A Day, Primarily, For Worship

As the only “holy day'” set aside to celebrate a “doctrine” rather than an event in Jesus’ life or a sainted person, Trinity Sunday does not lend itself so much to sermons about the Trinity, but rather invites us into standing before our  God in reverence and in awe.  God is ultimately unknowable, even though  revelation  has come to us  through  scripture, tradition, and reason, giving us glimpses — and more than glimpses — of the divine nature.
And so the biblical texts today describe Isaiah’s experience of his call to be a prophet in the midst of temple worship ( Isaiah 6:1-4). In the second reading, St. John the Divine holds up a vision of heavenly worship in order to sustain his community as they were facing persecution in the early days of the Church’s life (Revelation 4:2-6). And the Gospel lesson quotes Jesus in what is perhaps the perfect text for Trinity Sunday: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now!” (John 16:12)

In an earlier posting about Anglican and Orthodox relations, I mentioned a wonderful new resource entitiled “The Church of the Triune God.” And I would commend it to anyone for use in the classroom, for study and discussion, for theological reflection, even as a focus for meditation on the mystery of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Today, I hope you will simply join with fellow Christians in quiet and splendid beauty, listen to the descriptions of heavenly worship, sing the words of hymns exalting the Triune God in poetic phrases which lift the mind and heart, pray “in spirit and in truth,” and receive in faith the sacrament of Bread and Wine.

And, after you have so worshiped, say with Isaiah, “Here am I…send me!”

2 Responses to “A Day, Primarily, For Worship”

  1. rwk Says:

    About 10-12 years ago I heard a woman seminarian preach on the Doctrine of the Trinity on Trinity Sunday. It was her first sermon. I have always been ambivalent about the ordination of women — she helped nudge me in favor — read on and see why. When I heard her sermon and it was a clear exposition of the Christ as fully-human and fully-divine, the Father as creator and holy/wholly other and Holy Spirit sustainer of all — all three in essence but one it was refreshing. Doctrine does not have to be something dry and stale. I know I’ve watered it down but my point was made — I hope. Doctrine strengthens us, focuses us and challenges us.

    In this same parish by way of contrast, I was a visitor on a trip, I heard very poor sermons week after week from the resident priest. They focused on existentialist philosophers, occasionally made a passing reference to the readings for the day and did not take any historic doctrine seriously. I got to hear “Camus, said” and “Sartre was especially insightful”. I thought “I did not come here to hear ‘the word of Sarte’.” I was assured by others that the priest “was an excellent” care giver — and he may have been. However, the seminarian was a blessed relief.

    The difference was that the seminarian had confidence in the doctrines of the historic Christianity. Her nominal superior clearly had little or no confidence in them. There was no evidence they provided any kind of anchor in his life. He chose to use the pulpit as a launching pad for a discussion of whatever he happened to be reading at the time. I could worship there because I’m not a “babe on milk” and God has given me enough discernment to separate wheat from chaff. However, I would never have brought my children there. It was that day that I decided orthodoxy trumps gender.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    Hey, I’m glad she preached on the Trinity!!

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