SUNDAY of THE HOLY TRINITY
First Sunday after Pentecost
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
660 Frances Lane
Ashland, Oregon 97520
The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim Pastor
A warm welcome to all who worship here this morning, especially to our guests and visitors. Today we gather around Word and Sacrament through which God equips, directs, and supports his people in the mission and ministry of his Kingdom. All that God promised in his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, come together by the power of the Spirit as we worship. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book on the table in the front entrance hall as you leave. If you have no church home of your own, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Come to worship with us again and often!
This day is a sort of “hinge day” that begins the Sundays of Pentecost and the second half of The Church’s Year of Grace. These Sundays will carry us through the end of November, a time during which we “backup” and follow the ministry of Jesus as he traveled and taught, interacting with people in various wonderful ways. He was proclaiming that in Him the Kingdom of God had come. He was living out the truth that through him God’s New Creation was coming into being. As we follow Jesus through his ministry during the Pentecost Season, we are re-energized to follow him every day of our lives. In doing so, we proclaim to the world that God’s New Creation in Jesus is living, active and growing during this “green season.”
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
O God, our Father, whose praise is in The Church, uplift our souls to the holiness of your presence that with pure hearts we may adore you and worship you with joy-filled lips; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING TRINITY SUNDAY +
RE-SERVICE MUSIC O Blessed, Holy Trinity LSB 876
Voices Raised to You LSB 795
When we say God is the Triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today. When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the One who sent him.
PRELUDE Holy God, We Praise Thy Name—Larry Schakley
Tatsiana Asheichyk, Piano
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Turn to me and be saved,” says the Lord. “For I am God and there is no other.”
If we confess our sins, God, who is merciful, will forgive our sins and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us seek forgiveness.
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +
Most merciful God, we have been unworthy and disobedient children. We
have ignored your Fatherly admonition, disregarded our Savior’s instruct-tion, grieved the Holy Spirit. We are not worthy to be called your children. But we beg you—of your fatherly compassion, by your saving merits, at your inviting call—to have mercy on us and grant us forgiveness.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him
might not perish but have eternal life. To those who believe in Jesus Christ, he gives the power to become the children of God and gives them the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share
the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.
THE PASSING OF PEACE
HYMN of PRAISE Holy, Holy, Holy LSB 507
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!
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art, and evermore shall be.
Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou are holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
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!
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.
+ WORD +
[Whenever we worship, God speaks, and we listen. We hear the Word of God
read aloud in our midst, bringing us both God’s judgment and grace.]
FIRST LESSON Isaiah 6:1-8
[This reading narrates Isaiah’s vision of the Lord surrounded by angels. They sing “Holy, holy, holy,” a song The Church sings at the beginning of the great thanksgiving. This liturgical text invites The Church and all creation to sing in praise of God’s glory. That glory is God’s mercy toward sinners.]
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the
altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed, and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
SECOND LESSON Romans 8:12-17
[In describing the new life of faith, Paul refers to all three persons of the Trinity: the Spirit leads us to recognize that we are children of God and joint heirs with Christ the Son.]
Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the
body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC Come Thou Almighty King—arr. Cindy Barry
HOLY GOSPEL John 3:1-17
[Jesus’ miracles prompt Nicodemus to visit him in secrecy. Jesus tells him about being born of the Spirit and about the Son who has been sent by God to save.]
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God. Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can
enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet do not understand these things?”
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
SOLO This Is My Father’s World—Terra Beata
SunRose Winslow, soloist; Tatsiana Asheichyk, piano
HOMILY Grace and Truth—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson
Awkward & Embarrassing?
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
Trinity Sunday is kind of awkward and embarrassing. Take today’s Gospel Lesson … for example.
It must have been awkward and embarrassing for Nicodemus to come to Jesus secretly “by night” … so as not to be seen. That’s not the kind of thing “a ruler of the Jews” would normally resort to doing.
