The First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday
Morning Prayer – 8:00 AM
Holy Eucharist – 10:00 AM
Evening Prayer – 5:00 PM
The Sunday Service Sheet is found HERE
There are often times that I am compelled to start writing a sermon without too clear of an indication where it is that sermon will end up. Today, as I prepare for Trinity Sunday, is one of those times. Now of course, I just exposed a huge stumbling block that those who ascend pulpits on this day unintentionally erect. How dare we think it is up to us to prepare for anything. The Holy Trinity of God is about perfect relationship; and because it is, it is about entering in. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less. Each of us have been entrusted with a very small part of that divine relationship that comes into human recognition when it is the Church gathers for Holy Eucharist. That is why unhappy division, divorce and disunity are such terrible things. Each distorts if not frustrates the perfect Unity that is God’s alone to give and ours to enjoy as well as emulate.
Trinity Sunday is not about understanding but about our celebrating. Today we celebrate the mystery of God, revealed to us as three-yet-one. There is no way to understand it, only to stand in awe of it. Thousands of gallons of ink have been spilled over the centuries trying to “explain” the Doctrine of Holy Trinity. We’ll leave that particular calisthenic to the theologians who exist behind seminary walls. Our privilege has and soon will be again to enter into the relationship of Holy Eucharist. That alone is the relationship that defines us as more than creatures because it defines our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one God, one Lord, in Trinity of Persons and in Unity of substance; and we celebrate the one and equal glory of Him.
The point is and always will be worship. Holy Trinity defines our relationship one to another and to His Unity of three persons. Within this relationship, as defined by our Old Testament lesson from the Book of Genesis, we stand above created order within an existence that is crowned with glory and honor. We are made a little lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2:7). The priorities of our lives, even our quite chaotic and disordered lives of today, are God’s and not ours alone. For that reason we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto God (BCP pg. 341).
How difficult that is to accomplish to the glory of God when it appears that all we know, count on and cherish as foundational to our favored existence is coming apart at the seams. To the people of God Holy Eucharist is essential. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to ensure that the expression of our altar once again pours into your lives, into your hands, and into the world that God created, Christ redeems, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies. One God, in Unity of Substance, and in Trinity of persons.
“Oh, but we can worship God anywhere.” Yes, but not as we are expected by our Lord to be who called us into Himself through the great Mystery of Holy Eucharist. Sacraments are intended to be effected before an altar. It is not only the bread and wine that is being transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, we are being transformed as well. By entering in, we, too, are being made into a sacrament that is intended to go forth into the world to “do all such good works as (our heavenly Father) has prepared for us to walk in” (BCP pg. 339).
As an example, I had need to explain our entering into this relationship of Holy Trinity just this past week. My desire was to hold up how our very existence is defined by a great deal more than a doctrine, a creed, or an ecclesiastical structure. All of those are important, especially when articulated well, but thanks be to God, there is much more in which we are entrusted. We are entrusted with the very same relationship that exists between Holy Trinity.
I shared with a childhood friend this past week how when we were growing up in Southwest Florida the houses once had very large and quite useful front porches (verandas). Those walking down the street along the side-walk were addressed respectfully, reverently, and honorably for the position they held in our lives (doctrine). A few were invited to join the family within the protective shade of the sweeping front porch in interest of lingering; they may even have been offered a glass of iced-tea (creeds). Even fewer were invited by the family to enter the house and make their way to the living room, family room, or kitchen. Among those who were, only a handful may have been invited to share a meal (ecclesiastical structure).
However, there is one room that is too sacred and too holy (set apart for God’s particular use) that only the most immediate of family; defined by husband, wife and children, may enter; a room that must remain hidden from the view of the casual observer. That room of sanctity within those homes is the bedroom (Holy Eucharist). So, yes, you can worship God anywhere, but why would you? Why would you settle for the sidewalk when you can be celebrating the life we have been given so fully by all that exists between our Father and Holy Mother Church?
As we are a people of Holy Eucharist, your parish Vestry is working hard to satisfy all the requirements that have been set before those churches who desire to open their doors to public worship once the Governor of New Jersey lifts his executive order. Having already made plans when it comes to defining appropriate social distancing within our sacred space during times of sacred liturgy as well as best practices, we are awaiting approval of those plans by our Diocesan. Once we have that approval, and the Governor lifts his order, Christ Church’s Invitation to Public Worship will be forwarded to all our parish families. It is a detailed account on how we may safely remain on exodus together as we bring glory to God as heirs of His eternal kingdom. Because unbeknownst to others who inhabit this time and place, this is exactly where it is we are suppose to end up today – Trinity Sunday in 2020.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.