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Sermon and Liturgy for Trinity Sunday - Year A
Genesis 1:1 - 2:4; Romans 1:16-23; Matthew 28:16-20
"God Is One, Yet God is Three"


READING:  Genesis 1:1 - 2:4; Romans 1:16-23; Matthew 28:16-20
SERMON :  "God Is One, Yet God is Three"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-trinsm 672000
                  
   The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
   for the upcoming Sunday.  Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
   found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
   SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.

   The Call to Worship and the Prayer of Invocation below are
   taken and modified from John Maynard (maynard@SYMPAC.COM.AU)
   "Prayers and Litanies for Trinity Sunday, as sent to the 
   PRCL-List, May 1999).

      
GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                  (* = please stand)


* WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP
L  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
   and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P  And also with you.
L  All glory to our living God!
P  All praise to our Creator!
L  Glorious in splendour, glorious in majesty!
P  Let us worship God together!
L  All glory to our living God!
P  Let all the earth cry "Glory!
   To the Father, to the Son, and to the Spirit, one!"


* INTROIT:  "Holy, Holy, Holy"   (VU-315 Verse 1)
       

* PRAYER OF INVOCATION:
Creator of us all, Father and Mother to all who call on your
name, You send Your Word to bring us truth and Your Spirit to
make us holy.  Through them we come to know the mystery of Your
life.  Help us to worship You, one God in three Persons, by
proclaiming and living our faith in You.  Grace our time of
gathering as your people that our prayers and our praise, our
seeing and our hearing, may be as you desire them to be. 
Strengthen us and through us bring glory to your own most
precious name.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, he who
lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever
and ever.  AMEN.


* HYMN:  "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"            - VU 264
        

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
Gathering in of prayer joys and concerns


PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD'S PRAYER


CHILDREN'S TIME:  In The Beginning
Object:   None   
Theme:    God Revealed in Creation
Source:   Self

   Good morning.  Today we are going to listen to a very
   special story - a story that tells us about the world that
   we see around us - and about how it came into being.  It
   is a very old story - but a very special one.  This story
   is so special that when people first flew to the moon and
   landed upon it - the astronauts took the story with them
   and they read it aloud for the whole world to hear.  After
   you hear it today - I want you to think about the world
   around you and to give thanks to God for all it's beauty
   and goodness - and to give thanks to God for making us so
   that we can enjoy it.  The story is taken from the very
   first chapter of the bible - in the book we call Genesis -
   which means "in the beginning".  Let us hear it now after
   we sing a song asking God to help us to hear it and all
   the other things God has to say to us today.


INTROIT For The Word of God (please stay seated):
  Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
  and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
  Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
  Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!  (VU 371 v.2 & refrain)
           

A READING FROM GENESIS 1:1 - 2:4
   (NRSV)  In the beginning when God created the heavens and the
   earth, {2} the earth was a formless void and darkness covered
   the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the
   face of the waters. {3} Then God said, "Let there be light";
   and there was light. {4} And God saw that the light was good;
   and God separated the light from the darkness. {5} God called
   the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there
   was evening and there was morning, the first day. {6} And God
   said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and
   let it separate the waters from the waters." {7} So God made
   the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome
   from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. {8}
   God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was
   morning, the second day. {9} And God said, "Let the waters
   under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let
   the dry land appear." And it was so. {10} God called the dry
   land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he
   called Seas. And God saw that it was good. {11} Then God
   said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding
   seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit
   with the seed in it." And it was so. {12} The earth brought
   forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and
   trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And
   God saw that it was good. {13} And there was evening and
   there was morning, the third day. {14} And God said, "Let
   there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day
   from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and
   for days and years, {15} and let them be lights in the dome
   of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. {16}
   God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the
   day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars.
   {17} God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon
   the earth, {18} to rule over the day and over the night, and
   to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it
   was good. {19} And there was evening and there was morning,
   the fourth day. {20} And God said, "Let the waters bring
   forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the
   earth across the dome of the sky." {21} So God created the
   great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of
   every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged
   bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. {22} God
   blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the
   waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
   {23} And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth
   day. {24} And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living
   creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild
   animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. {25} God
   made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the
   cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the
   ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. {26} Then
   God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to
   our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the
   sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and
   over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every
   creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." {27} So God
   created humankind in his image, in the image of God he
   created them; male and female he created them. {28} God
   blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and
   multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion
   over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and
   over every living thing that moves upon the earth." {29} God
   said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that
   is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed
   in its fruit; you shall have them for food. {30} And to every
   beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to
   everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the
   breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And
   it was so. {31} God saw everything that he had made, and
   indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was
   morning, the sixth day.

   Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their
   multitude. {2} And on the seventh day God finished the work
   that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all
   the work that he had done. {3} So God blessed the seventh day
   and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work
   that he had done in creation. {4} These are the generations
   of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the
   day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.

   Let us Pray: Loving God // Creator God // God who made us
   // God of all things // we give you thanks for what you
   have done // we give you thanks for who you are // we give
   you thanks for loving us // Help us to always praise you
   // and to follow in your way of truth and beauty // Amen


* HYMN: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"                - VU 291


A READING FROM ROMANS 1:16-23
   (NRSV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power
   of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew
   first and also to the Greek. {17} For in it the righteousness
   of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written,
   "The one who is righteous will live by faith." {18} For the
   wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
   and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the
   truth. {19} For what can be known about God is plain to them,
   because God has shown it to them. {20} Ever since the
   creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature,
   invisible though they are, have been understood and seen
   through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;
   {21} for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God
   or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their
   thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. {22}
   Claiming to be wise, they became fools; {23} and they
   exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling
   a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or
   reptiles.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.


RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 8 (VU 732) and Refrain (Sung)


* HYMN: "Teach Me God to Wonder"                         - VU 299


A READING FROM MATTHEW 28:16-20
   (NRSV)  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the
   mountain to which Jesus had directed them. {17} When they saw
   him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. {18} And Jesus
   came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth
   has been given to me. {19} Go therefore and make disciples of
   all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
   the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} and teaching them to
   obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am
   with you always, to the end of the age."

L  This is the Gospel of our Risen Lord
P  Praise be you, Lord Jesus Christ.


SERMON:  "God is One, Yet God is Three"

   "Gracious God - bless now the words of my lips and the
   meditations of our hearts.  Breath your Spirit into us and
   grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way
   you  want us to go.  Amen.

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday - the first Sunday after Pentecost 
   a time of year that Popes and Bishops, Councils and Synods,
   Presbyteries and Sessions have, for more years than this
   church has existed
       thought it good and wise to remind the millions of seekers
       - the millions of faithful - for whom they care - that God
       is a mystery which is best understood in three ways -

As creator -- or father
as redeemer -- or son
and as sustainer -- or spirit.

God is one.  Yet God is three.

God is here.  Yet God is everywhere.
God is mighty.  Yet God is tender.
God is just.  Yet God has mercy.
God is spirit.  Yet God takes on flesh.
God is in Christ.  Christ is in Us.
God is Spirit and the Spirit blows where it wills.   Yet the
Spirit abides in our hearts.

God is one.  Yet God is three.

The Apostle Paul writes this about God 

   "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities
   - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly
   seen, being understood from what has been made."

When you go outside after this worship time
take a little bit more time to worship -
look at the bark of an old tree
at the greening fields
the scudding clouds
the running waters -- and give thanks -- to the power - to the
grace - to the beauty - that made it all.

You know and understand what I saying - that's why you're here
because God is - and God is good - 
and you want to remind yourselves of that -
and share that truth - 
and celebrate it before God.

But there are others,
and they are many,
   who stop just there - with the clouds and the trees - with the
   land and the sea and the creatures that inhabit them, 
   and while they get a spiritual message from them -- they don't
   get the same message of goodness and of beauty that we do -
   we who know God is One, Yet God is three.

