Welcome to our worship for Trinity Sunday. All our Sundays from now until November will be ‘Sundays after Trinity’. Hopefully, by the end of our Trinity Sundays, we will be back in church….who knows!
Our ‘virtual service’ today includes hymns for Trinity Sunday, our Gospel reading, a reflection from Jane, our Vicar, prayers for today, some notices and yet another lovely anthem “Christ is our Cornerstone” from our choir singing from their homes. We hope you can find a quiet place to enjoy it all; it takes about half an hour.
Our Prayer for today (the Collect)
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Hymn: Thou whose Almighty Word
The Gospel Reading for Trinity Sunday: Matthew 28: 16-20 The Commissioning of the Disciples. You can click the link to listen to the reading or simply read the text below.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Psalm 8: The Divine majesty of God compared to the status of humanity
A Reflection for Trinity Sunday: Rev Jane Cresswell
Today is Trinity Sunday. After the feast of Pentecost last week in which we celebrated God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage, challenge and guide, we are now asked to celebrate God as Trinity, three in one. It’s a concept that western minds have long struggled with, fine tuned as we are to the Aristotelian need for analytical understanding.
Any analogy we might choose to help us with this concept is inadequate. But one suggested by Roger Spiller gives us scope to explore … that of the musical trio – think back to the exquisite blend of piano, violin and cello accompanying last week’s virtual choir anthem.
Speech is attributed to each of the persons of the Trinity, and just as each member of a musical trio has their own distinctive “voice” so too the divine “persons” have their distinctive range and timbre. When we say the words of the Grace together we refer to “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” but there is more to each than that, and it is in their interaction with each other that we see most clearly their different natures.
In a musical trio each instrumentalist makes their own contribution. Attentiveness and mutual subordination are required and are the perfect cue for the different musical lines to be relayed from one player to another. Each player may at times have the melody, and then pass it on, sometimes supporting the main tune and other times diverging and offering a counter melody. But they are never just doing their own thing. Individual interests are subordinate to the whole in order to achieve that exquisite musical unity.
In John’s gospel, and indeed in the icon above, we see the mutual attentiveness of the three persons of the Trinity. “The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing” says Jesus, adding “The Father and I are one”. The Father hands his people over to Jesus for salvation and Jesus hands them back to his Father. It’s an ongoing dynamic relationship.
But if a musical trio begins to give us a window onto the Trinity, then a quartet begins to show us where we fit in.
In Rublev’s icon of the Trinity there is a space at the front of the table into which we as the observer are drawn and invited to go beyond observation to participate in that gaze of love that flows from one to the other as we take the fourth place at the table.
The divine life in the Trinity isn’t just for us to admire from afar, or a model to emulate, but rather a life in which God makes room for us. We become united with Christ in the Spirit and share in his life as children of God the Father. We are invited into the same relationship with the Father and the Spirit that Jesus himself enjoyed.
The Trinity is not then a puzzle to solve, but a community into which we are drawn. Not so much an article of belief as a way of life; the sublime demonstration of God’s dynamic, communal life, reaching down and through and into every life, that we too might share the wonders of his divine life.
Our understanding of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit also gives proper shape to our view of his mission. God’s mission is to make himself known over all of creation—that knowledge of him and his deep love for the whole creation might flood the earth like “the waters cover the sea”. He accomplishes this mission through all of his actions in the world from creation to eternity future, and everything in between. Now, the church participates in his mission by making him known in the world.
We as Christians today are the recipients of God’s missionary activity, but we’re also the beneficiaries of the missionary activity of the Christians before us. They read the Scriptures and faithfully told us about the love of God in Christ. Now, it’s our turn to participate in God’s mission as his ambassadors. As ambassadors we act as representatives of the God of mission, and God continues to act missionally through us—making himself known in the power of the Spirit as we proclaim the hope of Christ to the world – a world which is crying out for hope.
Hymn: Father, Lord of all Creation
Our Prayers for Today
God of Love, help us to remember that Christ has no body now on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes to see the needs of the world, ours are the hands with which to bless everyone now and ours are the feet with which God is to go about doing good.
