• Content

  • Pages

  • Upcoming Events

    • Sunday service - Holy Communion June 4, 2023 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.comTime:  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 June 11, 2023 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.comTime:  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 June 18, 2023 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.comTime:  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:…

The Last Sunday after Epiphany 3/3/2019

Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Luke 9:28-36, (37-43)

Today is the Last Sunday after Epiphany. We move from the Epiphany season, the season of light and mission, into Lent, a time of penitence, self-examination, and prayer, a time for askesis, spiritual fitness, a time to confess our sins, ask God’s forgiveness, and grow closer to God. Today is also called Transfiguration Sunday because of our gospel reading.

Our first reading is from the Book of Exodus. The people of God have been enslaved in Egypt, and they are now on their journey to freedom. Moses, their leader, goes up Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the law. The skin of Moses’ face is shining with the light of the presence of God. When Aaron and the people see Moses’ face, they are afraid to come near him. They are afraid of God, They believe the old saying that, if you see the face of God, you will die. So Moses covers his face with a veil when he returns from talking with God.

In our gospel, it is about eight days after the feeding of the five thousand and after the conversation in which Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter answers, “The Messiah of God.” Jesus takes his closest followers, Peter and James and John up to the mountain to pray.

And while he is praying, his entire person shows forth the the light of the presence of God. The two great prophets, Moses and Elijah, are there talking with Jesus, showing that he is in the line of the greatest prophets in history. Peter, dear Peter, says, “Master, it is good that we are here with you. Let’s make three shrines, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He wants to make sure this moment will be forever preserved in history. He wants to build a monument.

Then a cloud comes over them, the same cloud that covered Moses on Mount Sinai, the cloud that shows God is present, and God speaks, “This is my Son, my chosen. Listen to him!”

If this had taken place in the time of Moses, Peter and James and John would never have been on the mountain. They would never have been in the presence of Jesus and God. If by some strange error they had been, they would have run down the mountain screaming in horror because they were afraid of the presence of God.

But none of that happened. Yes, they had been drowsy but they had stayed awake and they had seen the whole thing—Jesus with Moses and Elijah, and then God descending to the top of the mountain and telling them to listen to His Son. Yet they did not run away howling in terror.

Paul talks about this in his letter today. He writes, “All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord, …are being transformed into the same image from one glory to another.” In other words, we are being transformed into Christ.

Peter and James and John had decided to follow Jesus. They had prayed with him, eaten meals with him, watched him heal people, listened to his teachings, helped him to feed five thousand people. They had observed how he treated each person with great care and respect. Peter had figured out that Jesus was the Savior whom they had all been expecting, they had all been hoping for.

And yet, when they were on that mountain, and the two great prophets were there and then God was also there, Peter and James and John were in awe for certain, but they were not afraid as God’ s people had been afraid in Moses’ time, a little over a thousand years before.

Why was that? What had happened? Why were these three close followers awe-struck but not running away in terror? Because God had come to live with them, to walk with them, to talk with them, to teach them, pray with them, heal them, lead them as their good shepherd, and be with them every day of their lives.

God had come to be close to them, to be with them, and what they felt most of all, was God’s love for them, a transforming love, and that is what St. Paul is trying to express in this portion of his Second Letter to the Corinthians.

Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus has come to be with us, to lead us and guide us. Here on Transfiguration Sunday, we see our Lord as he truly is—powerful, but not in a way that paralyzes us with terror. His is the power of love.

As we prepare for Ash Wednesday and for the season of Lent, and as we do honest self-examination and confession of our sins, our Lord calls us to remember that this is part of our ongoing process of transformation. We are becoming more like him. We are placing ourselves and our lives in the hands of our loving God.

He is in our midst, calling us to follow him, not out of fear but out of love.   Amen.

