“The Mystery Solved!”

A sermon/reflection for Trinity Sunday 2020

The readings for this Sunday are those of Trinity Sunday: 

  • Isaiah 40. 12-17, 27-31
  • Psalm 8
  • 2 Corinthians 13. 11-13
  • Matthew 28. 16-20

You might like to use the link below to find the above readings for Trinity Sunday, Year A, and click on any of the reading above that you wish to use:

http://www.katapi.org.uk/CommonWorship/CWLectionarySelV.php

Prayer 

Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you for the words you have given us today. We know they are words of life and salvation. Open our hearts Father, touch our souls, forgive us our sins especially our lack of faith, help us to respond to your word. May we know that you are our Lord and Saviour who promises us the power from on high, your Holy Spirit. May we experience in our hearts your love and your presence always.

Amen. 

Introduction

The feast of the Holy Trinity is among the biggest feasts in the Christian calendar and probably the most unique! It is like the summation of a number of feasts that we have celebrated from Christmas up to Easter and Pentecost. But it is also one of those feasts that puts us in a bit of dilemma. What is ‘Holy Trinity’ anyway?

A special feast!

Surprisingly, although the feast of the ‘Holy Trinity’ is quite an enigmatic one for many, and rightly so, for me personally, it is one of the most special and truly favourite feasts in the Christian calendar. It ticks many boxes in my theological view of the Christian faith and the world we live in.

The Holy Trinity reminds us of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God although three persons. It is the biggest of mysteries and we can never really understand it fully. However, it reminds us that God is Relationship, that He is Love, that He is Communion. It also reminds me of the Trinitarian aspect of life itself – God-Man-World, the divine-human-cosmic dimension of life! That is why I love this feast. I am convinced that life is meant for relationship, partnership, communion, love and the Holy Trinity is a fabulous model just for that sort of vision of life!

What is this mystery?

Fulton Sheed in his book “Theology and Sanity” says that a mystery is not something you do not understand at all. Instead, it is something that you do understand. The problem or marvel about it is that the more you understand the more there is to understand! So you cannot really exhaust a mystery! It is unfathomable! That is mind-boggling and spiritually exhilarating to say the least!

There is a story of Augustine’s effort to solve the mystery of the Trinity. The early Father of the Church, St. Augustine, studied the mystery of the Holy Trinity and although he was at his wits’ end, he still could not comprehend it. One day he was walking on the sandy beach by the ocean. There churned in his mind the mystery of the Holy Trinity. He was talking to himself: “One God, but three Persons. Three Persons–not three Gods but one God. What does it mean? How can it be explained? How can my mind take it in?”

And so, he was torturing his mind and beating his brains out, when he saw a little boy on the beach. He approached him to see what he was doing.

The child had dug a small hole in the sand. With his little hands he was carrying water from the ocean and was dumping it in the little hole. St. Augustine asked, “What are you doing, my child?”

The child replied, “I want to put all of the water of the ocean into this hole.” Once more St. Augustine asked, “But is it possible for all of the water of this great ocean to be contained in this little hole?”

And the child asked him in return, “If the water of the ocean cannot be contained in this little hole, then how can the Infinite Trinitarian God be contained in your mind?”

Quoted from www.gocanada.org/Catechism/cathholy.htm

We learn three important lessons from the Trinity

First, the mystery is broken in Jesus Christ: “God so loved the world” (John 3.16)

RSV translation: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’.

The New English Bible translation: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life.”

Christianity is all about a person…not about a mystery! It is all about Jesus Christ, God and Man…it is all about giving your life in to his hands and saying that big ‘amen’…’yes’….I know of persons whose lives have been totally changed when they said that ‘yes’, that ‘amen’ to the Lord….with a sincere and total heart….

Second, in the doctrine of the Trinity, we find our model for community.

As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit relate to one another, demonstrate love for each other, and work in concert to accomplish the purpose of God in the world, we get the idea of community.

This idea of the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit has been depicted by many Christian scholars using the term “perichoresis.” That’s a Greek word which means, literally, “dancing around.” I like the implications of God — Father, Son, and Spirit — in a divine dance, interacting with one another, expressing love for one another, and complementing the work each has to do.