It must have been awkward and embarrassing for this “man of the Pharisees” to address Jesus as Rabbi and admit: “We know that you are a teacher sent from God.” After all, most Pharisees were pretty well convinced that if God had anything to say, He had already said it through the prophets of old and that they … more than anybody …were the caretakers, interpreters, and enforcers of God’s Word and revelation. Yet … Nicodemus admits, “No one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Except of course, that it’s understood that “the presence of God” is with us—the Pharisees.
So why did Nicodemus come to Jesus? Was he curious? Was he struggling with what he heard from this young Rabbi and what he believed? Or … did he come to recruit Jesus into the party of the Pharisees? After all that would have been quite a coup to get Jesus of Nazareth … that popular preacher and wonder-worker … on their side.
With all that in mind, it might have been well worth the awkward embarrassment of a nighttime visit and a few well-aimed compliments.
But what was most awkward, and embarrassing was the reception Nicodemus got. Jesus didn’t even begin by saying something polite or respectful like, “How nice of you to come,” or “Thank you for the compliment.” Instead, He looked Nicodemus in the eye and said in effect, “You people are dead wrong.” “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” That was a putdown—and Nicodemus knew it. He tried to shrug it off with a crack about “entering a second time into the mother’s womb.” But Jesus wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit,” Jesus says. “Born of water and the Spirit”—by the sole activity of God.
Now that was something hard for a Pharisee to swallow. And it isn’t much easier to stomach in our day. I don’t know if you noticed it, but when it comes to speaking or preaching about the Spirit … preachers tend to get tongue-tied … at least I find that true of myself. That’s because I don’t really understand the concept myself … even though I’m supposed to be an ordained pastor and theologian. Over the 53 years of ministry since my graduation from the seminary, I have to admit that God is beyond my comprehension … much less the Trinity. And that’s embarrassing. It’s like a surgeon admitting that he/she is ignorant of anatomy … or a banker that doesn’t understand finances … or a weatherman who does understand meteorology and weather patterns.
Hmmmmm. That was Jesus’ illustration, wasn’t it?
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do
not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who
is born of the Spirit.”
It’s not something you understand. It’s not something to be discussed … dissected … analyzed … comprehended … and eventually mastered. It’s something that happens to you … like weather or … being born.
I don’t remember being born, do you? I remember what my parents told me about my birth … the day, the time, and the place. And, I had to take their word for it … just as our children do. “Very truly, I tell you,” Jesus says, “we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen.” When it comes to being born that may be all right, but when it comes to dealing with God … well, it’s awkward and embarrassing … as awkward and embarrassing as it was for Nicodemus.
But although I don’t remember being born, I know that I was … it’s obvious. The results are rather evident. “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,” and sometimes you see the results of it too … whirly-gigs spinning … kites flying … and tree limbs swaying … you see the results.
The results? “That whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” That’s what God’s truth and grace is finally all about. That’s why “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” That’s why Jesus was lifted up on the Cross the way Moses’ serpent was in the wilderness. That’s why the Holy Spirit continues to confront us in mysterious but effective ways … beginning with water and continuing through bread and wine and the blowing wind that takes the form of words—“that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
Awkward and embarrassing? You bet. Nicodemus found that out that night. And we? … we have Trinity Sunday to show it to us as well. It’s awkward and embarrassing to come into the presence of the Lord and be told, “You are dead wrong,” … reputation and compliments notwithstanding. It’s awkward and embarrassing to be told that eternal life isn’t a matter of our own doing … or even of understanding … but of believing by the power of the Spirit. Luther put it this way:
“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus
Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by
the Gospel and enlightened me with his gifts.“
It’s awkward and embarrassing to stand condemned in ignorance and error before the One who is the “holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts.” It’s just plain awkward and embarrassing.
But not as awkward and embarrassing as the alternative- … to perish! God’s put-down … one that we confront every Sunday … has a purpose: not to condemn, but to save.