Pentecost 7 Proper 9B RCL July 8, 2018

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

In our first reading today. all the tribes of Israel gather and call David to be their king. This coronation not only makes David their king officially. It also renews the covenant between God and the people. David had many flaws, but he also had a very deep faith in God, and this was the source of his greatness as a leader.

In our epistle for today, we have a passage that is full of meaning. Paul founded the congregation in Corinth. Other teachers and leaders have followed him, and they are saying all kinds of negative things about him, including that he does not have enough mystical experiences.

So Paul tells a story. I know this man, he says, who had a profound mystical experience. He was taken up to the seventh heaven, the highest heaven, and he heard things that humans could never even think to express or repeat. The story is about himself, but he is too humble to say that.

And then, he tells this congregation that has been so difficult and so  critical of him that he has a thorn in the flesh. We have no idea what this could be. Many people have written about their theories about this, but responsible scholars make it clear that we have no way of knowing what this weakness is.

Paul makes himself vulnerable to these highly gifted and extraordinarily finicky Corinthians by sharing his greatest weakness! He tells them and us that he prayed three times for God to take this thing away, but that miracle did not happen. Instead, God told Paul something that is at the core of our faith and the center of our life in Christ, and I’m using the Revised Standard translation because  I think it makes the point even more clearly: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

What a paradox and what a mystery! We can have a weakness, a disease or a flaw or whatever it is, and through that flaw, God can show God’s power. We have this thing, whatever it is, and we pray and pray, and we do have sincere faith, and the day comes when we realize that God is showing God’s power through helping us to cope with this thorn in our flesh, and through that coping, with God’s grace, our faith deepens and our love of Christ grows stronger and our compassion for others increases.

We can only imagine how many people have read this passage and had their lives changed by it.

In our gospel for today, Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth. They marvel at his wisdom. but they cannot see who he truly is because he is the son of Jospeh and Mary. He is someone they know. He is the son of the carpenter and why is he not working in the carpenter shop? This may be a possible source of that observation that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Their preconceptions prevent them from realizing they are meeting their Savior.

Jesus makes a comment that holds a great deal of truth: “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” Isn’t it interesting how we hire consultants from outside to give us guidance on what to do? Sometimes that is a good idea, but we also need to realize that we who are living in a community and are members of a parish, have much more knowledge than an outsider can possibly have.

The text tells us that Jesus “Could do no deed of power there.” He had just healed the daughter of Jairus and the woman who had a hemorrhage and many other people, but he couldn’t heal anyone in Nazareth. We have to be open to the power and love and healing of our Lord in order for him to help us.

Let us note that the rejection does not stop him from doing his ministry. He goes around the villages teaching, and he sends the disciples out do their ministry of healing and forgiveness. Many people turn their lives around, and many are healed.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is at the heart of our faith. Jesus died on a cross. That is a position of complete and utter weakness in the world’s eyes. He did not muster an army. He did kill those who opposed him. He could have. He had all the power in the world. He took all that hatred and contempt and, as Barbara Brown Taylor says, he “took all the man-made wreckage of the world inside himself and labored with it for almost three days—and he did not let go of it until he could transform it and return it to us as life.” (Taylor, Teaching Sermons on Suffering: God in Pain, p. 118.)

And that is what he can do with our weaknesses and our defeats. He can take the things that make us feel ashamed and discouraged and unworthy and transform them into sources of a faith deeper than we could have imagined. He can turn those weaknesses into strengths that help us to carry out our ministries to others and spread his love.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Loving and gracious Lord, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your power, the power to make us and the creation whole. May we use the gift of your grace to help you build your kingdom.  Amen.

Pentecost 6 Proper 8B RCL July 1, 2018

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5: 21-43

In our opening reading, Saul and his son Jonathan have been killed in battle. During the reign of Saul, David had spent a great deal of time at the court. As Saul became more and more ill and had trouble sleeping, David used to play the harp and sing to the king. David and  Jonathan were close friends.