Paul writes that although they know God from what has been made:

   "they neither glorify him as God nor give thanks to him,
   but their thinking becomes futile and their foolish hearts
   are darkened.  Although they claim to be wise they become
   fools and exchange the glory of the immortal God for
   images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals
   and reptiles."

Idolatry is everywhere today -people worship not the Creator, but
the created:
   or worse yet - their hearts are so darkened - that they do
   not worship at all but live instead with the darkness of fear
   and anxiety upon their hearts.
Around them and within them the evils of power and ambition and
avarice and lust rule supreme; they have no true joy - no sense
of the infinite goodness that exists all around them.

God is one, yet God is three.

Last Sunday was the festival of the Spirit of God 
- of the Spirit which is God.

We celebrated the incredible goodness of God
that God should come to us and inhabit us
and give us powers and gifts by which we might do his will
by which we might communicate him to others
by which we might communicate with him.

Many people have thought of the incredible power of God
   fewer have thought about God as a spirit that inhabits us -
   as a force within that can be touched and which can touch us
       and of those who do think about this, many have had no
       direction in their thinking: they have seen the power and
       felt the power and used the power for themselves - for
       their profit - for their influence  - for their authority,
       rather than for the doing of the work of God.
              
Some say this is an age of the spirit
that there is a great awakening happening
   that even as people abandon the church and the temple and the
   mosque they are reaching out to the power behind these
   institutions,
that they are longing for the divine
and seeking it in an enormous variety of ways and forms,
   from witchcraft to the worship of Gaia
   and from the goddesses to the new consciousness of the
Celestine Prophecy

And that is true.
There is such a longing
And there is such a diversity of things happening.
But not all Spirits are good
Not all Spirits are of the One Spirit which we call God;
   the Spirit which we know from many days long before the day
   of Pentecost
       is a healing Spirit,
       a creative Spirit,
       a serving Spirit
       a truth telling Spirit
       a Spirit of Justice and of Order
       a Spirit of revolutionary mercy and of tender compassion,
the Spirit which works good works and speaks the Word of God.

The Spirit of God, God the Spirit, is the one which guides us -
the one which comforts us - the one that convicts us and conveys
God's mercy to us - the one who listens - and the one who speaks
- and in speaking never asks of us that which is wrong - and
never does through us - that which would bring shame to the name
of God

It is by the Spirit that our prayer is prayer to God
and by the Spirit that our prayer is answered..

God is one, yet God is three.

God is a mystery my friends -- a mystery so big, so awesome, so
holy that our limited minds can never grasp the wholeness of it
   but God has placed in us a capacity to appreciate the mystery
   that God is and to embrace that mystery --.

God has revealed himself
   - not just in the act of creation - in nature and its
   manifest goodness and beauty,
   - not just in the nudges and nods of the Spirit - in the
   prophet's vision and the old man's dreams,
God has revealed himself in the one called Jesus 
   the one called Christ -
   the one who was born by the Spirit
   and who worked all his works by the Spirit
   and who healed and forgave by the Spirit
   and in all that he spoke he spoke the word of God by the
   Spirit.

In Christ, God reveals himself as the one who loves - and who
does so in tangible, concrete, incarnate - in fleshed - ways.  

I tell you my friends, without this one 
without this revelation of God whom we call the Christ - 
you and I would not have the promises
nor would we have the inheritance to come

Nor would we have the communion
the spirit
the assurance
the strength
the mercy
that we have.

Jesus is the one who reveals the way to us, the one who speaks
the truth to us, the one who gives life by his touch and by his
word. 

God is One, yet God is three.

We have - in God - the three in one - and one in three -
something that is very precious.
   We have the gospel - the good news - of the salvation that is
   for all humankind.
       We have the message concerning God's love and his desire
       to grant wholeness to all his children
We have a light that shines into the darkness of human hearts and
brings healing - a light that shines forth from thence into the
life of all those around.

