A sermon for Trinity Sunday
Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29 or Canticle 2 or 13, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17
My last quarter college was in England. On one of my side trips, some of us went to Stonehenge. It was long enough ago so that you could still walk amongst the stones. It was a sunny summer English day; the air was cool, it was not very crowded, it was easy to slip off to the side and just be still. As the ambient sounds fade away serenely comes a mystical silence, a mystical being. There is: the ever so slight awareness of the knowable but indescribable; the barest presence of unfathomable power, unconceivable love; the presence of the Holy.
Many years later we are at the beach. All my siblings and spouses are quietly chatting living room. Our kids all fast asleep in the bunk house. Suddenly the room fills to the bright of noon day, a thunderous clap bang so loud our ears ring. Before peal of thunder can roll away the room filled with uncountable screaming kids; I’ve no idea where they all came from. After we calm the kids down, nestle them back in their bunk house beds, we sit on the porch and watch the massive thunderhead slowly move to the horizon line. It’s the most awesome display lightning I’ve ever seen. It’s reminiscent of the scene Isaiah finds himself in, being in the presence of such a mighty and glorious God that even the Seraphs cover their faces, in the presence of the Holy.
Many more years later, while I was in seminary, Ginny was taking voice lessons. Her homework always included singing the scales. Her teacher taught her to crawl under the piano and sing each note until the piano sings back to her. It’s a phenomena known as resonance. Each string is tuned to a certain vibration when the vibrations of the same sung note move past the sting it begins to vibrate, and Ginny hears the piano singing.
It’s not an uncommon occurrence, it is what allows a singer to shatter a glass. It only takes a little imagination to hear the creative voice of God continuously singing; and then finding ourselves in a heart place where we encounter continuous creative presence of God and our heart, our soul resonate and we know we are in the presence of the Holy. (Safford)
By now you know I’m not trying to explain the unexplainable. It took early church 350 years reach a well actually three explanations we’ve come to call The Trinity; you know them as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasius Creed. Truth be told it’s still not really settled. I’ve not been as poetic as Reginald Heber who wrote the words to Holy, Holy, Holy. Still the idea to explore Trinity from the perspective of relationships our relationship with the Divine the Trinity is the same. After all, that’s what we’re really interested in, or concerned about.
I was drawn to, the Sermon Brain Wave, panelists’ concept that all today’s reading reveal something of a relationship with God. They point out Isaiah reveals an unapproachable God, who is ever present to us. To his surprise, Isaiah lives after such an intimate encounter with God. Psalm 29 is about the majestic untamed nature of God. They spoke about the theology of the storm, we know its awesome power yet we are still somehow drawn to it. I forget who asks if Aslan dangerous and who answers “Yes, but he is good.” They note that in Romans Paul speaks to God’s desire to be in relationship with everyone. His use of the language of adoption breaks through cultural customs that exclude nearly everyone one from any kind of inheritance and thereby gives everyone an identity, a divine identity. They speak to how John explores: what it feels like to know God, ponder how God is known, and powerfully reveals God’s deepest desire to be known. (Jacobson, Lewis, and Skinner)
It is important to remember all this emphasis on Trinity is the early Christian community’s response to charges that they are worshiping many, well at least three, gods. Clusters of three gods are common in nearly every other religion from all over the word. Trinity is an idea that is not easily drawn from scripture. Nonetheless, it is a powerful concept that’s more important than holding adversaries at bay, it allowed the early church, allows us, to experience a fuller, broader, richer knowing of God. (Orr)
As we leave here it’s my prayer that we’ve known our Holy Lord in scripture; known our Holy Lord in the sacrament; known our Holy Lord in prayer, and known our Holy Lord in each other. No I have not counted wrong, it’s just that, as David Lose notes, we really don’t get close to knowing the Trinity until we know it really three in one plus one, who is each and every one of us. (Lose) As fascinating as the resonance between the revealed aspects of the divine may be, the resonance between ourselves, collectively and individually, and the divine is what transforms our lives. To resonate with the divine empowers us to sing Holy, Holy, Holy. To resonate with the divine lets us know we belong. To resonate with the divine, enables us to say “Here we are, send us.” To resonate with the divine, means we are on the right wavelength.
Epperly, ‘Bruce. The First Sunday after Pentecost – May 31, 2015. 31 5 2015. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/2015/05/pentecostsundaymay242015/>.
Jacobson, Rolf, Karoline Lewis and Matt Skinner. Sermon Brain Wave. 31 5 2015.
Lose, David. Trinity B: Three in One Plus One. 31 5 2015. <http://www.davidlose.net>.
Orr, Jame, ed. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. WORDsearch, 2004.
Safford, Timothy B. “Trinity Sunday (B) – 2009.” 31 5 2015. Sermons that Work.