"An Act of Adoration"
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us adore our heavenly Father, who created us, who sustains us, who loves us
with an everlasting love, and gives us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the
face of Jesus Christ.
We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord.
Let us glory in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for
our sakes became poor; who became obedient unto death, even death on a cross;
who died and is alive forevermore; who opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers who is seated at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father; who will come again,
as Judge and King.
You are the King of glory, O Christ.
Let us rejoice in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, by whom
we are born into the family of God, and made members of the body of Christ, whose witness confirms us, whose wisdom teaches us, whose power enables us to do far
more abundantly than all we ask or think.
All praise to you, O Holy Spirit.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the
beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word
of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit,
that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now
and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON Genesis 1:1-2:4a
[At the beginning of time, God the Creator, God the powerful Word, and God the life-giving Spirit form the earth and all its inhabitants. God sees that all this created work is good and then rests on the seventh day.]
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep. While a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God call the light Day, and darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together in one place he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. And there was evening and morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; make and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and over dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth
when they were created.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
SECOND LESSON 2 Corinthians 13:11-13
[Paul closes a challenging letter to the Corinthians with an appeal to Christian fellowship grounded in the triune harmony of Christ’s grace, God’s love, and the Spirit’s partnership.]
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 be with you. Greet one another with
a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of
God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
HOLY GOSPEL Matthew 28:16-20
[After his resurrection, Jesus summons his remaining disciples and commissions them to baptize and teach all nations in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.]
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
HOMILY The Face of God Text: The Second Lesson Pr. Jim
HOMILY The Face of God Text: The Second Lesson
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
Four and a half year olds can come up with some unexpectedly profound observations and questions.
There’s a story of a lad who surprised his Dad with this one: “What holds the world up?” Thinking that he could get away with an off-the-wall answer, his father replied: “Son, the world rests on the back of a very large turtle.” The answer held for a little while, when the boy came back with: “And what holds the turtle up?” The father answered, “A very big tiger.” That lasted for about an hour: “Dad, what holds up the big tiger?” “An elephant,” the father said, now clearly aware of what he was in for. Sure enough, the five year old came back with the inevitable. But before he could ask, the father said, “Elephants, son, it’s elephants all the way down.”
There’s good reason to appreciate that story on this Feast of the Holy Trinity. On this Sunday of the Church’s Year of Grace, we come face to face with the immeasurable greatness of the living God. The question is not what holds the world up. It’s WHO holds it altogether … the world … the universe … and all things great and small. Who called it into being, forming order out of chaos and light out of darkness? How can we know such a power? How can we put a face on it?
The truth is … We can.
The God whom we have come to know and love and serve has revealed His face to us … the Trinitarian face. The face is not an abstraction, but speaks this blessing to us in the words of today’s text:
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit be with you all. [2 Corinthians 13:14]
The blessed Apostle Paul had good reason to appreciate this verse as he concluded his pastoral appeal to a far-from-perfect congregation in Corinth. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ … the love of God the Father … the fellowship of the Holy Spirit … that kind of language is far different from credal terms like substance, essence, transcendence and all the other words that might be useful in a philosophical or theological discussions. St. Paul knew those kinds of terms have no flesh and blood. You can’t put a face on them … you can’t sing a hymn of praise based on them … much less offer a prayer to so remote a god.
The God … whom we adore … is personal and very present to the world He loves. We’re on speaking terms with Him. Think of it! We speak to God as our Father, through the grace He has shown us in His Son Jesus Christ, by whose empowering Spirit we have been born anew through water and the word.
Triune God … three in one and one in three … on this feast day, think of the word Trinity as a road map … guiding us to destinations beyond all we could ask or desire. Think of Trinity as the unity of God in His love … “love all the way down” … full of grace and truth through and through … “all the way down” … for all time and eternity … God is love.
