Trinity Sunday

SUNDAY 7 JUNE 2020

Welcome and Introduction

Dear friends
I hope that you and the people who share your lives are all well. As the weeks tick past – we continue to look forward eagerly to the time when once again we will be able to go to the House of the Lord – there in the company and fellowship of God’s people, to share in worship and praise.
But for now – as a dispersed congregation of God’s people, we continue to worship in unity and faith as we each gather round a common act of worship.

So welcome to this time of worship – it is good that even if we do so at slightly different times – nonetheless – we are together as the People of God
God the Creator who gave us life and sustains us
God the Son who redeemed us and calls us
God the Spirit who energises and empowers us

Call to Worship
O Lord – our Lord
your greatness is seen in all the world
your praise reaches up to the heavens
it is sung by children and babes
O Lord – our Lord
Your greatness is seen in all the world
(Psalm 8 : 1, 2a, 9 – GNB)

Praise
Our first hymn today is an ancient and well loved morning hymn of praise which glorifies God as the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Father, we praise you, now the night is over
active and watchful, stand we all before you
singing, we offer prayer and adoration
thus we adore you

Monarch of all things, fit us for you mansions
banish our weakness, health and wholeness sending
bring us to heaven, where your saints united
joy without ending

All-holy Father, Son and equal Spirit
Trinity blessed, send us your salvation
yours is the glory, gleaming and resounding
through all creation

Prayers of Approach & Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray

Creator God
your greatness is seen in all the world
as you have created the infinity of space
the moon, the stars and the planets in the heavens
this planet where we live – rock upon layer of rock
weathered and planted across the ages – to become a place for living

all too often
we have abused or neglected your creation
exploiting it for profit, for corporate and personal gain
forgetting the stewardship of previous generations
and ignoring our responsibilities towards those yet to come
assuming that it is our own – when in reality
it is your creation – for which we have responsibilities
Lord in your mercy – forgive us we pray

Parent God
you made us – flesh and blood and spirit and bone
image of yourself – woman, man and child
you have embraced us in your love
and you have given us the capacity to not only to return that love
but to reflect it as we live and to share it freely with others – as we are given opportunity

all too often
we have failed to acknowledge
that we are part of your creation and that we have been made in your image
that though your love is a gift to be gratefully treasured – it is also a gift to be freely shared
Lord in your mercy – forgive us we pray

Redeemer God
you came in Jesus – flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone
you came in Jesus – to buy us back from our captivity
and into our true belonging together – as daughters and sons of heaven
living and loving – here on earth

all too often
we have been casual with our faith
embracing its comforts and pushing aside its challenges
leaning on it in times of difficulty and forgetting it when times are good
guarding it as personal and private and not sharing it as we are called to do
thinking that it is for this life only – when in truth it is a faith by which can never be constrained or limited by time or any other boundaries
Lord in your mercy – forgive us we pray

Companion God
as we live through this time of lock-down and restriction
we may be struggling and apprehensive –
worried and afraid
but still we seek to know your presence
to hear you speak – through words of Scripture and praise
to feel the embrace of your love – in the caring actions of people who share our lives
to sense your closeness s – in the comforting yet challenging glow of your Spirit within us

Great and wonderful God
receive our worship
forgive our failings
revive and inspire our commitment and
grant us the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

These prayers we bring in Jesus’ name and we continue to pray as he taught us :

Our Father, who art in Heaven: hallowed be Thy name thy kingdom come: thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our debts: as we forgive our debtors
and lead us not into temptation : but deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory : for ever.

AMEN

Scripture Reading : Matthew 28 : verses 16 to 20 (NRSV)
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Scripture Reading : 2 Corinthians 13 : verses 11 to 13 (NRSV)
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
AMEN

Thanks be to God for his Word shared among us

REFLECTION
The church in which Janice and I were baptized and nurtured in the faith from our earliest days – the church in which we met and were married – has an elegant steeple – part of which is square in shape and on each of the four sides – there is a clock.
I understand that the original design concept, dating back to times when the town was much smaller and more compact than it currently is, was that from all directions in the town, people would be able to see one of the clocks and thus know what time it was.
A grand idea – except that there were times when some or all of the clocks were not functioning and the Steeple Clocks became known as the “four-faced liar” – because all four were at different times and all were wrong !

Although the purpose and function of these clocks was exactly similar – in a sense – you could say that these clock faces could simultaneously display different aspects of time – being at the correct time – being ahead of time – being behind time.

Over successive weeks beginning on 1 March – we have followed through the seasons of Lent and Easter, culminating last week in Pentecost – and today, we observe Trinity Sunday.

The Trinity is one of the deep mysteries which is at the very heart of our Christian faith. The Trinity is God as three persons – yet one.
The Trinity shows the three faces of God – but unlike the Steeple Clock – they are three faces of absolute truth – and each of them tells us something of the truth of the only one living God.