As time went on, Saul became more and more afraid of losing power as king. He thought David was plotting to take the throne and tried to kill David. David had at least one opportunity that we know of to kill Saul, but he spared Saul’s life. When David had to escape out into the wilderness to hide from Saul, Jonathan continued to remain a loyal friend, bringing David food and warning him when Saul was searching for him. Even though Jonathan was Saul’s heir, he remained a good friend to David. He put friendship ahead of his own place as the one next in line to be king.

Of course, we know that God had sent Samuel to anoint David as king. David had many flaws. He gave orders that Uriah be sent to the front lines to die in battle so that he could marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. At the same time, David had qualities that endeared him to his people. His poem of praise to both Saul and Jonathan is a beautiful elegy for these two men, and it is also a lament on the waste of war. “How the mighty have fallen” is a phrase that has come into our language. David praises both Saul, who tried to kill him and Jonathan, his loyal friend, calling them “beloved and lovely!” David was able to look beyond the complex and tragic personal aspects of the situation and to pay tribute to Saul, who helped Israel begin the transition from a collection of tribes into a nation-state.

Psalm 130 is a powerful song of faith and hope with which all of us can identify. How many times have we been awake in the night watches agonizing over a situation and praying for God’s help for ourselves and others.

This assurance of God’s love and power is what enables two people to reach out to Jesus for help in our gospel for today.

Jesus is back on the busy side of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds are around him. Jairus, one of the leaders of the synagogue, is so desperate that he comes to this teacher whom the authorities are watching closely. “My daughter is at the point of death, Come lay your hands on her and heal her.” Immediately Jesus follows him to his house.

Things are so hectic and needs are so great that a woman, someone on the other end of the social spectrum, is able to come up and touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, certain that just the power from that contact will heal her of hemorrhages that she has had for twelve years. She has gone to doctors but they have not been able to help. Because of this illness, she is marked by the law as unclean, She is supposed to stay away from people, No rabbi is supposed to be near to or touch someone who is unclean. But somehow she knows that Jesus will not be angry at her. She knows that he will care as much for her as he does for an official of the synagogue. So she reaches out over the abyss of social standing and religious laws and touches his cloak.

Jesus feels energy leaving his body. Herbert O’Driscoll says something very important about this, He notes that healing work has a cost. Every one in this congregation does healing work of one kind or another, and it does have a cost. I want to thank you for carrying out these ministries and for paying the emotional and physical price  for your healing work.

Jesus asks, “Who touched me?” We will never know how much that woman might have been tempted to run away, or to melt into the crowd and hide. She had just broken the religious law. But there was something about Jesus. His love and his caring had given her the courage to reach out and touch his garment in the first place, and now she falls on her knees before him just as Jairus had done earlier. Knowing that she had been healed, she told him everything. That’s how Jesus is: we can tell him everything. And he says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” He has just made her a part of his big family.

As he is still speaking, people come from Jairus’ house and tell him, “Your daughter is dead. Don’t bother the rabbi any more.” And Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe.”  He takes with him only Peter, James. and John. He firmly escorts all the weeping and wailing people out of the house and takes the girl’s mother and father into her room.

Jesus knows the difference between life and death, between despair and hope. He takes the girl by the hand and says, “Little girl, get up!” As she walks around the room, he tells them to get her something to eat.

“Do not fear, only believe.” There are things happening in our own lives and in the world which can make us worried and afraid.  Our Lord is speaking to us and to our fears and worries today when he says, “Do not fear, only believe.” He is calling us to do what he did with these two people. He was not afraid when a religious authority asked his help even when other authorities were watching his every move. He was not afraid when a woman labeled unclean touched his cloak. He was always looking beyond these rules and labels and always moving in faith to bring healing, love and wholeness into the lives of people.

That is what we are called to do—to move beyond the fear and believe that, with God’s help and grace, we can bring love and healing into the world.    And that is what you are doing every day. Amen.

