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2010 5 30, Trinity Sunday

2010 5 30, Trinity Sunday

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Christ ChurchEureka CaliforniaFirst Sunday after PentecostTrinity SundayProverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Canticle 13, Romans 5:1-5John 16:12-15May 30, 2010The Rev. Ron W. Griffin“A Spirit Shaped Community”
A
lmighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by theconfession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the powerof your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship,and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Sonand the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
John 16:12-15
J
esus said to the disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bearthem now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he willnot speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you thethings that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare itto you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mineand declare it to you."G ood Morning!Since the 5
th
Sunday of Easter we have been looking at different sections of theFarewell discourse of Jesus as our Gospel readings. And nowhere in the gospels doesJesus talk as much about the Holy Spirit as here in John 16, so it’s not surprising that thisis one of the texts to help us try and understand the Doctrine of the Trinity. Today isTrinity Sunday, an important service in the yearly cycle of the 7 primary churches worshipevents. Christmas, Easter, the Epiphany, the Ascension, The Day of Pentecost and AllSaints, all mark major turning points in the gospel story and all recall historic events.
 
except today’s emphasis, because today we are asked to consider one of the great doctrinesf our faith, the Trinity.o The Trinity is known my many names, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Father, Son,and Holy Spirit. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Presence, wisdom, and power. Womb of life, word in flesh, and brooding spirit. Almighty God, incarnate word, holy comforter.Primordial nature, consequent nature, and superjective nature.In last weeks message I referenced the late second century Bishop of AntiochTheophilus writing to a friend in “
Three books of Autolycus”
persuading him of the truthof Christianity, and the first author to us the term the Trinity. He framed the trinity as God,God’s Word, and God’s wisdom. Augustine another early and influential Bishop usedthese expressions, “the Lover,” the Loved,” and “the Love that unites the Lover and theLoved.” These phrases and others are used to try to help us identify with the intent andemotion in this multi faceted Divine relationship and give us understanding in ourconnection we as the created have with the creator.There is a sense in which the Christian faith is simple enough for any child tounderstand. But with the Doctrine of the Trinity there are nuances and subtleties and evenhard counterintuitive truths that require a certain soulful stamina to grasp. And if you knowanything about church history, you know that the Trinity has been one of the thorniestthickets, one of the trickiest subjects in the history of Christianity. As any Jehovah’sWitness and a number of other faith expressions will readily tell you, the word “Trinity”appears nowhere in the Bible. And the New Testament doesn’t offer anything approachinga systematic presentation of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as it has come to us fromthe tradition of the Church via Nicea and Chalcedon councils. It is a puzzle why God needthree names anyway? Or how does God inhabit three forms? Or how can God the Father behis own Son? And If Jesus is God, then whom is he talking to?The Trinity has been described like a three leafed clover, like H2O, water, ice,steam, as a triangle, and like a circle. Even though these illustrations fall short thedescriptive language can be helpful, but I know I’m not the only one who sometimes findsthe doctrine illusive.Fortunately one of the gifts of our faith tradition as Anglicans is our willingness toaccept the mystery found in faith and in our limited human capacity to grasp the magnitudeof God. Not everything
can be
explained, though we keep looking for new ways to connectto truth. We want help finding the mystery, embracing that mystery, not trying to explainthe mystery out of it." And some things are just beyond our knowing. That’s really hopefulfor me, hopefully for you when it come to The Doctrine of the Trinity.The English writer, theologian and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis once said that the mostfrequently spoken word in heaven would be, "OH." As in “Oh, now I see what God's planwas." Or, "Oh, now I see the reason for the trial I went through" or "Oh, now Iunderstand."The short gospel passage this morning is highlighting the activity of the Holy Spiritin advancing the ministry of Jesus, who is one with God. John’s gospel today is
 
emphasizing several key attributes. The unity of the three, how each so freely contributesto the further glory of the other two in definitive selfless sharing, and that aSpirit Shaped community will be receptive to Spirit guided growth and life.Remember in last weeks gospel the Spirit’s work was described as helping thedisciples remember what Jesus had already taught them. In today’s text the promise is thatthe Spirit will offer new information for spiritual growth, and life.The word “truth” as it translated in today’s text isn’t the equivalent of facts but as areference to Jesus who is “the truth extending through the Holy Spirit” Every Christiancommunity from the first, to us and those beyond us have gone or will go through periodswhere we are grasping for the “truth”. And so Jesus words for us today encourage us to beopen to fresh encounters in the revelation of Jesus, the truth. And that by being open wewill become more a Spirit Shaped community will be more receptive to Spirit guidedgrowth.To be a Spirit Shaped Community is not only in remembering what we havelearned from the tradition of the past, but also in the revelation of new ways to embraceSpirit Guided Growth through the Words of Jesus today.At the beginning of the service today I said, “Blessed be God: Father, Son, andHoly Spirit. At the close of Communion today I will at the blessing say, “The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with youfor ever. A physical action often accompanies those words. It is the sign of the Cross.For some it is identified as a Roman Catholic tradition. For some it is in the groupof worship actions like kneeling or bowing before you sit down, only in a service and onlyat certain times. So depending on your faith background, you may or may not make thesign of the cross.Bert Ghezzi’s book the "Sign of the Cross: Recovering the Power of the AncientPrayer" writes about this ancient action. By the year 200 in Africa, an early leader in theChristian movement Tertullian wrote saying "We Christians wear out our foreheads withthe sign of the cross". St. Basil in the fourth century said that Christians learned the signfrom the time of the apostles and that it was administered in baptisms. “We have beengiven a new life in Christ, and marked as Christ’s own forever.” Some scholars interpretSt. Paul's saying that he bears the marks of Christ on his body, in (Galatians 6:17), as hisreferring to the sign of the cross. And today we are reminded the sign of the cross, is oftenused in connection to the Trinity as a mini version of the creed —belief in the Father, andn the Son and in the Holy Spirit.i In the movie “About Schmidt” starring Jack Nicholson it tells about one man's"frightful and lifelong loneliness." Warren Schmidt is alone, even when he's together withhis wife. Right after Warren’s retirement his wife dies unexpectedly. And his daughterlives far away and wants nothing to do with him.

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