Gracious God, Trinity of Love, you support and surprise us, guard and guide us with your eternal love. On this Trinity Sunday, we bring the needs of our beautiful yet broken world to you.
Father God, you made the heavens and the Earth, a universe bursting with life and infinite possibilities. Help us to treat your creation with love. Where the human desire for power has wrought violence and conflict, may there be peace; where greed has led to the destruction of your world, may there be restoration and renewal; where overconsumption has led to desolation and famine, may there be an overabundance of blessing.
Lord Jesus, Saviour of the world, you gave up power and might to transform all things through vulnerability, compassion and grace. Help us to see your face in that of the stranger, the prisoner, the refugee. Where there is pain and suffering, may there be kindness and healing; where there is grief and loneliness, may there be comfort and company; where people are excluded and mistreated because of gender or ethnicity, sexuality or status, may there be justice and forgiveness, open minds and open arms.
God the Holy Spirit, you shake our very foundations and soak the world in love. Help your church to be transformed in your love. Where we are cold or complacent, may there be challenge and passion; where we lack empathy or love may there be repentance and forgiveness; where we are despairing or insular may there be wild hope and a radical welcome.
As we live out the good news of great joy for all people, may we serve dutifully, pray faithfully and love more recklessly than ever. This we ask in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, ‘Our Father,…’ (Click the link below)
Anthem: Christ is our Cornerstone David Thorne
Notices for this Sunday
- Yesterday should have been St Nicolas Summer Fete Day. The lack of our fete hasn’t stopped the ‘St Nicolas Garden Centre and Nurseries’ which has been in overdrive in the last couple of weeks! Some 200 plants were ‘catalogued’ and sold out within days. Nearly 20 orders were fulfilled (and mostly personally delivered) and over £250 raised for church funds. Thanks to all who bought and particular thanks to Hawkesworth, Paskins and Taylor (purveyors of fine lockdown plants) for all their work in making it happen.
- As soon as the weather permits, Jane is planning to restart her “Vicar’s lunches” fundraiser for St Nicolas Church with tables placed at safe distances in the rectory garden. Numbers are currently capped at six people to comply with government guidelines, but please get in touch with Jane on 01628 661182 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let her have your contact details if you would like an invitation to lunch. Suggested donation £10. The first two lunches will be Chicken balti, with rice and salad followed by mango cheesecake as that was the first supper that had to be cancelled at the beginning of lockdown. What a great opportunity to enjoy some safe company and conversation and good food whilst helping to raise money for the church.
- If you would like to participate in a Eucharistic ‘Virtual Service’, we can recommend streaming the Diocese of Oxford ‘Church at Home’ service at 10:00am at oxford.anglican.org/livestream (You can also download the order of service). For Trinity Sunday, Bishop Alan presides from his home and Revd Dave Bull, Area Dean for Wycombe Deanery, is preaching on the Gospel according to Matthew and the words of the Great Commission. Considerable time and effort is put into these live streamed services; participation in them is most rewarding.
- Wednesday Compline: This weekly service led by Jane and Suzanne continues on Zoom: 8:45 for 9:00pm and it lasts about 20 minutes. If you would like to join us next Wednesday for a chat and a short service, just drop Jim a line on email@example.com and he will send you the link; it never fails to give us all a lift.
- Action on Coronavirus: If you are aware of anyone who especially needs our prayers or perhaps some contact with Jane or Suzanne, please don’t hesitate to email Jane.
- Offerings/Donations: Our urgent need to increase our funding continues as our weekly offerings are significantly reduced without our church services and we’ve lost out on income from our summer fete. There’s another way you can help us to get through this difficult time; please look at the image below and just tot up what you might have spent….You can click this link to donate now. Thank you.
God the Father, who first loved us and made us accepted in the beloved Son, bless us.
God the Son, who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, bless us.
God the Holy Spirit, who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, bless us.
And the blessing of the one true God, to whom be all love and all glory for time and for eternity, come down upon us and remain with us always.
Final Hymn: How Great Thou Art