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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

Trinity Sunday Year A June 7, 2020

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matthew 28:16-20

Today is Trinity Sunday. Over centuries of time, the Christian community has experienced “God in three persons, blessed Trinity,” as the beloved hymn states. We experience God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or, in gender-neutral language, as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.

Our opening reading today is a wonderful description of the creation. It dates back 2500 years. As we read or listen to this passage, we can visualize how God called the creation into being. At every stage, there is that wonderful refrain, “And God saw that it was good.” God the Creator.

The second person of the trinity is Christ, our Redeemer. As time went on, and it did not take a great deal of time, we humans began to go astray. Cain kills Abel very early in the story. And God loves us so much that God’s heart breaks to see what we are doing to each other.

So God, who is powerful enough to call the universe into being, God, who loves us beyond our ability to grasp the depth of that love, comes among us. He is born to Mary and Joseph, people of deep faith, and great courage, and he grows up in a little out of the way place called Nazareth and learns the carpenter’s trade.

When he becomes an adult, he begins his ministry, choosing twelve close followers we call the apostles. His message is clear “love one another as I have loved you.” Then, as now, some people in high places are threatened by the power of God’s love, and our Lord is assassinated on a cross, a form of punishment reserved for the lowest of the low.

He dies a terrible death, and two members of the ruling Council ask Pontius Pilate for permission to take his body and give it a reverent, loving burial. They risk death to do that. We do not know what happens to them after that point.

The Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus descended to the dead. He loves us so much that he wants to touch every heart and life with that love, even those who have died and gone to the underworld. On that first Easter morning, when the women go to anoint his body, the tomb is empty.  He is risen. Mary Magdalene sees him, then he appears to the others. And then, fifty days later, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends on all of them with the wind of the Spirit the ruach, and sets their hearts on fire so that they can speak of God’s love heart to heart with people from all over the known world. 

In today’s gospel, our Lord sends the disciples and us out to baptize others and welcome them into the community of love that he is building. In our reading from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, after reminding them of all the ways we live together as a loving community, he calls us once again to “live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” And Paul ends with one of the earliest threefold blessings, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion, the koinonia of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three Persons who are different, yet are One. Three expressions of the one God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Every time there is a positive act of creation, whether it is writing a novel, baking a pie, planting a garden, creating a vaccine that prevents people from getting s disease, or developing a treatment for a dreadful disease, God is present in that process. God the Creator.

Whenever people come together and listen to each other and make peace with each other and work to make life better for everyone, God the Redeemer and Reconciler, is there.

God the Holy Spirit is God working in us and in the world to bring about God’s shalom of peace, love, and justice.. Whenever and wherever people work together to bring peace, love, and justice, God is there. 

Jesus tells us that he has come among us as one who serves. He calls us to be servants in his name. Our Commissioner of Public Safety, Michael Schirling, who served for many years as Chief of Police in Burlington, said recently that police officers are called to serve their communities. To paraphrase, he said that, if a police officer is not in it to serve, he or she should consider another vocation.

There are two key words in connection with this thought of service, and here I am indebted to the teaching of one of my beloved mentors, the Rev. David W. Brown, who served as Rector of Christ Church, Montpelier. We speak of people who have authority. The word “authority” is derived from the Latin root auctoritas, meaning authorship, creativity, calling new things into being as God does at the Creation, bringing freedom, as God did at the Exodus.

Too often, when we think of authority, we make the error of confusing it with imperium, the Latin root for tyranny. Tyranny does not seek to create. It seeks to control, intimidate, and imprison. It does not bring freedom. As David used to say, tyranny is the boot of the dictator coming down on the people and crushing them.

This distinction between auctoritas  and imperium is crucial to the nature of God and to the ideal of leadership in God’s kingdom, God’s shalom.The nature of God is auctoritas, not imperium. The nature of God is to be creative, to free people from bondage of any kind, to bring love, harmony, justice, freedom, and life rather than hate, fear, division, bondage, and death. The boot of the tyrant coming down on the ordinary people is not true authority, not consistent with God’s shalom. The use of power in any way that is not creative, freeing, serving, unifying, and healing is not true authority and is not consistent with God’s shalom.

As the beloved hymn says, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Our God is a God of creativity, freedom, love, reconciliation, healing, servanthood, unity, and wholeness. As we continue to work to heal ourselves of the Corona Virus and of our tragic and destructive heritage of racism, may we seek the values of God and may we dedicate ourselves to continuing the work of building God’s shalom of love, harmony, and  justice. Amen.

 

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