Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian Church 955 Main St. (P.O. Box 222) Barboursville, West Virginia 25504 May 30, 2021. Trinity Sunday.
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 Morning Has Broken Glory to God 664
Old Testament Reading Genesis 1:1-2:4 Page
Time With Our Young Disciples
Gospel Reading Matthew 28:16-20 Page
Today is Trinity Sunday. If you think of the church year as the face of a clock, we are right about 6:00. Starting off the church year with Advent, at the end of November, we have moved through Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. And now we come to Trinity Sunday. We are half-way through the cycle of church seasons.
Next week, we begin a long stretch of time- Kingdomtide, also called Ordinary Time. It is called Ordinary Time, not because it is insignificant, but because it refers to the orderly counting of weeks that ends on Christ the King Sunday, or 11:59 on our clock, the last Sunday of the liturgical year. From now until then, our objective is to follow the Great Commission, going into all the world, making disciples, building the kingdom of God.
Trinity Sunday calls us to celebrate God in three persons: God, the Father, or Creator, God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, and God, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, also called the “Paraclete.”
The doctrine of the Trinity is among the most difficult concepts to explain. Many a well-meaning Christian has been called out or even condemned as a heretic over the proper way to explain the Trinity. Which is a good reason why I won’t attempt to define it, but will simply suggest that we understand the three natures of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the Holy Other, existing together eternally.
The term “Trinity” does not appear in Scripture. The doctrine took shape in the early Church as it began to discern, to witness, to understand God’s relationship to human beings, to you and to me.
Today’s Old Testament text directs our attention to the creation story, the work of God, accomplished in the span of six days, as described by the author of Genesis. Sometimes, with the prospect of a long, cold winter ahead of us, I’ve wished we lived in a warmer, less harsh, climate. But, then a beautiful Christmas Eve snowfall blankets everything, as it did this year, and once again I am reminded of how much I enjoy each season in its turn, and how our lives crave a sense of order.
Ed went out to run some errands Wednesday night. I received a text from him immediately that directed me outside to see a remarkable sight: against a blue and purple sky, was a circular fuchsia rainbow. Incredible. It left me in awe of a sky that is always changing, with colors in dynamic shades and combinations. God surprises us in new and fresh ways all the time. God’s wonders are new every morning and sure as the sunrise. In nearly 65 years, this was the first circular rainbow I had ever seen. It was awesome.
All of nature has its genesis in the mind of God. And you and I can’t even raise a blade of grass without the mind of God to give it form and function and life.
Did you notice as we read this text, that when God completes his work each day, God leans back and considers the results, and then pronounces it “good?” The day God created man and woman is declared “very good.”
When I preached from this text last year on Trinity Sunday, there was a deep adversarial spirit throughout the country. Tremendous unrest and unspeakable violence raged through the land. Tempers rose in public, in private, and even around our dinner tables. I don’t know about you, but, I wondered many times how we could have fallen so far from what God had pronounced “good.”
As the months wore on, the divisions became chasms, communication was strained to the breaking point. The longer the conflict went, the more hurtful the accusations, the more destructive the actions.
A person who serves in a high public office was interviewed during the chaotic summer months. She wanted to encourage the American people to be hopeful. She is a woman of Christian faith who said that this world God created is still good, very good. That has not changed. God still creates. God still redeems. God still comforts and sustains. In her opinion, we would emerge from these troubled times, hopefully as better citizens, better caretakers of one another.
The follow-up question came swiftly: where do we find this hope?
I hope to never forget her answer: Hope is found where it always is, between faith and charity, or love. We recall this truth from the love chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:.
“Faith, hope, love abide, these three. But the greatest of these is love.”
So, with faith as our sure foundation, and acts of love our goal, how did we start to turn this around?
The Rev. Stephen Bryant, of the Upper Room Ministries, offers this thought:
“The call of Christ leads us to share in his life, his suffering, and his ministry, to do each day what he would do in our place. And he asks the questions we are all asking, “Where do we begin? What would Jesus do in our place?”
Bryant recommended three practices:
And…it’s working! Look around at the changes we’ve made since March of last year. Note the changes we’ve made since the first Sunday of April this year. We are on our way.
A year ago, we were watching our grandson, Tad, while his parents moved from Charlotte to Raleigh, NC. He was so easy to entertain. He would stand at our patio doors, inside or out, watching for the wildlife to show up. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, and an occasional blue-tailed lizard.
For hours, it seemed, he would watch in anticipation, jumping and bouncing, and calling to them, obviously trying to establish some form of communication. Waving at them, hoping to coax them to come just a little closer. If we weren’t nearby, he would run and urge us to come quick so we could witness with him the wonder of God’s good creation. Pure delight.
We have a lot to learn from children. Tad seemed to know instinctively where hope was. Right there between faith and love. And as a result, he delighted at the appearance of creatures unlike himself, who navigated the world unlike he does. Creatures who will never speak his language. But, with whom he shared his bread, the warm sun, the cool, dewey grass of the morning.
This summer, Tad is learning new things about this good creation. He can ride a two-wheeler. He can read some words. He has much more mastery over his body and is learning that actions and attitudes have consequences.
But one thing hasn’t changed: he can always go to Mommy or Daddy for help, for comfort, for solace, for love.
One thing has not changed for us: we can always turn to God, whom Jesus called Father, for our needs as well. And, it is good. It is very good.
*Affirmation of Faith The Apostles’ Creed Glory to God p. 35
*Gloria Patri Glory to God 581
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer
Presenting Our Tithes and Offerings
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.