The Trinity is a mystery. Mysteries defy words.
I thought for my sermon of only saying the words I said at the outset of today’s service, “We gather in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and then sitting down.
The Church Fathers and theologians down through the centuries have made the Trinity theologically complex and out of reach of all to understand. The level of complexity is not simplified by the fact that the word trinity is never mentioned once in scripture. And at the same time the Trinitarian relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is mentioned throughout scripture and throughout our Sunday worship.
The Trinity cannot be understood by our rational minds. We can get a glimpse of the Trinity only through our prayer. The following words from Fr. Richard Rohr help us get started with our reflection on the Trinity today.
God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside of us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.
These words point to the pastoral implications of the Trinity for our lives. God is all around us as the words of the refrain from the Christian album, Anointed beautifully convey in these words:
God is all around us Even when we feel we're all alone I can hear God whispering my name Telling me that I'm God’s own God is all around us Even when we feel all hope is gone God shows up in our lives in a variety of ways: God is for us
The Trinity is not just about our warm, sweet and private relationship with God. The pastoral implications of the Trinity go much further and deeper than God’s pastoral care for us.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in interdependent relationships with one another showing us the way to be in Godly love with one another.
Professor Gunter Blobel writes, “The principle of interdependence is the key to the existence of nature’s entire system. The best example we have of this are the cells in the human body. They connect with one another through mutual giving for the benefit of the entire body. Every cell receives what it needs to exists, and applies the rest of its strength toward the general body.”
The key to the pastoral practice of Trinitarian faith is through interdependent relationships.
Let’s spend a few minutes considering the way
We partner with God to be for others.
We stand alongside God to be with others.
We call upon the God within others.
There are many ways we participate in Trinitarian faith and interdependent relationships. One way to participate in Trinitarian relationships is to imitate the way our cells receive nourishment for their needs so that they may share their strength with others.
With these words I am aware of the healing ministries of our congregation.
We all share in the ministry of healing.
Among the most powerful liturgical experiences I have experienced are when our congregation gathers around one of their own, and prays for them.
I recall recently our gathering around Richard Witsell as he left our congregation for life in Arizona.
I recall when we stood around Russell Wygand as he left for his military service.
In these two blessings we were with God, alongside of God and calling the God within to protect and be with our members as they left for important journeys. Our blessings do not stop on the forehead of the ones we have blessed but rather through Richard and Russell we are part of them with God. We participate in the Trinitarian interdependence through our prayers for others.
Every week we also have prayer ministers who stand near the columbarium as Holy Communion is being distributed. The ministry of the Prayer Ministers is to be present to all of us, standing alongside of us and calling to healing the power of God in us.
I encourage you to participate in this ministry as members stand by you in your needs for prayer.
I encourage you to consider becoming a prayer minister.
I encourage all members who feel called to come forward on the third Sunday to be anointed by Deacon Aileen or myself.
I further encourage all members to gather around and extend their hands in prayer for members as they are anointed.
The power of the Holy Spirit goes out from us as we bless not as priest or lay but as the congregation of St. Francis.
This week I have invited Donna Shimpfky to talk with us about Heart and Soul.
Last week I talked about the way we are becoming a 7- days a week congregation. I spoke of our various activities on five days of the week.
Heart and Soul is worthy of our celebration. Donna brought Heart and Soul into being, starting with a vision, collaborating with others and bringing to fruition a ministry to this congregation.
I am grateful for a new vision, new ministry and the energy of the Spirit working within Donna and her other companions to successfully launch Heart and Soul. I encourage all of you to join Heart and Soul. I also encourage you to be open to new ministries and activities that the Spirit may be calling you to lead here at St. Francis.