Sermon for June 16, 2019, Trinity Sunday
(Full Disclosure: this is a draft text written after the worship service of a sermon preached extemporaneously. Please do not cite without permission.)
Many of you are sitting there thinking ‘you don’t look like Kathy’ and you’re right! I’m not Kathy. She is caught on the Cape mid-moving and is very sorry she’s not able to be with us here today for Trinity Sunday as planned. So, today, you’re stuck with me… and yourselves. This is going to be a participatory sermon, so pay attention!
There are two things I feel are important to name in any conversation about the Trinity. The first is that the Trinity is mysterious. We could spend hours discussing and trying to intellectually understand what the Trinity is. And, I think we still wouldn’t really get it. And, ultimately, I’m not convinced that’s particularly helpful to our praying and to our believing. So, better to rest in the mystery of the divine Trinity.
The second is that the Trinity is a dynamic, intimate relationship between these three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A dynamic, intimate, relationship that we are all invited to take part in. As members of a Christian community, people who are in relationship with one another, people who are seeking to follow the way of love, we are invited to participate in this dynamic, intimate relationship with the Trinity and with each other.
Now that I’ve left my internship at common cathedral, I’m finding that one of the things I’m missing most is the willingness of members of that community to be vulnerable with one another in Sunday worship. For those of you who aren’t familiar with common cathedral, it is a street church that worships every Sunday outside on the Boston Common – rain, snow, wind, or sunshine. It’s a church that focuses its ministry with and on members of the homeless community in Boston. Each week, they preach the sermon much like what we’re doing today. The preacher for the week begins by presenting a few brief thoughts on the Scripture for the day often concluding with a question. Then, the microphone gets passed around to anyone who would like to share. This is super important in their community, made up of people who are so often ignored and not given a voice. Sometimes that sharing is prayers for the Red Sox and the Bruins. Sometimes it’s gratitude for a sandwich and a smile. But it’s also sharing things like ‘I don’t think God loves me’ or ‘I was so cold last night that I was really afraid I wouldn’t wake up this morning.’ The sharing that happens feels much more open and vulnerable than the conversations I’ve found in housed churches like All Saints. There’s something about being enclosed by walls that seems to also create walls around how we are in relationship. We might share deeper things about our lives and how we’re doing with one or two other people we feel we know really well, but we don’t open up to the broader community in the same way.
So today, I’m going to invite us to do a bit of this, to take a step into being in dynamic, intimate relationship with each other and with God. But first I want to share something with you. This is a fairly well-known icon of the Trinity by Rublev. It hangs in my room across from my bed where it’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. It’s my favorite icon because of the way the Trinity is pictured. You can see that the three persons of the Trinity are depicted sitting around a table. Much like how we gather around this table every Sunday. But the table is not three-sided. It has a fourth side that is empty and that is the side that is toward the prayer, the viewer, us. I see this as an invitation. An invitation to join the Trinity around this table. An invitation to join in this dynamic, intimate relationship. An invitation to all of us to be in dynamic, intimate relationship with God and with each other.
We are going to practice this relationship now and I have a two-part question for you. I think you can handle it. The first part is: What is one way you connect to the Divine? The second part is: How would you like to deepen your relationship with the Divine?
We’re going to take baby steps. I’m inviting you to turn to someone next to you and share your answer to at least one of these questions. Then, I’ll invite some of you to share with the gathered congregation.
I encourage you to pay attention to how you connect to the Divine in dynamic, intimate relationship daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Pay attention to that connection in the ordinary moments in your day. Keep sharing with each other. Pay attention to how you are continually being invited to sit at the table and participate in dynamic, intimate relationship with each other and with God.
The Rev. Sarah Brock, Deacon