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Monday, May 20, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: 3-is-1, 1-is-3, Say WHAT?? New Math?? Edition

I once remember a joke about a gentlemen who much preferred attending worship on Trinity Sunday than Easter.  Why?  Because he figured any preacher worth her salt could try and explain the Resurrection.  But to explain the Trinity on the other hand........

Here is one attempt
As we approach Trinity Sunday, I suggest we need to start with prayer (OK I suggest we should always start with prayer, but when needing to preach on the unexplainable and seemingly nonsensical we REALLY should):
Holy God, Creation's Artist:
tiny infants
babble your praises,
     as you reach out
     and heal us with
          the touch of your fingertips.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ, Gateway to grace:
you make right
     what we have messed up;
you build your kingdom
     on the foundation of our faltering faith;
you stand with us
     in the midst of our suffering.
We adore you.

Holy Spirit, Playmate of justice:
you splash through
the sea-puddles
     in Eden's backyard,
tracking the mud
into Kingdom's kitchen,
     leading us to the Table.
We open our hearts to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father. . .

And now, back to planning worship...
The RCL readings for Trinity Sunday Year C can be found here

Where do you go with Trinity Sunday?  It is an odd thing.  The ecumenical community does not seem to have Sundays dedicated to other doctrines (although there are some that have given a whole chunk of Ordinary Time to Creation).  And frankly there are lots of other doctrines that are easier to preach and teach about than the Trinity.  Do you preach on the passages and ignore the idea of the doctrine?  DO you try to preach about what the doctrine means?  And what if you are not strongly Trinitarian???

Well that clarifies it....
The passages this year give us Proverbs and the nature of Wisdom/Sophia.  Or a Psalm about God's Sovereignty.  Or Paul talking about endurance and hope.  Or John's Jesus promising the gift of the Spirit at some future time.

Where is the Spirit that blew into our lectionary so noisily last Sunday blowing you this week?  What word of hope and Gospel do you have to share with folks this week?  What questions, ponderings, rants do you need to share with a supportive community?  Any of those and more can be found in the comments---but only if y'all put them there!


  1. I think I'm going to do something with Proverbs...though I have no idea what just yet. I'm playing with the idea that there are some words near the end of the selection that can be translated differently, i.e. "daily I was beside him like a confidant" (as opposed to "master worker") and "dancing/frolicking" rather than "rejoicing"...I like how that might help tie together the idea of the Trinity as always in an eternal dance a la Eastern Orthodox understanding.

    Of course, we're having a hymn sing, so I can't rely on the music to make the point if I don't manage it in the sermon....

    FYI, all, there's some great Trinity liturgy up on LiturgyLink!

  2. Some of that liturgy (great or otherwise) is mine, written last week. I'm headed towards preaching John, with an angle from the Common English Bible rendering of verse 12: "I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now." There is a lot we can't handle now, and the uncontrollable events of life seem to be begging for an approach to the Trinity that includes unpacking theodicy, which sounds like a trick bag on my second Sunday in a congregation I will serve only temporarily. But there it is. Where is this awesome, tripartite God we proclaim in the midst of the tornado?

  3. I am not going with Trinity Sunday. I am sort-of doing Pentecost Part B and positing the sermonic question "Now what?". Easter has come and gone, the Spirit has blown into our lives, now what do we do?

    The sermon title is Sent Out in Jesus' Name, I am using some stuff from John and Matthew that come closest to the Pentecost moment as described by Luke-Acts. My early thoughts are here

    1. While I borrowed most of my liturgy from another source this week, here is a Prayer for and Assurance of Grace

  4. Last year I searched archives (Sermons that Work etc.) and published sermons for a Trinity Sunday homily that a lay worship leader could read while I was away. My takeaway: most were astoundingly boring even to read to myself, much less aloud. Vowed to preach texts, not doctrine.

    I like the Working Preacher-Sermon Brainwave idea of "How is God known?" Through wisdom (Proverbs), creation (psalm), incarnation--or through mystery. Might play with that immanent/transcendent tension, and what's comforting, revelatory, or incomplete about both. Starting with the same v.12 question, Martha. Do we want a God we can handle?

  5. I often enjoy the creative challenge of preaching Trinity Sunday, but I'm not quite feeling it this week. I'm going to preach Romans 5, which is lovely and dense and I haven't preached in years (in fact I think I've never preached it in my current congregation, which means it's been more than 12 years). I'm not preaching towards the trinity with it, at least not that I know of.

    It felt so good to make it through this last weekend, with numerous church-related and writing responsibilities, that it's been hard to regroup and move forward. Am hoping to feel less distracted and more inspired soon!


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