Click for Trinity Sunday Readings
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.
Our reading for today:
I have chosen to deviate from the readings this morning and begin to look at the story of Abram and Sari when they were directed by God to take leave their family, take up their possessions and go to a land that God would lead them to. This would be the first over several tests that Abram and his wife would face in the years to come. It would test their faith and the trust that they would place in God.
If Abraham would come to be known as the father of a nation, Jesus might be considered the father of a new people and a new church. In both instances there was a level of love and trust that would be involved. Those words might be used interchangeably in that you can’t trust someone you don’t love, and you can’t love someone you don’t trust.
When the religious leader, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night he was challenged to trust those things that Jesus told him concerning being “born again.” Initially, Nicodemus didn’t understand what Jesus was describing. Nicodemus was a learned scholar. He was a spiritual leader of the people and yet somehow, he knew that there was something missing in his daily life. He wasn’t experiencing the peace and joy that he should have felt, and he attempted to follow God’s commandments to their fullest.
Jesus attempted to explain to Nicodemus that salvation came as the result of one’s being baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Water was a symbol of purity and cleansing while the spirit of God was a sign of the power that comes from our belief in Jesus’ saving grace.
I don’t think that Nicodemus was questioning that he needed a change in his life; he just didn’t understand how the experience Jesus was describing was possible. The idea of being born again was not new to the Jew. It was something that a Gentile might experience when they publicly professed their faith in God. They were baptized and regarded as having been reborn. But the Jewish person would never have considered themselves as needing a rebirth since they were already God’s chosen people. Nicodemus didn’t understand that all men were called to be born again in order to receive God’s grace and forgiveness.
Someone once said, “I’m a Christian, don’t confuse me with those people who are ‘born again.” Someone else was heard to say, “I’m not born again, I’m an Episcopalian.” Obviously, there are still those today who fail to understand Jesus’ word to Nicodemus. So, what is this all about? What is it that we must believe if we are to be born again? It means believing with all our heart that Jesus is who and what he said he is: that he is a part of the three-fold godhead… God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That when we see Jesus, we are seeing God. When we hear the words of Jesus, we are hearing the words of God. And finally, believing in Jesus means being obedient to God’s commands.
And, what do we receive in return? What was it that Jesus offered to Nicodemus? What is it that he has to offer each of us here this morning? The first and most important thing is eternal life. Eternity in that place that he’s prepared just for us. And the second thing comes a result of knowing that we have God’s promise of eternal life. We have peace. God’s peace…that only he can supply.The joy of this familiar gospel lesson this morning, comes from the realization that whatever sense of peace we may realize here on earth, it is only a shadow of the ultimate peace and joy that will come when we enter into the very presence of God.
A study in faith and trust on this on this day when we reflect on the triune God…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I challenge you to think about these words during the coming days as you reflect on your relationship with the one who calls each of us to be born again.
And remember, god is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.