12 Jun 2022
The Gospel. St. John iii. 1.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Let us pray: Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, wash away our sins, O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.
What does our Church teach about the Trinity? That God is One and that he is Three-In-One. That the Father is not the Son nor is the Son the Father and that the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. There is one God, and there are three distinct persons in that one God. And yet they are all of one mind and one purpose in perfect accord. All of this, of course, is a mystery because we have nothing in our physical lives here like this miraculous wonder. So many of the Church Fathers like Saint Basil wrote a great deal about the Trinity, and many differing opinions had to be dealt with about it in order to bring unity to the Church, which we see expressed in the Nicene Creed we will recite today.
In the past preachers on this Trinity Sunday recalled the symbols that have been used to teach about the oneness in unity of the three persons: the use of the shamrock by St. Patrick; a triangle with three points and yet one thing; and three rings that are tied together as one. The Eastern Church uses the coming of the three angels to visit Abraham at Mamre in their icon of the Trinity. Yet none of these symbols can really help us understand the mystery of the nature of our God. As with all of the profoundest mysteries of this life, we the faithful have to accept the limitations of our understanding for now.
We do know that in Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, the Son, is revealed to us. We go nearly to the end of the Bible, to the First Letter of St. John, to find a definition of our God. "God is love. And he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." (1 John 4:16) God is love! This single statement helps us to begin to understand. This love is not some sentimental notion of love, but love that means a true emptying of oneself for the other—a true sacrifice. For that is really what love is all about. Why were you and I created? We were created because God loves us.
The whole history of the people of God that we read about in the Old Testament is a history of that love which continually surprised God's people as it does to us today. How often did they reject that love and go their own way, but God continually called them back, renewing the covenant, the promise, with them. He never abandoned them, and He will never abandon us.
And yet even that is not enough for God. As you know, God sent His Son into the world. Jesus Christ our Lord, in great humility, emptied Himself of His divinity, in order to take up this human nature of ours, to be born of a woman, to live among us, to suffer and die on the cross because He loved us. Jesus, our Lord, is the personification of the Father's love for us.
There is a bond of love that exists between God the Father and God the Son and that bond of love is so perfect that it is epitomized as a person of the Trinity: it is the Holy Spirit. On the night before he died, Jesus spoke to his disciples about sending the Spirit to them as a Comforter, to teach them all things; to confirm them; to strengthen them in the truth. And that Holy Spirit was poured out upon the world, as we remembered on Pentecost Sunday, in order that the relationship between God and us would be firmly
established from the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Sunday is our day. This is a day for you and for me to be reminded of the great truth that God has acted out of love to share His life with each and every one of us.
The night before He died Jesus gave Himself to us, as He gave us His body as our spiritual food and His blood as our spiritual drink. You and I this morning will offer to God the Father that gift of Jesus Christ. We will offer it through Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit to God the Father. We are empowered to make this gift because we have been born again of water and the Holy Spirit. We have been made the adopted children of our heavenly Father.
Source: Trinity Sunday--June 18, 2000 Fr. William Sisterman
St. Dunstan's Anglican Church, Minneapolis, MN
A General Confession from 1928 BCP Morning Prayer.
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may
hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
Bishop Edwin Tompkins