Friday, June 5, 2015

Trinity Sunday 2015: Invitation to Community


Adam and Andre

It’s Trinity Sunday. Adam is back for one more Sunday and Andre has arrived, ready to sing.  We open our service by singing Santo, santo santo. Holy, holy.holy in Spanish.
Then the traditional Holy, Holy Holy. We read the classic Isaiah passage 6: 1-8 and then Psalm 29:1-11, with the response: Glory, glory, glory! Our gospel lesson is John3: 1-17,  the story of Nicodemus which we do as a readers’ theatre.

The first real sermon I ever preached was 40 years ago on Trinity Sunday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in New Haven, Connecticut. I had just graduated from Yale Divinity School. I wish I could remember what I said back then. I just remember the morning and how it felt.

This is one of those Sundays that lead us into a new season, that deal with a theological concept, not an event, like Christ the King. And today, I’m less concerned with theological concepts than being.

Trinity Sunday is an invitation to community. As we ponder a God whose three persons are at the same time one, let’s also reflect on how our many varied persons are at the same time part of a whole.

In all our passages, we are listening for a voice. All our passages speak of calling and all our passages speak of sending. Isaiah’s very specific reference, in the year King Uzziah died,  is specific, is right now. And so we think of our right now: in the year of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and black lives matter, that people rose up across the country, in the year Oscar Romero was canonized, in the year…fill in your own year, time, day…

Those  triple holies tells us something is going on beyond us..and somehow glory is connected with fear.

Isaiah, perhaps the best spoken of the prophets, speaks of himself in this way, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

He clearly sees and recognizes his own brokenness and at the same time acknowledges the brokenness of his community, however that might be defined.
And watch the process, after the searing act of healing, of forgiveness, his unclean lips touched with a burning coal, his story moves from the awareness of forgiveness to the sense of calling and being sent.

The Nicodemus story also has this sense of calling and being sent. Come to think of it, we are all born in water and spirit. We’re born in a burst and rush of water and immediately breath comes in to us. Jesus is calling Nicodemus to acknowledge his own brokenness, claim his forgiveness and go into the world.

In the end, the idea is that proclamation is not about what goes on in here but what we take out there, to the streets.

But wait…we do have to take care of here in order to go out there
What happens in here has to be a visible sign of what we want to proclaim. And I’m less concerned with what we say than with what we do.
What is seen when someone comes in here?
What do they feel?
How do you feel?
I almost want to stop preaching and ask you to talk to one another, to learn one thing you didn’t know before. (And we do that…)Is it possible to be a place where we start with this number to truly care about one another, to rest in the knowledge that we will be there for each other?

Then there is this…
The wind[a] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Before we pray, we sing Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me. Andre sings a solo on O for a 1000 tongues to sing as we collect the offering. And our closing hymn is Here I am Lord.
We have a congregational meeting after worship. There is much to celebrate as to our successful reconstruction…more than a quarter million dollars’ worth. There are more rentals than ever…but…there is still this income gap…what are we going to do?

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