the context of the Church’s vocation for mission in the world. As Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure from the world, His is the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who will guide them into truth. When the disciples speak, they are not speaking alone, for they speak also with the Spirit, a reminder that when we engage in mission in the world, when we work for justice and for peace, we are not merely acting out of human impulse but participating in the work of God, who is Creator, Son and Holy Spirit.