Apparently Nicodemus learned that. Besides his appearance here in John chapter 3, we meet Nicodemus two more times in the Gospel of John. In chapter 7 … it’s Nicodemus alone who raises his voice against his fellow Pharisees to insist that Jesus ought not simply be condemned outright but listened to and given a fair hearing. After our Lord’s crucifixion, it was Nicodemus who came forward … along with Joseph of Arimathea … to claim the body of Him who had been “lifted up, like a serpent in the wilder-ness.”
Apparently somewhere along the line it worked … this business of being born from above. The wind of the Spirit had blown. Nicodemus found himself reborn as a child of God … almost in spite of himself … one who had come to believe not only that “God so loved the world” but especially that “God so loved Nicodemus that he gave his only Son, so that Nicodemus, believing in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If Trinity Sunday is awkward and embarrassing, so is being born, when you think about it. But look at what it gets you!
“For God so loved the world ….”
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life + everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
Confident in God’s steadfast love through Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, let us pray for The Church, the world, and all those in need.
We pray, O God, for your holy Church around the world. Revitalize and renew us, that we may be reborn once again through the waters of baptism and the blowing wind of your Spirit. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of life, we give you thanks for your power revealed to us in creation; for fields and streams, valleys and mountains, rivers and seas. Restore your creation to wholeness so that cities and towns, countryside and wilderness may abound with life. Cultivate in us care for all that you have made so that all the earth may be sustained for future generations as well as our own. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of the nations, we pray for all world leaders and rulers that led by your Spirit, they may work toward a world where all your children enjoy justice, mercy, and peace. We pray especially for the Middle East. Enable diplomatic negotiations to maintain the current cease fire and bring an end to all hostility. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of faithfulness, we pray for all who cry out to you. Restore to wholeness all who are in any need this day especially Rusty (under hospice care), Shari (continued cancer therapy), Bert (under doctor’s care for cardiac heart problems), those suffering from COVID-19, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as God’s people as we pray for them. Be close to the hearts of all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Comfort Marguerite, MaryAnn and Mike who mourn the death of Charlie (beloved husband and father) who received the crown this past Monday. Sanctify their tears and even now uplift their eyes to the joys and promise of eternal life promised to all who live and die in Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of love, we pray for this community of faith, that the splendor of your majesty and holiness may be glorified through our worship and our relationships with one another.
Renew our ministries and life together in the midst of the pandemic challenges that we face. By your Holy Spirit guide the members of our Call Committee as they prepare to interview a new list of potential candidates for the pastoral office of our parish. Give us patience and keep us mindful that in due time you will provide us with a pastor yet unknown to us but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of hope, we give you thanks for those who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now raise their song of praise in your presence. We also remember those
who serve in our armed forces and those whose lives have been lost due to the horrors of war. By your Spirit, bring us also to dwell in your house forever. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gracious God, maker of all things, through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts. With them we offer ourselves to your
service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that
you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus
Christ, our Savior. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son.
He is your Light, shining in our darkness
And revealing to us your mercy and might.
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take and eat; this is my + body which is given
for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
And gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my + blood
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness
of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.
Remembering, therefore, his preaching and healing,
his dying and rising, and his promise to come again,
we await that day when all the universe will rejoice in
your holy and life-giving light.
Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.
By your Spirit bless us and this meal, that refreshed with
this heavenly food, we may be light for the world, revealing
The brilliance of your Son.
Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.
Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father,
with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever. Amen.
Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach 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.
The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.
Distribution Music Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise LSB 680
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
We give you thanks, gracious God, that you have once again fed us with the body and blood of Christ. Through this mystery, send us to proclaim your promise to a world in need; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
SONG Praise God, for Whom All Blessings Flow
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD who die in the Lord: Charley Means, MaryAnn Neely's Dad, died at 101 years old on May 24th 2021 in Kelso Washington. Cards can be sent to Marguerite Means at 104 Corduroy Rd. Unit 108, Kelso Washington 98626.
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
POST SERVICE MUSIC Go out with joy W&P 48
+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +