Among so many things to be thankful for, this morning, I am conscious of two very personal reasons to give thanks.
First – that none of you is now running or is likely to run for President of the United States.
Second – that I have not had to make a living – so far, anyhow – as a car thief. Not too long ago there was a movie about stealing cars as a business – I think it was called Gone in 60 Seconds… and there was great drama in just how fast a thief can complete the task of stealing a car. The thief was long gone in much less time than it usually takes me to find my (perfectly legitimate) key, get into my car, get it started, and get out of the driveway. Not a career I’m suited for, I can tell.
Something of the speed and agility and sheer chutzpah of a car-thief, though, would be welcome this morning in the preaching task. Look for a moment at what is before us: we have to do justice to the whole of Creation (in the first reading and the Psalm), to the Great Commission (in the Gospel), and isn’t it merciful that all Paul says this morning is “GOODBYE”? And then we have to say something graceful and inspiring about Holy Baptism, which we’re about to celebrate; and then we have to come up with a clear, unambiguous, theologically sound exposition of the crucial doctrine of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity – and try to do it all in 12 minutes or less. Not quite the deadline imposed on successful car-theft…but still, no more than a moment in the span of our lives, much less of Christian history.
Therefore, let us begin. We are here together, in a fellowship; we are here with people we have known for some time, and with people we have never met. We are not just a random crowd, like passengers on an LRT platform; we have been brought here, whether we’re aware or not, brought together by God. We are here because God wants us here. He wants us here to accomplish a purpose of his; and his purpose is our good, whether that is obvious to us or not. So one dimension of our fellowship this morning is that it is ETERNAL; it is TRANSCENDENT; it takes part in a reality we affirm by faith but cannot necessarily prove by evidence. Our very fellowship, then, partakes of the eternal and transcendent nature of God; and so we are put in mind of the first person of the Trinity, God the Father.
But as I said, we have been brought together FOR OUR GOOD – not just for our collective good but for our good as human persons, unique and precious and irreplaceable human creatures made in the image and likeness of God; and we are about to admit two very new human persons, unique and precious and irreplaceable persons, into the community of those who know and give thanks that they are made in God’s image. And so another dimension of our fellowship this morning is that it is INCARNATE, it celebrates the homely, personal human nature that was not disdained by the second person of the Trinity, God the Son. And so we are put in mind of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And finally we acknowledge that we are gathered into this fellowship so that we may be TRANSFORMED according to God’s purpose, transformed by the presence of God in the creating and blessing Word of the Father – that his creation is all, very, good; transformed by the presence of God in the human intimacy and humility of the Word made flesh, Jesus his Son; transformed finally by the presence of God in the third person of the Trinity, who has had US in mind all along.
Accordingly we find ourselves and our fellowship embraced by the freedom and playfulness and subtle, irresistible power of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to put all things in order, to be reconciled one to another, to live in peace and to be ONE, and to make disciples of all nations, as, this morning, by God’s grace and in celebration of his unfathomable love for us all, we will begin to make disciples of N--- and M------, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Let us be about our task! Amen! Alleluia!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Trinity Sunday, and other excitements...
I haven't posted a sermon in a while so HERE is what I'm saying in the morning, God willing. It is going to be a marathon of a service -- two little people to baptize and an elaborate dedication of new altar frontal, superfrontal, and candlesticks. They won't let me have any smoke to do this properly, so I have concocted the verbal equivalent of smoke in the dedication service...