sermon from sunday

May 18, 2008

Matthew 28:16-20

Lately, I’ve been realizing that I have a tendency to rush around from place to place. I always have my trusty planner (holding up planner) and my daily check-list of tasks to complete, and I go through the items – one by one – making my beloved little check marks when I’ve finished something. And I really do like my check-list a lot – don’t get me wrong! But, the problem with all this rushing and scheduling, is that sometimes I forget to just take a breath, look around, and absorb what God is up to in this big, mysterious world.

The other morning as I was driving to church, I decided I’d try out my new “Look Out for God (LOG if you like Acronyms)” plan. And literally, all I had to do was pull out of my driveway across from the elementary school, and God was there – in the delightful sounds of the children as they waited on the playground for another day of school. Then, as I drove by an auto-body shop I rarely even notice, I saw one man laughing so hard and joking around with another guy who had the biggest smile across his face – and God was there. And the whole day went on this way – with God – showing up in the daily routine of life…That afternoon, the breath of the Holy Spirit was blowing everywhere: in the third grade classroom where I was helping out, at the soup kitchen during lunch, on the phone, in the car, and here at the church. While it certainly seemed to me like God was making extra appearances that afternoon, I realized that everyday is probably just like that – but I’m too consumed to notice. It’s just like Jesus said to the disciples in today’s gospel lesson: he is with us, always. God is a part of every moment and every step of our lives – whether we truly recognize it or not. And on this Holy Trinity Sunday, we are invited into a special celebration of the mysteries of who God is and how God meets with us.

We encounter our 1 and only God in 3 different expressions – usually termed Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Elizabeth Johnson, one of my favorite writers, has some great insights about the Trinity. She says that the symbol of the Trinity shows us how important connectedness is to God. All the way to our Creator’s very core, God is all about connection and relationship. Just as each part of the Trinity is intimately and inseparably connected, we are connected to God and to one another. The Trinity is such a profound symbol of the beauty of life lived in community - with one another and with all creation.

The deep devastation going on across the globe is just more validation for how important God’s triune presence in the world really is! It only takes watching a few moments of the evening news, and the utter loss and desolation of what’s happening around the world is obvious. Cyclones, tornadoes, earthquakes, AIDS, poverty, starvation – we live among a world that is crying out in pain. And that pain doesn’t just exist in other states and countries – far removed from our lives here. The heavy weight and sadness of all that ‘just isn’t right’ can be felt here, too. We, also, are a people going through loss, separation, relationship trouble, illness, depression, and financial crisis.

It is in all these situations and moments that God is there - speaking to us and to all creation – in a way that stretches beyond time and space – saying, ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ And not only is the Creator with us in difficult times - God, as our Heavenly Father, is actively working to provide new opportunities and paths. God, as the Holy Spirit, is inspiring people throughout the world to take action, fight injustice, and lend a helping hand to those in need. And God, as Jesus Christ, is walking with us – truly sharing in our pains and our losses – reminding us that we are never alone.

And while only one Sunday is specifically set aside to honor the Holy Trinity, it is truly a force which grounds all we do as people of faith. The Trinity is something we celebrate every Sunday – and in fact every moment. We celebrate because God cares so deeply for us that in God’s very being is built a desire to connect with us in a Trinity of ways. God loves us so much – that nothing will keep God from bursting forth into our lives, drawing us into a lasting relationship of love and commitment. For, it is only in relationship that God (as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is made complete; every aspect of the Trinity being a necessary part of a sacred whole. And similarly, it is through living in community that we, being in relationship with one another as God’s children, are made complete. It is through growing and learning together that we are inspired to follow Jesus’ great commission – going out to embody God’s love to a world in need.

Putting together children’s sermons has become one of my favorite parts of preaching. Because it is in speaking with the 10-and-under crowd that I realize all the things I forgot since becoming a ‘grown up.’ And in sharing simple yet powerful truths about God with them, I am reminded of those truths myself. This week, I knew more than anything I wanted them to know how BIG “ALWAYS” is – that there is never a moment in their whole lives that God won’t be a part of. And that’s what I pray all of us walk away remembering this week, too! The permanent presence of the Trinity in our lives is something we can put our trust in. We can build our lives and our faith upon our God, who will never let us out of sight.

Let us go out and share the amazing love of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer with a world longing to remember a simple, yet powerful truth – God is with us – ALWAYS.


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