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May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
1
God’s grace, peace and mercy be with you. … My focus is
Acts, chapter two, where Peter addressed the men of Israel.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, the psalmist wrote, “I rejoiced
when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’”1
Now that our feet are within your gates, we rejoice to hear your
Word. As we listen, may your Spirit enlighten our minds and move
our hearts to love deeply as Jesus loved. This we pray to you,
Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
Anthony de Mello tells of a pastor whose ship anchored at a
remote island. Since he only had one day there, the pastor was
determined to use the time profitably.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
2
He strolled along the seashore and came across three
fishermen, mending their nets. In broken English, they explained
to him that missionaries converted their village to Christianity. “We
Christians!” they proudly proclaimed. The pastor was impressed.
In talking some more, he discovered that they had never heard of
the Lord’s Prayer. The pastor was shocked. “What, then, do you
SAY when you pray?”
“We lift eyes to heaven and say, ‘We are three, you are
three, have mercy on us.’”
The pastor was appalled. This would never do. In fact, it
sounded almost heretical. So, he spent the whole day teaching
them the Lord’s Prayer. Even though the fishermen were slow
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
3
learners, they were finally able to struggle through it before the
pastor sailed away the next day.
Months later, the pastor’s ship happened to pass by that
same island. The pastor paced the deck, recalling with pleasure
the three men who were now able to pray, thanks to his patient
efforts. While he was lost in his thoughts, he happened to look up,
and notice a spot of light to the east. The light kept approaching
the ship and, as the pastor gazed in wonder, he saw three figures
walking on the water. The captain, too, was amazed and he
stopped the boat so everyone could see. When they got within
speaking distance, the pastor recognized the three fishermen.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
4
They exclaimed, “Pastor! We see your boat go by the island,
so we come to see you.” Awestruck, the pastor asked, “What do
you want?” “Pastor, we are very sorry. We forget lovely prayer.
We say, ‘Our Father, in heaven, holy be your name….’ Then we
forget. Please tell us prayer again.”
With a quiet voice, the pastor answered, “Go back to your
homes, my friends. And each time you pray, say, ‘We are three,
you are three, have mercy on us.”2
Have mercy on us. Most pastors like to skip Trinity Sunday
because people expect them to explain the Trinity in simple
terms. So, in addition to the story of our three amigos, let me
outline it for you – Persons, Pentecost and a Postscript.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
5
First, Persons. We often use symbols to explain the Trinity –
from Patrick’s clover to geometric designs. We find symbols of the
Trinity in our church – the equilateral triangle and overlapping
circles. Mathematicians and engineers may prefer triangles and
circles, but they are static. If you want to understand the dynamics
of the Trinity, you really have to observe and live the family
experience. Families are dynamic. Think of any family – the First
Family or the Royal Family, your in-laws or your neighbors. Based
on your observations of the outer dynamics of any family, you
determine the breadwinner and the spender, the problem solver
and the troublemaker. You surmise their mission in life and
predict where the children will be in 20 years. You rely on them for
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
6
assistance or aggravation. We base our assumptions solely on
what we know as outsiders.
Hollywood tries to give us an experience of the inner
dynamics of family life – be it the Robertson Family, aka, Duck
Dynasty or the Dysfunctional Housewives of Any City in America.
However, reality TV has limits. You cannot live the experience of
that family. The only way one grasps the inner dynamics of any
family is by living in it.
So it is for Jesus – as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
He knows the Father. The Father knows him. Together, they dwell
with the Spirit. John tells us that Jesus revealed himself to
believers. Over the past few weeks, we heard Jesus’ promise to
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
7
send the Holy Spirit. In today’s passage, he discusses the Holy
Spirit with Nicodemus. Jesus claimed, “Unless one is born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”3
Perhaps
Nicodemus needed an infusion from the Holy Spirit to accept this
teaching.
