Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian Church 955 Main St. (P.O. Box 222) Barboursville, West Virginia 25504 June 12, 2022.
Welcome and Announcements
*Call to Worship Carmina Gadelica, Vol. III
Bless to me, O God, each thing mine eye sees;
Bless to me, O God, each thing mine ear hears;
Bless to me, O God, each fragrance that goes to my nostrils;
the Three that seek my living soul.
Bless to me, O God, each taste that goes to my lips,
each note that goes to my song, each ray that guides my way,
each thing I pursue, each lure that tempts my will,
the zeal that seeks my living soul;
the Three that seek my heart;
the zeal that seeks my living soul;
the Three that seek my heart.
*Hymn 1 Holy, Holy, Holy
Prayer of Confession
God of grace, love, and communion,
we confess that we have failed to love you
with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength,
and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We ignore your commandments,
stray from your way, and follow other gods.
Have mercy on us.
Forgive our sin and raise us to new life
that we may serve you faithfully
and give honor to your holy name. Amen.
Hymn 698 Take, O Take Me As I Am
Assurance of Forgiveness Romans 8: 34; 2 Corinthians5:17
Hear the good news!
Who is in a position to condemn?
And Christ has died for us,
Christ rose for us,
Christ reigns in power for us,
Christ prays for us.
Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
The old life is gone;
a new life has begun.
Know you are forgiven and be at peace.
Old Testament Reading Proverbs 8: 1-31
Time With Our Young Disciples
Gospel Reading John 16:12-15
Five words that strike terror in the heart of every preacher: “Explain the Trinity to me.”
Good luck. We stammer around and try to compare God in three persons to things found in nature- like a three-leaved shamrock. Or to the three forms of water- ice, water, and vapor. I seriously tried to get a trinity illustration out of the robin family that took up residence on our windowsill, but I couldn’t really get any traction.
It should reassure me and us that generations of Christians have debated the right way to explain this doctrine. It arose around the time of the Council of Nicaea, which convened in the fourth century.
The trinity doctrine gets us in trouble with our Jewish and Muslim associates because we claim to worship one God as they do. Usually they are kind about it, but there have been some unnecessary insults hurled at those who do worship One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In doing some research this week, I ran across an essay by Alyce McKenzie, a contemporary theologian. It is a unique take on the subject. I hope it is helpful.
She writes, There is a Norwegian proverb that goes, “ All good things come in threes.” I’d agree with that as I have three children, all daughters.
Alyce says she has friends who are parents to a young child, Katie. Good name. Katie’s mom, dad and grandmother all shared in childcare for little Katie. This incidence happened when she was two.
Dad was preparing dinner. He left the oven door open while he turned around to retrieve a tray of chicken to be roasted. Then he heard the scream. Katie had come right behind him and put her hands directly on the inside of the oven door. It was right within her reach.
Of course he rushed her to the hospital, calling his wife along the way.
Katie lay quietly on a stretcher in the ER, the doctor applying medication and wrapping her burned hands. Katie kept her her eyes squeezed shut. Remarkably, she wasn’t crying. But she was mouthing over and over, these words: “Mommy, Daddy, Grandma. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma.” The Trinity according to Katie.
We can all take a page out of a two-year-old’s playbook. When we are in trouble, unable to affect the outcome of some situation, we would do well to put such a mantra to work. Mine is, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
A good and effective one would be “Come, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” You see, when we concentrate on something repetitive, we can control wild-running thoughts and fears. We invoke the presence of the God who never leaves us or forsakes us.
As Christians, the witness of Scripture is to the Power of Three, even though the term never appears in scripture. But we do have many many examples testifying of the function and nature of the Triune God.
Fortunately, three seems to be easiest number to remember. The Rule of Three is a principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.
Audiences and readers are more likely to consume information presented in threes, like plays that have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The same could be said of sermons. Some preachers like to organize their thoughts like that.
There is a Latin phrase, omne trium perfectum. Everything that comes in threes is perfection or complete.
Then there are the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Three Billy Goats Bluff.
We sit down to eat with a knife, fork, and spoon. We hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
We are threatened occasionally by lions, tigers, and bears. We buy a campaign hook, line, and sinker.
We affirm that each American is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have three branches of government to help us achieve that end.
Robert Frost said it this way, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.”
“It goes on.”
And since it does go on, we should recognize that we have made it here to face another day. Let us call on the Power of the Three as we live out this day: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, acknowledging with gratitude the One who created us, the one who saves us, and the One who guides us.
*Hymn 12 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
*Affirmation of Faith The Apostles’ Creed Glory to God p. 35
*Hymn 581 Gloria Patri
Sharing Our Joys and Concerns
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer
Presenting Our Tithes and Offerings
*Hymn 606 Doxology
*Prayer of Dedication
*Hymn 36 For the Fruit of All Creation
May God bless you this week,
from morning’s waking til night’s folding.
Bless your comings and goings,
the spinning of your labor and lives.
May the ones you meet, even those with whom you compete, be the better for it.
God bless this week.
God bless this journey.
God bless your work and your leisure. Amen.
William John Fitzgerald, A Contemporary Celtic Prayerbook, Chicago, IL, 1998.