The mystery of that love begins with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord’s entire ministry is an outpouring of grace and love which no one could deserve. Agape is the New Testament word for that kind of love. Agape is a self-giving love that neither demands or expects anything in return. Agape love suffers … sacrifices … forgives and renews the world and every person within it whose heart opens up to God. Peter, Mary Magdalen, Zacchaeus, Barabbas, the mob at Calvary were all recipients of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And now your name and mine belongs in the long line of those who have received it through the centuries. Never wavering … never defeated … never absent … the grace of Christ is revealed in His death and resurrection. The Cross is the symbol of this freely given grace. Grace is the gift of God in Christ Jesus … “not of works, lest any man should boast.” Here and now, we are to be renewed in the truth of that love: we have a gracious God in Christ Jesus His Son. Jesus reveals the Trinity. God is love … all the way down … all the way through … now and forever.
Not only is God the Son, He is the Father. We use the word Father because it is Biblical. God is He, not It or She.
The Father’s love is expressed in the beauty and goodness of creation … the symmetry of nature … the change of seasons … the complexity of the human body … the vastness of the universe. “This is my Father’s world” an old hymn tells us. His creative work is an expression of His love for us.
It is also the reason for us to care for His creation and honor it. This good earth … given to us in love … asks only to be cared for by us as it supports us with the bounty God gives it. How we live and care for the earth is part of the love we show God our Father as we join Him in the care and use of all that He has put in our hands.
As we live our lives by faith, we can’t do our believing in Christ and our caring for our heavenly Father’s creation alone.
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit brings us the help we need and the community in which we exercise our faith and love. God’s Spirit is ever bringing people and things together! Luther put it this way in his explanation of the Third Article of the Creed …
[God the Holy Spirit] “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian
Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”
The work of the Spirit is creating faith in Jesus Christ as Savior from sin and Lord of our lives, and then uniting us with brothers and sisters who are also reborn in this faith. The community which the Spirit creates is a unity centered in God’s love that leavens our daily lives and relationships as it moves us to “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” [1 Corinthians 13].
On this Feast of the Blessed Trinity, we do not have to make God real. He takes care of that quite well Himself. In Jesus Christ, presented to us in sacred Scripture, and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, God shows us that He is a Father like no earthly father could ever be.
Today we again confess this truth by which we are saved. Our Creator has made each and every one of us. Our Redeemer has rescued us. Our Sanctifier has made a home in our hearts. That truth is ours today and every day, as we receive the blessing of the Holy and Blessed Trinity.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit be with you.
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. +
PRAYERS of THE CHURCH
Called into unity with one another, let us pray for The Church, the world, and all of God’s creation.
God of community, you form us as your Church. Guide all bishops, pastors, deacons, teachers, and all the baptized in sharing your life-giving good news with all the world. Strengthen us during these days of COVID-19 and civil unrest to be bold in our witness. Calm our nation with your peace. Bring healing and understanding to the racism and inequities that divide us. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of creation, you called everything into being. Sustain the world with your renewing care. Inspire us to care for waterways, plant life, birds, fish, insects, and mammals so that future generations may enjoy the goodness of your creation. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of counsel, all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to you. Encourage the leaders of this and every land to seek peace, equality, and unity. Instill wisdom in advocates who work toward social justice in often ignored communities. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of care, you created us in your image. Help us to see your likeness in one another. Open our eyes to see and attend all who are under doctor’s care especially John, Lucinda, Sara, and Shari. Console and heal those infected with COVID-19 through the caring hands of nurses, doctors, chaplains, counselors, and hospice workers. With your love, surround those who are homebound especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Rusty, Bonnie, Vernia, and Elma. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of companionship, you accompany this body of faith. Encourage young and old alike to use their talents and resources for building up the body of Christ here in this place. Give us the trust we need in the call process of our parish; set our hearts at ease with the knowledge that it is your Spirit who leads and guides us as we seek to identify the one you have chosen to serve among us as your under-shepherd. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of welcome, your Spirit calls us to reach out to others in our community. Continue to bless our campus ministry outreach to the faculty, staff, and students of SOU. Surprise us daily with unexpected grace as we join the students who worship with us, rejoicing in every blessing you send to us. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of life, your Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. As you have led your saints in all times and places, stir in us the desire to follow their examples of faithfulness, leading us from death to new life in you. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Receive our prayers, merciful God, and dwell in us richly, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray …
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 trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
by Pr. Jim
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you + peace. Amen.