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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lectionary Leanings -- Creating the Three-in-One Edition

 We Pray:
God of delight,
you Wisdom sings your Word
at the crossroads where humanity and divinity meet.
Invite us into your joyful being
where you know and are known
in each beginning,
in all sustenance,
in every redemption,
that we may manifest your unity
in the diverse ministries you entrust to us,
truly reflecting your triune majesty
in the faith that acts,
in the hope that does not disappoint,
and in the love that endures. Amen.

I once read about a man who wasn't crazy about getting to church on Easter but never missed Trinity Sunday.  His reason?  He knew that the church folks could come up with an explanation for Easter.  But he always wanted to see if the preacher could explain the unexplainable Trinity.

The Lectionary texts for Trinity Sunday this year are here.  In year A we get the hymn of Creation (seriously, it is so hymnic--does anybody have it set to music?), a blessing from Paul to the folks in Corinth, and the Matthean Commission to baptize in the name of Father Son and Holy Ghost.

So how do you explain the unexplainable?   What do you do with Children?  Anybody copying St. Patrick and bringing in a shamrock?  Or are you from a lower Church tradition where you have more flexibility to ignore the Trinity Sunday designation?  How would you preach the Creation Hymn without getting into the Creation-Evolution/Faith-Science debate?  This site has some great icons to go with the Genesis reading.

Let us know in the comments where you are heading, or at least where you think you are heading, this early in the week.

Prayer from here
Stained Glass Window from here (the text with it is kind of different though)
Shield graphic is from here


  1. Wow, I'm first? Really?

    So my parish is "Trinity Episcopal Church" and last year I began what I hope will be a tradition of celebrating this Sunday as our "patronal feast." I did preach on the Trinity last year (honestly my first time preaching on the Trinity in the six years I'be been ordained--how did thathappen!) but this year I'm going to preach on the great commission because it is so very related to where I've been going thematically lately--thinking about why we are here and how we will be church here and now.

    We also have a baptism b/c I wasn't here on is the last day of a week's vacation.
    Is it bad that I'm already anticipating the rest of my vacation in August?

  2. RDM,
    I also am anticipating August holidays. We are doing a service celebrating church camping so I am only using the Genesis passage--preaching on the Trinity wil wait for another year

  3. I'm not a fan of Trinity sermons - - giving them for sure, and listening to them often. Like the man in the story I don't think the Trinity can be explained, and it feels like, in my experience and pathetic attempts, a bumbled mess of words trying to work something out.

    I'll sing the "big" Trinity hymns, and work from the lectionary texts, but my sermon won't be an attempt to explain anything. I'm going to preach the Great Commission story, but not some much the "in the name of the Father-Son-Holy Spirit" part as the focus.

    I'm sort of drawn to the statement that some of the eleven doubted. I'm not sure if it's a dichotomy "Some worshiped and the others doubted" or if it could be a both/and "They all worshiped" and "Some of them doubted." I think I want to focus in on the diversity of the faith even among the followers of Jesus who still are all given the same Great Commission. Something about it depending not on our faith (and maybe our "name"), but on the faith and the name of God (maybe even God in community if I want to get to the Trinity somehow, although I don't feel it's required).

  4. SheRev -- BOTH/AND!!!!

    what I say about the trinity is that it was an experience of God before it was a doctrine about God. So work on the experience of the trinity rather than trying to explain is.

    that being said, I'm not preaching this Sunday. and I'm ok with that.

  5. I am glad this is a written group, as I have very little voice at present voice [the joy of a winter cold].
    I’m off lectionary for the few weeks between now and some annual leave in July. After this Sunday I am focussing on the 1 Corinthians reading and psalm from Pentecost Sunday, for recognition of Church Council Members and the gifts of all; then a thanksgiving service where instead of bringing fresh produce people will be encouraged to bring food for a community service that works with young people at risk of homelessness, which we support on a regular basis.
    This year Uniting Church Anniversary clashes with Trinity Sunday; so I had already decided to go with UCA anniversary. The Assembly [our national body] has put together some resources that cover 3 weeks; I'm collapsing them into one. This means the 3 DVD segments [about 3 minutes each] will be in place of the sermon. Now that I have not much voice, I am pleased I made this decision last week.
    Here is a Trinity sermon from a few years ago.
    For a children’s talk one year I used a Mars Bar. Each part is delicious on its own, but you need all parts together to get the Mars Bar experience.