As believers, we accept the truth from Scripture that there
are Three Persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. We
observe their outer dynamics – creation, redemption and
sanctification – all performed with loving-kindness. We surmise
that the inner dynamics of the Three Divine Persons is strong
enough to overcome Satan, sin and death. We rely on their love.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
8
From Persons to Pentecost, my 2nd point. Today’s passage
picks up where we left last week – Peter’s Pentecost sermon.
Pentecost was an agricultural feast where Jews celebrated not
only the harvest but also the giving of the Torah. It was known as
the Shav – u’ – oth or the Feast of Weeks. This festival was
celebrated 7 weeks or 50 days after Passover. It brought farmers
from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Asia, Egypt, Libya and
Rome to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot. They came to thank
God for the harvest and for the Law. To them Peter made a
fundamental presentation of the Gospel. And while Jesus could
not convince his hearers, by preaching Christ crucified, Peter
stirred the hearts of some 3,000 that day. Scripture tells us that he
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
9
converted and baptized 3,000 people. Through baptism, Peter
brought them into the inner family. They observed the community
of believers from the outside, and then experienced it from the
inside. Peter baptized the people who heard the Gospel as
members of the Church, a believing community, a dynamic
community of people that reflected the loving relationships of the
Holy Trinity in their inner and outer activities.
Believers are members of a believing community, a
Pentecost community. … Are we members of a Pentecost
community? Are we a Pentecost people? … We are. … Turn to
Roman numeral x in your Lutheran Service Book and read the
lower right hand corner: “The Time of the Church – The Season of
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
10
Pentecost.” From now until Advent, our corporate worship
reminds us that the Holy Spirit is active in our lives. Hence, we
celebrate the Sundays of Pentecost.
Like the first converts, we too were baptized in the Name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We received
forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because we
are attuned to the Holy Spirit active in our lives as a faith
community and individual believers, we are a Pentecost people.
Are we a Trinitarian community? … Well, if you turn to
Roman numeral xxi, you will find that these Sundays are also
Trinity Sundays. They remind us to focus on the dynamic power
of all Three Divine Persons of the Trinity active in our lives.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
11
Therefore, according to our worship, we are members of a
Pentecost and Trinitarian community.
There is another way to know if we reflect the loving
relationships of the Holy Trinity in our inner and outer activities –
by asking outsiders what they observe. … This week, ask some
outsiders how they see us. Do they see us as Spirit-filled people?
Do they see us as a dynamic community? Would they say that we
reflect the loving relationships of the Persons of the Holy Trinity?
Does our living proclamation of the Gospel stir their hearts to the
degree that they are kicking in the doors to enter our church?
Think about that this week, and really ask someone. Ask anyone.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
12
If we are a Pentecost people, a Trinitarian community, it should
be easily observable.
That brings me to my third point: Postscript. … Cindy and I
enjoy camping. We enjoy it so much that several years ago, I
purchased Cindy the perfect birthday present any Christian
husband can buy his wife – a camping stove. Camping is an
activity every Christian should embrace.
Camping is Biblical. Abraham and Sarah lived their whole
lives in tents. Moses and the Israelites camped 40 years. When
David decided to build God a fine house, God revealed His
preference for a tent. So, guys, buy your wives camping stoves.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
13
We read in the Gospel of John, “The Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.”4
Many Scripture scholars interpret the
verse this way – He pitched his tent among us. Cindy and I thank
you for inviting us to pitch our tent here and live among you. We
have enjoyed our time here.
Throughout our time here, God placed many gifts before us.
Above all, we appreciate the people He placed in our lives. We
appreciate all that you did to make our stay here welcome. We
now pack up our tent and camping stove and trek north to be
closer to grandchildren. Thank you for your kindness and prayers.
May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday
14
One last request, brothers and sisters: Pray to the Holy
Trinity for the grace to be grateful, especially to the people closest
to you. In Jesus’ Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep
your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.5
5:00 p.m. – Please stand for offertory.
Sunday – Please stand for POTC.
1 Psalm122
2 I changed bishop to pastor.
3 John 3:3
4 John 1:14
5 Philippians4:7

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Trinity

  • 1. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 1 God’s grace, peace and mercy be with you. … My focus is Acts, chapter two, where Peter addressed the men of Israel. Let us pray. Heavenly Father, the psalmist wrote, “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’”1 Now that our feet are within your gates, we rejoice to hear your Word. As we listen, may your Spirit enlighten our minds and move our hearts to love deeply as Jesus loved. This we pray to you, Most Holy Trinity. Amen. Anthony de Mello tells of a pastor whose ship anchored at a remote island. Since he only had one day there, the pastor was determined to use the time profitably.
  • 2. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 2 He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen, mending their nets. In broken English, they explained to him that missionaries converted their village to Christianity. “We Christians!” they proudly proclaimed. The pastor was impressed. In talking some more, he discovered that they had never heard of the Lord’s Prayer. The pastor was shocked. “What, then, do you SAY when you pray?” “We lift eyes to heaven and say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’” The pastor was appalled. This would never do. In fact, it sounded almost heretical. So, he spent the whole day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. Even though the fishermen were slow
  • 3. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 3 learners, they were finally able to struggle through it before the pastor sailed away the next day. Months later, the pastor’s ship happened to pass by that same island. The pastor paced the deck, recalling with pleasure the three men who were now able to pray, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in his thoughts, he happened to look up, and notice a spot of light to the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the pastor gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the water. The captain, too, was amazed and he stopped the boat so everyone could see. When they got within speaking distance, the pastor recognized the three fishermen.
  • 4. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 4 They exclaimed, “Pastor! We see your boat go by the island, so we come to see you.” Awestruck, the pastor asked, “What do you want?” “Pastor, we are very sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say, ‘Our Father, in heaven, holy be your name….’ Then we forget. Please tell us prayer again.” With a quiet voice, the pastor answered, “Go back to your homes, my friends. And each time you pray, say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.”2 Have mercy on us. Most pastors like to skip Trinity Sunday because people expect them to explain the Trinity in simple terms. So, in addition to the story of our three amigos, let me outline it for you – Persons, Pentecost and a Postscript.
  • 5. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 5 First, Persons. We often use symbols to explain the Trinity – from Patrick’s clover to geometric designs. We find symbols of the Trinity in our church – the equilateral triangle and overlapping circles. Mathematicians and engineers may prefer triangles and circles, but they are static. If you want to understand the dynamics of the Trinity, you really have to observe and live the family experience. Families are dynamic. Think of any family – the First Family or the Royal Family, your in-laws or your neighbors. Based on your observations of the outer dynamics of any family, you determine the breadwinner and the spender, the problem solver and the troublemaker. You surmise their mission in life and predict where the children will be in 20 years. You rely on them for
  • 6. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 6 assistance or aggravation. We base our assumptions solely on what we know as outsiders. Hollywood tries to give us an experience of the inner dynamics of family life – be it the Robertson Family, aka, Duck Dynasty or the Dysfunctional Housewives of Any City in America. However, reality TV has limits. You cannot live the experience of that family. The only way one grasps the inner dynamics of any family is by living in it. So it is for Jesus – as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He knows the Father. The Father knows him. Together, they dwell with the Spirit. John tells us that Jesus revealed himself to believers. Over the past few weeks, we heard Jesus’ promise to
  • 7. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 7 send the Holy Spirit. In today’s passage, he discusses the Holy Spirit with Nicodemus. Jesus claimed, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”3 Perhaps Nicodemus needed an infusion from the Holy Spirit to accept this teaching. As believers, we accept the truth from Scripture that there are Three Persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. We observe their outer dynamics – creation, redemption and sanctification – all performed with loving-kindness. We surmise that the inner dynamics of the Three Divine Persons is strong enough to overcome Satan, sin and death. We rely on their love.