Last Sunday after the Epiphany Year C RCL February 7, 2016

Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Luke 9:28-36, (37-43)

We are ending the Epiphany season and getting ready to enter the season of Lent. In our opening reading from the Book of Exodus, Moses comes down from the mountain with the tablets of the Ten Commandments in his hand. The skin of his face is shining with the shekina, the light of the presence of God.

Moses is showing forth the glory of God because he has spent time in the presence of God receiving the Law. This makes him a holy person, a person to be revered and admired. It also makes him someone to be feared because people of that time believed that you could not see God and live. So Moses veils his face to protect the people from the light of God’s presence.

As we look at our reading from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, we remember that Paul was a Pharisee, a legal scholar, and an expert on the Law. He had studied the Law carefully all his life. Yet he is the one who said that the law convicts us. We do the things that we do not want to do, and we do not do the things that we know we should do, and we are caught in a tangle of sin, and we are paralyzed in that tangle and we lose hope of ever making any progress.

In this letter, Paul is contrasting the grace of the law and the grace that comes through Jesus. Moses had to put a veil over his face because people were scared of God. Now, we can see God face to face as we look into the face of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. And so, we are a people of hope. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

In our gospel for today, we go up on the mountain with our Lord. Just before this, Jesus has asked the disciples who they think he is, and Peter has replied that Jesus is the messiah. We go up the mountain to pray with our Lord, and  with Peter and James and John. And Jesus shines forth with the presence and power of God. Then Moses and Elijah, the two great prophets, are talking with him, and they are shining with the light of God’s presence.

Peter and James and John are, the text says, “weighed down with sleep.” We know how that feels. They have been awake for a long time, They are tired, but they are awake and they see Jesus and Moses and Elijah.

Peter knows that this is a holy moment and he thinks it would be good to build a shrine so that they can come back and see Jesus and these two great prophets. But, like all mountaintop experiences, this one cannot be frozen in time.

And then the cloud, much like the cloud that often hung about Mt. Sinai when Moses was meeting with God, the cloud that signifies God’s presence, descends upon the mountain, and God tells them and us, “This is my Son, my Chosen. Listen to him!”

The next minute, the cloud is gone; Moses and Elijah are gone. Jesus stands alone.

We have all had those mountaintop experiences. There may have been moments on retreats when we have been aware of the closeness of our Lord. We realize that he has been leading and guiding us all the time, and we can sense the depth of his love for us.

Our mountaintop experience may have been time in worship when the beauty of the service touches us so deeply that we cannot even find words to express it. When I first began to attend the Episcopal Church, just those few words at the end of the Lord’s prayer, “For ever and ever,” meant so much to me. They gave me a sense of the everlasting and infinite nature of God. Ancient chants such as, “Let all mortal flesh keep silence” express so much about the power and holiness of God.

So often, these moments come right in the midst of ordinary life. Barbara Brown Taylor writes of feeling close to God as she was hanging laundry on the line in the warm sun and the fresh air. How often have we been deeply aware of God’s presence in a sunrise or a sunset, in a beautiful natural setting.

Many times, we sense God’s presence when we are with people we love. Their acceptance and understanding when we share something that is troubling us; their wise guidance when we are feeling overwhelmed; or their enthusiastic sharing of a triumphant moment in our lives all speak of God’s love.

Today, we are on the mountaintop with Jesus, and we see who he really is. We see the glory of God radiating from him, but we are not like the people of Moses’ time so many centuries ago. We are not afraid. We see who he really is, but we also experience his love. We remember all the sick people he has healed, all the children he has held in his arms, all the people who thought they were outcasts welcomed into his loving community. We remember all that he has done for us.

So, when we are commanded to listen to him, this is something we can do. We can listen to him and we can follow him, because he has taken away the old fear and replaced it with love. He has taken away the old paralysis in the face of the law and replaced it with hope, He has taken away the overwhelming weight of sin and replaced it with forgiveness and the grace to learn and do better.

