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The Trinity: Last Sunday's Sermon




The Readings



The Epistle
Romans 5:1-5


Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The Gospel
John 16:12-15


Jesus said to the disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

The Sermon

We are Trinitarians. What does that mean? Basically it means we believe in one God with three divine persons, Can any of you understand how that can be? How can the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all be one thing. For me it is really impossible to wrap my head around. Most of the time I struggle with just running my computer, let alone figuring out the whole God thing. How could I begin to understand someone who runs our planet, the solar system, this galaxy and a hundred billion other galaxies, let alone other universes.

So....for me I have to keep it simple and very personal. I think that's the way God wants it to be. I just received something from Episcopal relief and development. At the very beginning of the letter was a reminder that we are the hands and feet of Christ. That seems like a good place to start. Jesus taught us in the gospels how we should treat each other and so many other things. We are to lead our own lives by the example he has set. And, since He is no longer physically here it is our task to carry on his mission. As the hands and feet of Christ we are to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and those in prison. I get that but Jesus told us something else and it is brought out in today's reading.

He told his disciples that there was much more they needed to learn and that the advocate would come to teach them and guide them along their way. I do not believe the Holy Spirit was there only for that inner circle of Jesus' apostles. The Holy Spirit is there for you and me as well. We just have to listen to what the spirit is saying to us. We have to pay attention and not let our own egos get in the way of the direction the Holy Spirit is sending us. The operative word when it comes to the Holy Spirit is to listen. The Holy Spirit doesn't just speak to us in words. The Holy Spirit speaks to our own spirits. This speech reaches us beyond even cognitive thought. The spirit may speak to in times of deep meditative prayer or at other times. The spirit moves us in mysterious ways and we just have to be willing to be led.

Where does the Father come in. This is the tough one. Just as I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of a Trinity, I do not understand the magnitude of an omnipotent God the Father. What I do believe is that when I pray to the Father, the Father listens. I have a cousin who once told me she didn't like to pray to God for help in sorting out all the troubling things in her life. He was much too busy for someone as insignificant as her. I was truly surprised by her logic. God is watching over everything, EVERYTHING. If God is truly omnipotent, he has time to listen to her and to me and to you.

I ask that you keep the trinity in your lives and remember that you are being embraced and guided by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Amen

May you have a holy and blessed week!



Hope

Sherry and I recently made a trip to Hope...literally.  Our grandson, Riley, graduated from high school in Hope, Arkansas and we wanted to be there for it.  I have to say I was very impressed with the turnout for the graduation ceremony.  There were 173 graduates and I would guess about two thousand witnessing their graduation.  We got there half an hour early and we finally found seats on the third floor balcony.

Sunday we worshiped at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Hope.  It is a beautiful  small church in the center of town with a very friendly, warm congregation.  I have been looking forward to visiting this church since I first saw it seventeen years ago.  Here are some pictures.


Return from retreat


I just returned from a clergy retreat at the Martyrs Retreat Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  There was lots of time for prayer and reflection.  We also had a workshop from Rev. Dr. Bill Kondrath.  It was titled "Understanding and Appreciating Differences in Order to Have Difficult and Productive Conversations." I think that is code for teaching people to get along at vestry meetings.  Apparently that can  be a problem.  The workshop was very similar to what I had taught as a classroom teacher for several decades but it was good to revisit the information.  I think I will build some of it into my sermon tomorrow.

Peace,
Father Fred