Trinity Sunday Homly By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, G0ldsboro, NC, 22 May 2016
RCL Year C Pentecost 1: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 ; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
Jesus shows us the importance of timing & self-restraint in our interactions. In our Gospel, we hear a man who is steadfast, brave, valiant, strong, determined.
Jesus says there is a time to say things & a time to refrain. His compassion, his love for the disciples, his wisdom about human interactions, his steadfastness lead him to refrain from speaking hard truth at this time.
How do we know the time to speak,
the time to act,
the time to be still?
We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us. We receive this gift from the love that out pours on us from the Holy Trinity, the Mystery that is the one God we follow. We know the “three distinct personal expressions of the one, eternally rich God who is love...”
as Daniel Migliore describes in his book,
Faith Seeking Understanding.1
God's outpouring love challenges us, invites us to live deeper into this Mystery, to trust deeply this Mystery that we proclaim in our creeds, this Mystery that loves all of creation, all of us, each of us.
"The doctrine of the Trinity is to explain the range & variety of divine action,"2 says priest, author & scholar Ian Markham, who serves as Dean & President of Virginia Theological Seminary.
Notice: Our Creeds & Scriptures speak of God “concretely & specifically” rather than generally & indefinitely.3 We “...affirm (our) faith in God as sovereign Lord of all creation who has done a new & gracious work in Jesus... & who continues to be active in the world through the power of the Spirit.”4
This Holy Trinity, this Mystery nourishes us in many ways. Foods that nourish us offer glimpses into the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Think of water: We experience as it as flowing liquid, solid ice, hot steam.
Think of bread: We experience its taste, texture, nourishment.
Think of an egg, as the Sermons4kids website suggests5:We see this hard-boiled egg's brown shell. We know is has an egg white. Delve deeper to experience the yellow yolk.
We don't have to know all about how water, bread & eggs nourish us for us to be nourished by them. Babies are nourished without any understanding of how these elements bless their bodies.
The Holy Trinity generously, freely fills us with love, nourishes us & sends us wisdom as a gift. Like any gift, we can accept it, reject it, ignore it. We are wise to embrace God's deep love & God's generous gift of wisdom.
How like wisdom are we [that we hear in our lesson from Proverbs]?
How do we delight in God as God works in our lives?
How often do we notice:
God has a great deal of confidence in us!
We see the confidence Jesus has in the positive difference we can make as he dies for us on the cross & startles us with his resurrection & ascension. We see the confidence the Holy Trinity has in the positive difference we can make individually & together by the power we have with the Holy Spirit active in our lives.
Beloved Brothers & Sisters, God's Love, God's Holy Spirit can embolden us – together & individually – to live boldly, to pray boldly, to proclaim boldly the Good News:
God loves you. No exceptions. All are welcome.
The Holy Trinity shows us – individually & together – the various aspects of life that call us to act or to refrain from acting, to pray specifically, to pray without our agenda, to be open to God's will as we wait & trust God's timing.
As we grow in grace, trusting God & each other, trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we grow away from being doubtful & grow into Jesus' boldness. We see in Jesus what our own Liz Meador describes in her column “Doughty & enduring”:
The word “doughty” has been in our vocabulary since the year 1030!6 Different from the word “doubtful”, doughty means “steadfast, brave, valiant,” & my dictionary adds “strong, determined”7.
This sounds like an apt description of the Body of Christ that I know as St. Francis Parish. This Body of Christ is steadfast, brave, valiant, strong, determined.
This Body of Christ is one way the Holy Trinity increases the love the world needs now.
Cunningham, David S. “What Do We Mean By God?” Essentials of Christian Theology. ED: William Placher. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. 2003.
Hughes, Robert Davis III. Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life. New York: Continuum. 2008.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Juarez, Laurie. Charles Kirkpatrick. “The Mystery of the Trinity”. Accessed: 19 May 2016. http://www.sermons4kids.com/mystery_of_the_trinity.htm
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doughty Accessed: 20 May 2016.
Markham, Ian S. Understanding Christian Doctrine. Malden, ME: Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
Meadors, Liz. “Language matters: Doughty and enduring”. Goldsboro News-Argus. 8 May 2016.
Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2004.
Placher, William. Editor. Essentials of Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. 2003.
The New American Bible for Catholics. South Bend: Greenlawn Press. 1986.
Voyles, Robert J. Restoring Hope: Appreciative Strategies to Resolve Grief and Resentment. Hillsboro, OR: The Appreciative Way. 2010. www.appreciativeway.com.
1 Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding. P. 69.
2 Markham, Ian S. Understanding Christian Doctrine. P. 84.
3 Ibid. Migliore. P. 66.
4 Ibid. P. 66.
5 Juarez, Laurie. Charles Kirkpatrick. “The Mystery of the Trinity”. Accessed: 19 May 2016. http://www.sermons4kids.com/mystery_of_the_trinity.htm
6 Meadors, Liz. “Language matters: Doughty and enduring”. Goldsboro News-Argus. 8 May 2016. P. 17A.