Sermon–Trinity Sunday

At our Sunday School teachers’ meeting in May,
we wondered how to celebrate today, on Trinity Sunday
the last day of Sunday School for this year.
Should we have ice cream and cake?
Outside? Inside?
What would be our theme?
Some of you have read Miranda Johnson’s report in our newsletter
with the Sunday school quote of the month.
Zoe, one of our Sunday School students,
described what she would do if Jesus came to her house:
She’d have a big party, invite lots of friends,
there would be food, music, and laughter,
and of course, a disco ball.
And while her vision is not quite Isaiah’s with
seraphs and angels round the throne,
and burning coals of fire, Zoe’s got the right idea.

Every Sunday, our teachers
come ready to stir up
the religious imaginations of our children,
feeding their spirits with stories
and songs of faith, prayers and activities that help
them find expression for their experience of God.
Sunday School teachers
are doing what Jesus charged us all to do,
in the Great Commission, making disciples,
preaching and teaching, and baptizing, in the name of the Triune God.
Each teacher prays, searches the scriptures,
offers his or her best thinking, and prepares
for these times with our young people.
When one of the children is able
to tell the story of God’s love in their own way,
when they are able to find words or images,
to express what is most high and most holy,
most beautiful, wonderful and mysterious,
we fall on our knees, so to speak, with gratitude and delight.
A Party for God, that’s what we decided to have,
but we needed to find a disco ball, to make it complete.

That was a month ago—
phone calls and emails went out.
Where we would we find a dicso ball?
And I started wondering,
how on earth I would tie a disco ball
into a sermon on Trinity Sunday.

For this is a most amazing day,
for those of you who like to ponder
the mystery of our faith—Trinity Sunday
celebrates our Christian witness to a Triune God,
God who is Creator, who gave us the Son,
whose Spirit fills all things, whose being is communion,
so mysterious we bring many names:
Maker of the Universe, whose voice
called into all things into being, God who is Father, Mother,
Almighty, Most Holy, Dweller in the High Places, Great Healer,
And Son, fully human, fully divine, Prince of Peace, Mighty Savior,
Counselor, Word and Wisdom, Good Shepherd,
True Vine, Friend, Light from Light, true God from true God,
Begotten not made,
and Spirit, Teacher, Comforter, Advocate,
mighty Spirit whose life flows through creation,
who hovered over the face of the waters at the beginning of time,
who overshadows the world in clouds of glory,
who comes as whisper, as wind, as water, and light upon light,
who speaks through the prophets,
Spirit of life, spirit of truth, of peace, of joy,
whose gifts are poured out for our sake, for the world’s sake,
and of whom we are born of God,
and whose voice cries within us, Abba, Father.

Just sit with that a minute.

Sit at the foot of the throne, for a minute, as Isaiah did,
in the temple of the Holy One, where the hem of God’s robe
filled the room. Dwell in the presence of all that is Holy.
When that happened to Isaiah, he felt a great unworthiness.
Who was he, that God should send such a vision?

Or sit with Nicodemus for a moment, who came to hear Jesus teach,
in the dark of night, as we often do, asking questions.
Hear Jesus say to him,
you must be born from above,
and then you will see God at work in the world.
You will see the kingdom.
Be born from above,
see the great love God has for all beings, for all creation.
God, holy and marvelous, magnificent Maker of the Universe
this great God so loved us, that he gave his divine self to us in Christ.
Sit with that for a minute—in all its the power and beauty.

Jesus had patience with Nicodemus as he tried to explain this mystery.
Like all good teachers, he sought for an image that
Nicodemus could understand.
Listen to the wind, Jesus suggested.
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,
and you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes,
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Born of water and Spirit, we become children of God,
not to fear God, but to know God as Jesus did,
holy mystery, holy presence in our daily lives,
no matter how young or how old we are.

So we throw a party for God.
but we couldn’t find a disco ball.
We looked far and wide, even on the Internet.
Last Sunday, before the service,
Deb Coull walked into my office
bearing a gift, like one of the wise kings at Christmas.
She said, ” I saw this the other day, at the store, and I thought,
you know, we might need one of those someday for the Sunday School.”
She handed me the gift—it was a disco ball.
The thing is, Deb had no idea we’d been
searching for a disco ball for a month.
We’d almost given up.
We wanted to call the disco ball one of St. Paul’s little miracles.
But it seemed more like divine comedy,
for we laughed and laughed.

Jesus said to his disciples one day,
when he was teaching them about God’s love,
not a hair on your head goes uncounted,
not a sparrow falls without God’s knowing.
As a mother bird, shelters her chicks in a nest
under her wings, so God shelters you.
What parent, Jesus asked, gives his child
a stone when the child asks for fish?
Ask for what you need. Ask and it shall be given,
seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened,
for God so loves the world.
Extravagant loving and extravagant giving,
this is the life of the Trinity:
extravagant love and extravagant giving,
pouring out a river of joy through all things.
Thank you God, for being God,
for giving birth to a universe of glory, of infinite beauty and light.
Thank you God, for comforting and teaching,
for showing us the way, the truth, and the life, in Christ Jesus.
Thank you God for your Spirit, who gives us life.
Thank you God, for children, for teachers, for your Word,
for truth, and for creativity, for imaginations,
for delight, for grace, for love, for surprises,
and for parties, and even a disco ball.
Thank you God, for all your good good gifts. Amen.

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