  6. After a very cerebral lectionary study group discussion this afternoon, I am more convinced than ever that should be "God Sunday" rather than "Trinity Sunday." With the exception of that man who came every year, I doubt few in our congregations are itching to know more about the trinity. But, I'll bet lots of them are hungry to know more about how and when and where we encounter God.

    As for the children, I'd be inclined to invite them to help light a three wicked pillar candle for God who created us, Jesus who loves and forgives us, and God's Spirit with us always. (To my surprise, the local candle shop had several of them!)

    Or, I'd break in just after the singing/praying/saying of something trinitarian used every week - maybe the Doxology. After a brief rehash of what we are saying, I'd instigate a do-over. I'll bet worshipers of all ages would sing/pray/say that more thoughtfully for a couple of weeks at least.

  7. I might use this song "One Voice" from the Wailin Jenny's.

    Here are the lyrics:
    One Voice (Ruth Moody)

    This is the sound of one voice
    One spirit, one voice
    The sound of one who makes a choice
    This is the sound of one voice

    This is the sound of voices two
    The sound of me singing with you
    Helping each other to make it through
    This is the sound of voices two

    This is the sound of voices three
    Singing together in harmony
    Surrendering to the mystery
    This is the sound of voices three

    This is the sound of all of us
    Singing with love and the will to trust
    Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
    This is the sound of all of us

    This is the sound of one voice
    One people, one voice
    A song for every one of us
    This is the sound of one voice
    This is the sound of one voice

  8. Purple, thanks for the Walin Jenny song. Will google it.

    I'm going with "image of God", male and female God created them, and maybe working off "the disabled God" largely due to a comment I heard recently from a blind parishioner who occasionally feels at odds with the scripture (don't think she's the only one).

  9. Preaching the Epistle text to a church in need of some real healing and some real forgiveness.
    Not saying much about the BIG THREE in sermon, but covering it in liturgy and adding in a Father's Day Litany for good measure/
    Children's moment/time/message/sermon will be telling story of Betty Lou Blue. See the link under children at textweek.

  10. Y'all are giving me lots of food for thought. I'm supply preaching at a place I've been before. I'm pretty sure the regular preacher was snickering under her breath when I agreed to come on Trinity Sunday.

    I selected the Genesis passage and am loving Diane's idea, and also Carolyn's, about pointing out trinitarian (am I supposed to capitalize that?) moments in our worship.

    MUST get it written before Friday, as I have a Friday-Saturday Presbytery meeting that is three hours' drive each way.

    Thanks for the ideas.

  11. Oh right, Father's Day. I had forgotten, since it is rarely a big thing in churches where I have worshipped

  12. I am really excited about a plan I have for our family service. We're using an adaptation of Genesis that involves a congregational response. I'll then have 7 stations set up representing the 7 days of creation. At each will be a symbol of that day's work for each person to take and put in/on a little party favor box, plus a question to go with the theme. For example, for the first day, light, I have little birthday candles; for the animals on the 5th day there are animal stickers to put on the box, etc. The questions are things like "How would you describe the sky?" and "What's your favorite animal?" We'll be pushed for time, but I think kids and adults alike will love it.

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  14. I, too, have just been thinking about Father's Day. We talk a lot (probably as a group of mostly women) about prayers inclusive of all women's experiences on Mother's Day. Has anyone written or come across one that is similar for Father's day? I'll probably work on one later in the week. Who am I kidding? That will be Sunday morning!

  15. Carolyn, I too have the feeling that while very few of my folk will arrive thinking 'The Trinity, what's it all about?', plenty will be asking pertinent questions about life & suffering & how this God business all fits in.
    No sermon yet, but a bit of a rant here:

    Sorry, can never remember how to do the clever link-y thing. Tch.


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