We are on a journey with him to become more like him. We are on a journey of transformation. May we follow him.  Amen.

Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Psalm 103:8-14
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6; 16-21

Our first reading for this Ash Wednesday comes from the Book of Joel, one of the so-called minor prophets, such as Amos and Hosea, whose books are grouped at the end of the old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures. Scholars tell us that Joel lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah from 539 to 331 B. C. His ministry took place from about 400 to 350 B. C. This was during the time after the exiles had returned home from Babylon.

Scholars tell us that Judah is being invaded by a huge army of locusts, so many that they make the sky turn dark. This is a major disaster, something like Hurricane Katrina or Tropical Storm Irene in our own times. An enormous amount of damage is going to be done. The invasion of insects is compared to a military attack by an enemy.

In the face of this disaster, Joel, who is a prophet associated with the temple in Jerusalem, is calling the people to turn to God in worship. He is calling people of all ages, from babies who are still nursing to elderly people. He is calling people in all circumstances, even brides and bridegrooms. And he is calling us to “rend our hearts and not our garments,” in other words, to enter into sincere repentance, to turn our entire beings to focus on God and on God’s will for us, not merely to engage in external, rote worship. This is in complete harmony with the gospel for this day.

In our epistle for today, Paul is calling the Corinthians and us to “be reconciled to God.” This is a wonderful theme for Lent. We are called to seek God’s help in growing closer to God during these forty days.

Our gospel gives us so much good food for thought. Back in Jesus’ time there were some folks who would fast and pray and give alms in order to appear virtuous or to draw attention to themselves. Our Lord tells that our spiritual life is something very private, something that is between us and God. Jesus says that, when we fast and pray, we should not show any outward signs of this discipline, but we should anoint ourselves with oil and wash or face. In other words, as someone has said, “It’s an inside job.” We are called to do our spiritual work. We are called to do what we need to do in order to grow closer to God. But Jesus calls us not to make a show of our spiritual discipline. Our motive for praying and fasting and following our Lenten discipline is not to make a public display, but to engage in rigorous self-examination, acknowledge our sins to God, and receive God’s forgiveness.

And then our Lord calls us not to store up treasure on earth, but in heaven. Jesus is reminding us not to place our trust in material things, but to put our trust in him. It is so easy to lapse into materialism. It is so easy to begin to trust in the things of this world. But we are called to trust in God.

What a profound statement we have in this gospel: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We are called to consider our faith in God and our relationship with God as a great treasure in our lives.

Lent comes from the root word for spring, and Lent is a time of spiritual growth. It is a time when we follow a spiritual discipline, maybe giving up some things or taking on some things. All in order to grow closer to God. It is a process of metanoia, conversion, transformation. What we give up or take on is between each of us and God. Each of us has prayed and asked God’s guidance as we prepare to walk the way of the Cross.

We have seen our Lord transfigured on the mountain, and we want to grow into the persons God calls us to be. So we follow our Lenten discipline to allow that to happen. The ashes on our foreheads today were made from the palms strewn in his path on Palm Sunday. We are marked as Christ’s own forever. So we will walk with him and he will walk with us. And our journey will lead to a garden and a mock trial and a horrible death and then new life.

Lord Jesus, give us grace to walk the Way of the Cross faithfully with you. Amen.

Trinity Sunday June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday Year A RCL June 19, 2011

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

We celebrate this morning Trinity Sunday, and this gives us the opportunity to try to clarify the doctrine of the Trinity, which tells us that God reveals Godself to us in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.

 In our reading from the Book of Genesis about the creation of the world, there is a great joy. God is creating this wonderful world for the love of it, and we notice that, after each stage of creation, there is a refrain, a very positive refrain—“And God saw that it was good.” The creation is good and we are created as good people. Our other two readings today emphasize the love of God in three persons and our vocation to spread that love.

