Blessings and Sendings

Prayer for Illumination

Let us pray: Almighty God, look upon our gathering with a pierced heart and loving eyes. Strengthen the spirits of these, your people, as we listen to your Scriptures and apply them to our lives together as your servants. You are a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Children’s Storytime: Genesis 1:1-2:4a (children’s book version)

Second Reading 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Gospel Matthew 28:16-20

Let us pray:

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Christ, and to the indwelling Holy Spirit within and among us. Amen.

There is no mistake the liturgical calendar places Trinity Sunday right after Pentecost. It reminds us of the interconnectedness shared by the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Commentator David Gushee, quoting theologian Jürgen Moltmann, refers to it this way: the “intimate indwelling and complete interpenetration of the persons [of the Trinity] in one another.” Gushee goes on to describe the depth of that interconnection as “…A love that can dissolve all kinds of boundaries and divisions.”

Then Gushee makes a remarkable claim; he says this kind of love “will complete its work on those human beings in whom it has already begun and will eventually spread to others in the world who will be drawn into the community of faith.” He goes on to conclude:

In the end, the goal is a cosmic unity that emerges when love dissolves interpersonal boundaries so that all divine and human persons will spiritually be one.

This is the kind of oneness enjoyed by the triune God, and [we] are invited to participate in it through faith. It is the very goal of God in the world, and we know it by faith as the coming shape of the human future, when all the tragedy, difficulty, and limits of our relationships with each other will be overcome at last.[1]

To me, that is a blessing of hope! A boundary-dissolving Trinitarian love poured out upon us and welling up from within us. I imagine that is what the first Pentecost may have been like. Have you ever wondered what our forefathers and foremothers in faith really experienced on that day? Scripture reminds us of some of it: we read of visible tongues of fire, the sound of rushing winds, and hearts that are deeply moved. When Peter stood up to speak in the power of the Spirit, thousands of people had a common experience of the Holy and were cut to the quick, saying, “What shall we do?”

I am not Peter, here to cut you to the quick, for you are already followers of the fallen God risen again in Christ Jesus. I am here to remind you of the Story, the Good News that was poured out for all and how it shapes us for those whom we are called to serve. I am here to remind you of our place in God’s cosmic weaving. The Kingdom of Heaven is here in part but not yet fully known; yet we are full members in that Kingdom.

Matthew preserved for us Christ’s great commissioning in today’s passage, which is no less than our heavenly task to make the boundary-dissolving love of God better known. Jesus ties that up neatly, saying: “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.”

That was and is the Church’s three-fold primary heavenly Calling; to make disciples of all – and the Greek word here is from ethnos which is better translated as peoples or ethnicities instead of nations – baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded.

When we are following God’s Call, the result is nothing less than complete transformation: of both our inner and our outer beings. Following God’s Call is a reshaping of our lives, a reordering of our life’s priorities and the way in which we go about daily life.

Examine yourselves. Have you experienced a complete revaluation of values? Is your life governed by God’s ethic of love for neighbor…at all levels and in all your relationships? If God truly is our highest value; if God really is for us the rightfully reigning Revealed One, then all other sovereignties in our lives will eventually fall into their proper place.

Now for the hard part. In and for our context today, in this community and in our home places, what do we need to carry out God’s Call on our lives, participating in the fabric of the Great Commission? I can only speak for myself, fallen and broken as I am; however, if all of us are fallen and broken together, then we are in a very good place indeed. Why?

Let’s put it this way: what if we really are the body of Christ on Earth today? If we were to look deeply into one another’s eyes, might we see Christ’s reflection gazing back? When I think about that, then I can begin to pray and hope collectively we have what is needed: eyes of the Crucified one, that we may see the need all around us; ears of the Listening One, to hear the cries of God’s people bourn on the rushing wind; and hands of the Pierced One that we may, together as the body of Christ, hold up the burdened ones among us and of the world, becoming His vessels, extending His peace that passes all understanding, and truly becoming a community of one spiritual heart and mind and soul and strength. You must speak for yourself, but as for me, I say,

Come, Holy Spirit and reform us again, that we might speak in the tongues of love and serve with nail-scared hands the needs of our communities here and in the world, for that is the calling of the Crucified One whom we love and serve. Strengthen us to the task, O Holy Spirit; strengthen us to the task!

Let us pray: May all glory be unto the One who lived, died, and rose again for us, showing us the way; even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.

[1] Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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