It has seemed good to hundreds of generations of our Spiritual
Ancestors to remember this truth on this day of the year in a
particular and special way.

And so we do today.

We remember Jesus' own words,
the words he spoke shortly before his ascension into heaven
when he said to his followers

   "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to
   me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
   baptizing them in the name of the Father, The Son, and The
   Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
   commanded you.  And lo, I am with you always, to the very
   end of the age."

As believers in the line of Abraham and Sarah and of Joseph and
Mary we have a privilege of understanding and a duty of
communicating and teaching the good news concerning God.

As Paul wrote in the letter to the Romans  -- "In the Gospel a
righteousness from God is revealed"

The righteousness of God - the saving love of God - the healing
power of God - the justice and the mercy of God which makes us
whole 
- is found in the good news concerning Jesus Christ 
- in the good news that he preached concerning the Kingdom of God
- and in how like him we can call the holy and awesome God - Daddy! 
- and in how like him we could be filled with God and have him, 
   have God,
       have the Christ 
          have the Spirit, 
abide in us and we in him.

It is easy my friends to be led astray
but it is also easy to be found again.

God seeks us out;
- He displays himself in the heavens and through all that he made
on earth
- He speaks to us in the Spirit - in our dreams and visions and
in our holy silences
- He comes to us in the Flesh.- In Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grab hold of the mystery -- appreciate it and embrace it:
the mystery that not only is God one in three and three in one
but the mystery that God loves you,
the mystery that God cares for you
the mystery that God can and will, if you let him, use you to do
great things
   that God can and will, if you are open to his bidding, use
   you to bring healing, and wholeness, and hope
first to your homes,
   then to your neighbours
   and finally to the whole world
through the gospel that we have received.


* HYMN: "God, Whose Almighty Word"                       - VU 313


PRAYER OF THE DAY
God revealed in nature 
   - in power of sea and land
   - in beauty of plants and animals
   - in intricacy of molecules and atoms and the webs of spiders
To you, the three in one and one in three, we give thanks.
Lord, hear our prayer...

God revealed in Spirit 
   - in visions and dreams and gentle nudges
   - in whisper of the wind and the voice of strangers
   - in heart and in mind and in love itself
To you, the three in one and one in three, we give thanks.
Lord hear our prayer...

God revealed in Christ
   - who walks with us and before us
   - who forgives our sins
   - who reminds us there is only one true way and one true God
   - and who gave himself to be that way.
To you, the three in one and one in three, we give thanks.
Lord hear our prayer...

Touch, O Lord, our hearts and our minds.  Help us to hold to the
word of truth.  Help us to embrace the mystery of your nature and
to proclaim the mystery of your love.  Make our faith deep and
true, our utterance wise and caring, and our actions bold and
loving.  Make us ones who proclaim the gospel through which your
righteousness is revealed.  Make us ones who worship you as
Creator Father, as Spirit Mother, and as Christ Jesus, Son, three
in one, and one in three.  Amen.


MINUTE FOR MISSION: Our Life Together and In The World


* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  As the Offering is presented all
stand for the Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow -
VU 541) and Prayer of Dedication

   Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer - to you we give thanks
   this day - and to you we bring the gifts that you first
   gave us for the living of our lives and for doing the
   works of your eternal Kingdom.  Bless all that we offer in
   your service and so move among us that we hold back
   nothing from you - this both now and forevermore.  Amen


* DEPARTING HYMN:  "Praise Our Maker"                    - VU 316


* COMMISSIONING (Unison):  In the power of the Holy Spirit we now
   go forth into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people
   of God, the body of Christ.
                                 
                      
* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace; 
love and care for one another 
and may God our Creator and Parent,
Jesus our Saviour and Lord,
And Holy Spirit our Comforter and Guide
Be with you now and always.  AMEN.


* CHORAL BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                    - VU 964

   
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1999 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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