 Robert Farrar Capon, an Episcopal priest and theologian, captures the spirit of the creation better than anyone I know. For our newer members, there is a tradition here at Grace, a tradition started by our beloved brother in Christ, the Rev. David Walters, who served Grace for twelve years. The tradition is the reading of the creation passage from Capon’s book, The Third Peacock.

 “Let me tell you why God created the world. One afternoon, before anything was made, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sat around in the unity of their Godhead discussing one of the Father’s fixations. From all eternity, it seems he had this thing about being. He would keep thinking of all kinds of unnecessary things—new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked God the Son suddenly said, ‘Really, this is absolutely great stuff. Why don’t I go out and mix us up a batch? And God the Holy Spirit said, ‘Terrific, I’ll help you. So they all pitched in, and, after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pine cones kept dripping all over the place and crazy fish swam around in the wineglasses. There were mushrooms and grapes, horseradishes and tigers—and men and women and children everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them, and to love them. And God the Father looked at the whole wild party and he said, “Wonderful! Just what I had in mind. Very, vcry good. And they laughed for ages and ages saying how great it was for beings to be, and how clever of the Father to think of the idea and how kind of the Son to go to all the trouble putting it together, and how considerate of the Spirit to spend all that time directing and choreographing. And forever and ever they said how wonderful and good it was.” Capon reminds us that this process is going on all the time. God is constantly creating. There was not just one “celestial bash,” as he puts it. Capon writes,

What happens is not that the Trinity manufactures the first duck and then the ducks take over the business and a kind of cottage industry, it is that every duck is a response to the creative act of God. God the Father thinks up duck #47307 for the month of June AD 2011, God the Spirit rushes over the edge of the formless void and, with unutterable groanings broods duck #47307 and over his brooding God the Son, triumphantly shouts, ‘Duck #47307!’ And presto, you have a duck. Not one, you will note, tossed up in some response to a mindless decree, but one neatly fielded in a game of delight. The world is not God’s surplus inventory of artifacts. It is a whole barrelful of the apples of God’s eye, constantly juggled, relished, and exchanged by the persons of the Trinity. No wonder we love circuses, games, and magic. They prove we are in the image of God.”

 Now I want to share with you the theology of a man named John Macquarrie, an Anglican theologian who uses an analogy to explain the Trinity.  Vision, plan, realization of the plan.  Let’s take a work of art, say, a novel. The artist has a vision. She plans the book. There will be this or that character and these characters and there will be this situation and these events and so forth. Then the author writes the novel. God the Father is the author. He has the vision of creation. God the Son is the plan, the Word, the logos, the model, the blueprint for human life. By coming among us and living his life, and by his teaching and preaching, he gave us the details of how life should be lived. God the Spirit brings about the full realization of God’s vision and plan. The Spirit is God at work in us and in the world. The kingdom, the vision, the shalom of God is not yet complete, but it is in process, It is growing. We are called to be co-creators to bring in the shalom of God.

 Another way to think of the Trinity is God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God, the Sanctifier. God the Creator, transcendent and holy, yet immanent, within us, near us.

 God the redeemer. Christ. God walking among us. Immanuel. We can enter into the shalom of God right now by living the life in Christ, aligning ourselves with the vision of God’s kingdom, which is even now growing like the mustard seed or like the invisible yeast in the dough.

 God the Sanctifier—the Holy Spirit. Often, especially in the Eastern Church, the Spirit is associated with Wisdom and is seen as feminine. The reign of God has begun but is not yet complete. The Spirit is the one who is bringing it to completion.

 God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God the Creator, God the Redeemer, God the Sanctifier. Vision, Plan, Realization of the Plan. Three persons who are one, three aspects, three ways in which God reveals Godself to us. And God’s joy in the creation, God saw that it was good.

 God’s loving creative energy. What a wonderful thing to celebrate. What an amazing thing to be part of. The Holy Trinity is the original model of Community. And what a team they are. The joy and mutuality and encouragement with which they do the ongoing work of creation is our model for how to live in community.