le='margin:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt'>I speak to you in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – Amen
Today is Trinity Sunday – it is called Trinity Sunday because it is the first Sunday after Pentecost
Pentecost is 50 days after Easter and is the birth of the church – the moment which Jesus promised to His disciples that would come – come by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
Jesus Said in John 15:/ 26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
We understand it as Trinity Sunday because we now have, manifested, the fullness of God
The three persons of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
We, of course, know that God is eternal and can see representations of the Trinity through-out the Old and New Testaments
But in a practical way we understand the giving of the Holy Spirit… birthing, empowering and equipping the church from after Pentecost - onwards
Trinity Sunday is the only Sunday in the entire Christian Calendar which celebrates a doctrine
And many would say that there is reason that only one doctrine is celebrated
Because nobody wants to hear a sermon about a doctrine… mistake made once, not to be repeated
A doctrine by its nature is an abstraction – never referenced directly in scripture
Others still, would state that the Trinity is the most unattainable doctrine of them all
Over history there have been more heretical teaching on the Trinity than just about anything else – consider this list:
Arianism, Semi-Arianism, Modalism, Gnosticism, Binitarianism, Unitarianism, Docetism, Sabellianism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, and Monophysitism
And those are just the ones that I can pronounce and explain
And so… I have no intention to preach on the Trinity … not, at least as a doctrine
But I will share with you an understanding of how God presents Himself to us – in the three persons of God … How God relates to us… that it is the very thing that separates Christianity from all other religions
Caricature artists set up their easels in public places and draw pictures of people who are willing to pay a modest price for a humorous image of themselves.
Their drawings amuse us because they exaggerate one or more of our physical features in a way that is recognizable but funny.
Caricatures of God, on the other hand, are not funny.
Exaggerating one of His attributes presents a distorted view that people easily dismiss.
Like a caricature, a distorted view of God is not taken seriously.
Those who see God portrayed only as an angry and demanding judge are easily lured away by someone who emphasizes mercy.
Those who see God as a kind-hearted grandfather will reject /that/ image when they need justice.
Those who see God as an intellectual idea rather than a living, loving being - eventually find other ideas more appealing.
Those who see God as a best friend often leave Him behind when they find human friends who are more to their liking.
God declares Himself to be merciful and gracious, but also just in punishing the guilty
As we put our faith into action, we need to avoid portraying God as having only our favorite attributes.
We must worship all of God, not just what we like.****
Because we believe in a Trinitarian God, we can not believe in a God that is distant, aloof – apart from us
We have a God that created us – that came as one of us – knows what it means to be human –
We have a God that is with us… always… /to the end of the age/
Our God is not *merely* some master engineer that has *only* set His creation in motion, like some master watch maker and now observes us from a distance…
Jesus comforted the disciples… and us… by saying /“//Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?
Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
In the beginning, God walked with us in the cool of the evening
– God lived as we live
– was born of a women
– raised from infancy
– fulfilled His own words spoken by the prophets
– was the solution to our self-determined falleness
/“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God died for each and every one that chooses to believe
God also made sure we understood HIS victory over death, by appearing to hundreds of us
…We have a God that is intimate
/You have received a spirit of adoption.
When we cry, “Abba!
Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit *that we are children of God*, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Suffering is not evidence of the absence of God, as some might suggest
BUT of God living in the conflict zone … *right alongside us*
Jesus instructed and declared:/ “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)/
God Father, Son, Holy Spirit are the manifestation of God’s love
How we understand how God loves – and in the process, we meet God
Have you ever wanted to learn fly-fishing?
An online video may be all right, but the mentoring of a seasoned angler would be better.
If you wish to be fluent in a new language, an immersion program is a good idea.
Generally, the closer you get to the source of knowledge the more wisdom you receive.
There comes a point in the visit from Nicodemus, that we had read today, when Jesus turns to us.
He has "insider information" for the entire world to hear:
If you want to know God, watch the Son.
You can't get any closer to the source.
As Jesus was "raised up," he revealed the Father's incredible love for an estranged creation.
What creativity and power: the death of One… brings new life for all!
Do you hear how the Spirit beckons?
Christ is the source of forgiveness and love.
We are called to embody hope-filled living for others.
Jesus said/ “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18 -20)/
God is indeed imminent – closer to us than we could ever fully realize…
God is also creator of everything that ever was… and ever will be – God transcends all time and all understanding
Our passage from Isaiah today conveys a glimpse into the transcendence of God
We see the heavenly angels completely afraid of the presence of God
As one scholar as said - they are covering their faces and feet and repeatedly saying Holy, Holy, Holy
It is like a little child plugging his fingers in his ears and senselessly making noise to drown out the all other sound
And in doing so, as some form of protection – if you can’t see or hear, you have created some form of force-field
Isaiah sees God – but only the lowest fold of God’s robes – and he understands his humility
Standing in the holy sanctuary, the narrator has a vision which tells something about the Holy One and also about the narrator.
God's presence is so large, the narrator says, the hem of the Lord's robe alone fills the temple space… - This is vastness.
Strange but faithful creatures envelop the throne.
Smoke obscures the whole scene.
We are used to the images of fire and smoke, cloud and height being associated with God.
It is all here.
And, in comparison with that grandeur, we see ourselves, along with the narrator, as puny and inadequate.
But God's power to cleanse and make whole is ready to do its work.
Faced with ultimate majesty, the narrator is brought to a realization about his own lack.
He has "unclean lips" which signifies his inability to stand before the Holy One.
The purity codes of the ancients are foremost in his thought.