God the Father – the creator – tell us about God of the universe who is powerful
God the Son – Jesus – shows us the love of God – the saving, redeeming quality of God
God the Spirit shows us the God who is with us through all the circumstances of life
and it is God the Spirit who brings the Father and the Son
into our hearts, our souls and our lives

The Gospel lesson today is the Great Commission which Jesus gives to his disciples – then to the eleven out of the original twelve and now – to his disciples of today – to you and me
A commission in which Jesus
sets out his authority
gives his disciples the remit for their continuing work of making disciples and baptizing in the name of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
and ends with the promise “and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age”.

Perhaps – in the deep mysteries of the faith – we might just happen to wonder how that promise of Jesus to be with us to the close of the age can be a reality in our lives

The answer lies in the reality that it is the Holy Spirit which has brought Christ to his people throughout the ages – and continues to do so today.

But to be effective in undertaking our part in fulfilling this commission – to have this power within us – there is a major implication for us – and that is the strength and depth of our commitment

We need to be committed to have the Spirit – to have God within us – to have the Spirit within us. It is then that we can fulfil that Great Commission to tell others about the Spirit who is within us.

The kind of relationship with God – that kind of commitment is illustrated in the following story.
“Years ago in the village church in Ormiston in East Lothian – as the Elders were taking the offering plates forward for dedication, a little boy sitting next to the aisle tugged at the sleeve of one of the men and whispered, “Please put the plate down on the floor.”
Bewildered, the Elder obeyed. Then the boy proceeded to step into the plate.
This was his way of saying to Jesus “I give my whole self to you, not only the money in my pocket, but my time, my strength, my whole life.”

That boy was Robert Moffat, the great missionary to Africa and the father-in-law of David Livingstone.”
On this Trinity Sunday – let us challenge ourselves as we ask the questions
Am I willing to (figuratively) step into the offering plate ?
Am I willing to give myself so that the Spirit of God can rest in me
and then I can proclaim that Spirit to the world?

AMEN

Prayers of Thanksgiving and for Others

Let us pray

Eternal Lord God
mystery though it is to us
in faith we acknowledge you as One God in Three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Father God — thank you
that we know you as the Creator of the universe and this world
who birthed the mountains and valleys – the seas and the rivers
who set in place the rhythm of the seasons and the moments of time
who holds all things of space and nature in the setting of eternity

Christ the Son – thank you
that you became of our flesh – yet you were the image of God
that you shared our humanity – yet were one with the Father
that you are loving to the point of death — yet you are the bringer of life

Holy Spirit – thank you
that you are mysterious and beyond our complete understanding
that you are free – yet dwell in each of us
that you guide and inspire us
that you fill our hearts and empower our lives

Loving God
Father – Son and Holy Spirit
for all you are
for all you do
we give you our thanks and praise
now and always

Great and mighty God
we bring our prayers for the church
here and throughout the world
that it might continue to proclaim Your truth
whilst continuing to seek its unity in You.

we bring our prayers for the world
created and grounded in you
that we may seek to repair the damage that human activity and misuse have caused
that all life may be valued and all resources shared sustainably
especially today we bring our prayers for communities in many countries – including the USA and our own country – where there is prejudice and intolerance of others
due to race, skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, disability
or any other factor by which some would judge others to be different or inferior
may outbursts of violence which display intolerance and hatred cease – and may they be replaced with healing, mutual understanding and gracious acceptance

we bring our prayers for people in other lands
those who live in fear,
lives blighted with famine disease and violence
that they may find respite
that those who seek to help them may be strengthened as you watch over them.

we bring our prayers for our nation and the communities within it
both geographical communities and communities of interest and like-minded people
that those who hold positions of high office and leadership — may be motivated by the well-being and welfare of all – and not just by personal ambition or sectarian interest
that those called to govern at any level – locally and nationally — may do so in truth and justice
that you may give them wisdom in all their deliberations
that there may be a greater understanding of — and effort to build and restore harmony where there is division within our nation and across the nations

we bring our prayers for those who are lost
people who inhabit our streets — that they may know your love and we might be truly called to care for them
people who are trapped in any kind of addiction
people who see no purpose in their living
we bring our prayers for those who are suffering from any form of ill health
be that of body or mind
that they may find healing, comfort and rest
that they may be have hope and be surrounded by love and care

We bring our prayers of thanks
for people who have gone before us
who have taught and encouraged us to follow in the way of Christ Jesus
and who now rest in your eternal presence of peace and joy

Gracious God
accept these prayers uttered in words — and those held in the silence of our hearts

Lord God — hear us through the grace of Christ Jesus and in the power of the Spirit.
AMEN

Praise
Our closing hymn is “Holy, holy holy, Lord God almighty”

1 Holy, holy, holy ! Lord God Almighty !
early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty !
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity !

2 Holy, holy, holy ! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

3 Holy, holy, holy ! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee
perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

4 Holy, holy, holy ! Lord God Almighty !
all thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy ! merciful and mighty !
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity !

Blessing

May the blessing of God : Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with us – and with all for whom we have prayed
now and always
AMEN