Third, in the doctrine of the Trinity, we find our mission.

Jesus stated to the disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” Just as God the Father sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends us into the world to do the Father’s work, equipped and accompanied by the Spirit of God.

God’s work involves more than taking individuals to heaven when they die. God’s work is to bring in his kingdom on this earth, so that God’s creation can know the shalom of God — the peace that says all things are as God has intended them to be.

Whatever work we have to do in this world, we do from the standpoint of the Triune God — Father, Son and Spirit — who created, redeemed, and enabled us to do so.

Conclusion

So, let me encourage you today to think about the Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But we can’t stop at just thinking about a theological concept. As followers of Jesus, we are loved by the Father, and led by the Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are at work in our lives, in the life of this church, and in the life of this world.

As we live in new awareness of God in all God’s expressions as Father, Son, and Spirit, our spiritual lives will deepen, our vision of God’s kingdom will expand, and the work that God has chosen for us will take on a new vitality and urgency.

Prayer

A Prayer you can say now:

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for becoming one of us. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you for rising from the dead to give me hope and the gift of eternal life. I repent of my sins and invite you into heart and life as my Lord and Saviour. Please grant me your Holy Spirit so that I may know you, love you and follow you every day of my life.

Amen.

[ST Mattapally]

 

in our thoughts and prayers

 

Some Prayers/ Intercessions for Trinity Sunday 2020

As services are now suspended in churches, do use/ share these intercessions at home or on line.

“Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian.
If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected,
it will wither and die.”

Jesus is alive.
Love has won the victory over evil and death.

My friends, let us gather ourselves in silence as we give thanks to the Lord, whose love has no end, as we with confidence and faith bring very humbly bring forward our prayers and petitions to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

That the Church in this country may rediscover her origins in the Holy Spirit, that the Queen as governor of the Church and head of the government may be blessed by God’s Holy Spirit (pause for silent prayer);

That God may help the leaders of the Churches especially our archbishops Justin and John, our diocesan Bishop Christopher and area bishops David and Nicholas, the Assistant Bishops and all the priests, deacons, readers and authorised lay ministers (pause for silent prayer);

That politicians may work for the common good at all levels and that the present Covid-19 crisis and social problems be resolved adequately peacefully for the good of the country and continent (pause for silent prayer);

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

That the crisis in the US after the death of George Floyd be resolved speedily, that good sense and respect and dignity of life lead to a permanent solution after this crisis, that humanity as a whole may reassert the fundamental truth about the uniqueness and equality of every human being no matter what colour, race, language, place they belong to, that we are all children of the same Heavenly Father as his sons and daughters, that we all have the same life blood flowing in our veins, that we all come from God, live in God and go back to God (pause for silent prayer);

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

That young people revising for university exams during this difficult time may seek  God’s blessings (pause for silent prayer).

That all those baptised in the name of the Trinity may grow in faith (pause for silent prayer).

That Christians suffering for their faith may have courage (pause for silent prayer).

That fathers — and all who take a father’s role — may be blessed on this Father’s Day (pause for silent prayer).  

That migrants, refugees and the homeless may be valued as fellow human beings and given support and care (pause for silent prayer) 

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

That all believers, especially in our Springline Parish, may have life and have it to the full through the power of Jesus,  

that we may support one another and care for each other as we follow Jesus Christ day in and day out, especially during this time of lockdown,

that those who doubt may be convinced by the strong faith of Christians,

that any divisions in our communities may be overcome,

that those in need may experience friendship and practical care (pause for silent prayer);

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Let us pause a moment, become aware of our breathing, relax in the presence of the Lord and humbly tell him what is deepest in our hearts for he knows us, loves us and forgives us (pause for silent prayer);

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

 God our strength, the resurrection of Jesus renews our hope: listen to our humble petitions and help us as we trust you to answer our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(after a silent, slightly longer pause …)

Father,
we feel loved,
we feel forgiven,
we feel saved.
Thank you for Jesus Christ your Son
who died for us on the cross
and rose again from the dead
and who offers us
true peace and true hope.
Help us to hold on to him
and to follow him
the way, the truth and the life.

Amen.                                                                                               

[ST Mattapally]