Sermons 2006
Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Trinity Sunday B 2006 Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16

We Christians have a different and distinctive way of understanding God, one that sets us apart from everybody else. The prayers, the creeds, and most of the symbols we use in worship are thoroughly Trinitarian. Many people have difficulty with the idea and doctrine of the Trinity.

Today is Trinity Sunday, the day we pay special attention to the way God has been revealed to Christians. And because God is much much more than anything we can say or imagine, anything we humans say must be both metaphoric and incomplete. At the same time, this vision of the Trinity of God is true, and it matters, and it makes a difference.

There are two fundamental human perspectives on the Trinity, to the doctrine that one God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, the Trinity describes the way that we, as Christians, experience God. We know God as God is revealed in the person and life of Jesus -- and this revelation happens by and through the Holy Spirit. That is, the Trinity speaks to how we discover and experience who God is.

But the doctrine of the Trinity also talks about who God is; it talks about what God is really like inside. This is where the mystics and the theologians speak more with poetry and awe than precision. Beginning in the Third Century, Christians began to think about the Trinity this way:

Once upon a time, way before the beginning of everything -- not at the beginning, but before the beginning -- God the Father, who is love and who therefore must love, God the Father speaks his own name; He says his own word. And God the Son is begotten -- true God from true God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father. The Son is the second person of the Trinity. , after the beginning, the Son will become incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and will be born as Jesus of Nazareth. Son is what happens when the Father expresses Himself, when the Father reaches out in His love. Now, the Son loves the Father, for the Son is the Father’s word, the Father’s self. And the Father loves the Son, totally and without reservation, and so the Father and the Son are bound together in love.

This love, which binds together the Father and the Son, is also real. This love is God the Holy Spirit -- the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. And the Son and the Spirit are of the same substance, the same stuff, as the Father; that’s the only stuff there is. In this way the Godhead is complete. Three persons, each distinct, each real, each from before the beginning, each and all are one God. The one-ness of God is discovered precisely in the free act of love by which the three persons of the Trinity choose to give all to each other. This relationship is what makes God who God is. God is what happens when the Father loves the Son in the Spirit.

We can see the formulations of the Nicene Creed beginning to emerge in this thinking.
St. Augustine said this about the Trinity: “Now, love is of someone who loves, and something is loved with love. So then there are three: the lover, the beloved, and the love.” This relationship of love, God the Holy Trinity, is the foundation, the bedrock of the universe; it is the heartbeat of all creation. Everything that is begins here, has its purpose and its meaning here, and will find its fulfillment here.

We Christians insist that God is not some mean old man with a beard; that God is not some unconscious force out of Star Wars; and that God is not that peculiar little committee -- two guys and a bird -- that we often imagine. God exists as a relationship of love -- one God in three persons, the well-spring of existence.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a complex, dynamic, and exciting understanding of who God is and what God is like. Like any good theology, it has consequences, and it sets the stage for how we can live.

If you think about it for a minute, it’s no wonder that the Church learned very early that they could tell whether they were truly entering the mystery of Christ by how well they were managing to love one another. Relationships of love are what God is all about.

Jesus summarized his completion and fulfillment of the Old Testament Law by speaking of love in relationship: You shall love God with all that you are and love your neighbor as yourself. And the one new commandment that Jesus gave us is the commandment to love one another; which is the commandment to imitate Jesus and his life -- to imitate his life as a human being among us, and at the same time to imitate his life as the only begotten Son.

Through this summary of the law and this new commandment, seen in God as the Trinity, we can begin to see what God really wants from us and what God really wants for us. God’s will for us, God’s desire for us, is, first of all and most of all, that we choose to share his life -- that we become more and more deeply a part of that conversation of love, that constant, obedient, and joyful relationship that is the very core of who God is.

The more our lives are shaped and formed by the life of love we see in Jesus Christ and in the life of God, the closer we get to our best and truest selves. The more we become who we really are.

The heart of creation is love, and we are both created and invited to enter that love, and to share that love. The divine love is our source, our vision, and our final end. That is good news. It is good news about why we exist; and it is good news about our destiny. (1)


1. Adapted from a sermon by the Rev. James Liggett, Selected Sermons, Worship That Works,

Wicomico Parish Church
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Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579