  • 8. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 8 From Persons to Pentecost, my 2nd point. Today’s passage picks up where we left last week – Peter’s Pentecost sermon. Pentecost was an agricultural feast where Jews celebrated not only the harvest but also the giving of the Torah. It was known as the Shav – u’ – oth or the Feast of Weeks. This festival was celebrated 7 weeks or 50 days after Passover. It brought farmers from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Asia, Egypt, Libya and Rome to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot. They came to thank God for the harvest and for the Law. To them Peter made a fundamental presentation of the Gospel. And while Jesus could not convince his hearers, by preaching Christ crucified, Peter stirred the hearts of some 3,000 that day. Scripture tells us that he
  • 9. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 9 converted and baptized 3,000 people. Through baptism, Peter brought them into the inner family. They observed the community of believers from the outside, and then experienced it from the inside. Peter baptized the people who heard the Gospel as members of the Church, a believing community, a dynamic community of people that reflected the loving relationships of the Holy Trinity in their inner and outer activities. Believers are members of a believing community, a Pentecost community. … Are we members of a Pentecost community? Are we a Pentecost people? … We are. … Turn to Roman numeral x in your Lutheran Service Book and read the lower right hand corner: “The Time of the Church – The Season of
  • 10. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 10 Pentecost.” From now until Advent, our corporate worship reminds us that the Holy Spirit is active in our lives. Hence, we celebrate the Sundays of Pentecost. Like the first converts, we too were baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We received forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because we are attuned to the Holy Spirit active in our lives as a faith community and individual believers, we are a Pentecost people. Are we a Trinitarian community? … Well, if you turn to Roman numeral xxi, you will find that these Sundays are also Trinity Sundays. They remind us to focus on the dynamic power of all Three Divine Persons of the Trinity active in our lives.
  • 11. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 11 Therefore, according to our worship, we are members of a Pentecost and Trinitarian community. There is another way to know if we reflect the loving relationships of the Holy Trinity in our inner and outer activities – by asking outsiders what they observe. … This week, ask some outsiders how they see us. Do they see us as Spirit-filled people? Do they see us as a dynamic community? Would they say that we reflect the loving relationships of the Persons of the Holy Trinity? Does our living proclamation of the Gospel stir their hearts to the degree that they are kicking in the doors to enter our church? Think about that this week, and really ask someone. Ask anyone.
  • 12. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 12 If we are a Pentecost people, a Trinitarian community, it should be easily observable. That brings me to my third point: Postscript. … Cindy and I enjoy camping. We enjoy it so much that several years ago, I purchased Cindy the perfect birthday present any Christian husband can buy his wife – a camping stove. Camping is an activity every Christian should embrace. Camping is Biblical. Abraham and Sarah lived their whole lives in tents. Moses and the Israelites camped 40 years. When David decided to build God a fine house, God revealed His preference for a tent. So, guys, buy your wives camping stoves.
  • 13. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 13 We read in the Gospel of John, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”4 Many Scripture scholars interpret the verse this way – He pitched his tent among us. Cindy and I thank you for inviting us to pitch our tent here and live among you. We have enjoyed our time here. Throughout our time here, God placed many gifts before us. Above all, we appreciate the people He placed in our lives. We appreciate all that you did to make our stay here welcome. We now pack up our tent and camping stove and trek north to be closer to grandchildren. Thank you for your kindness and prayers.
  • 14. May 31 2015 – Holy Trinity Sunday 14 One last request, brothers and sisters: Pray to the Holy Trinity for the grace to be grateful, especially to the people closest to you. In Jesus’ Holy Name, we pray. Amen. May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.5 5:00 p.m. – Please stand for offertory. Sunday – Please stand for POTC. 1 Psalm122 2 I changed bishop to pastor. 3 John 3:3 4 John 1:14 5 Philippians4:7