COCU40A.Trinity Sunday A.7th June 2020

(see also Trinity Sunday B and Trinity Sunday C)
see also World Environment Day (June 5th)

Readings
Genesis 1: 1-2:4a
The account of the creation of heaven and earth, in which God speaks the creative Word and the Spirit hovers over creation.
Psalm 8
The Psalmist ponders how the great God who created all things nevertheless cares for human beings and gives men and women a place of stewardship over creation.
2 Cor 13: 11-13
Paul closes his letter to the Corinthian church with the famous benediction invoking Christ’s grace, God’s love and the Spirit’s presence.
Matthew 28: 16-20
Jesus commissions his disciples to serve the nations and to baptise them in the name of the Triune God.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

A collection of resources here: Trinity Sunday A
Words for Worship 2011: w4w Trinity A

It is not, perhaps, surprising that the first story in the Bible is about friendship. In the opening chapters of Genesis, God is lonely and wants a friend. Of course, it does not say that directly – for most theologies depict God as perfect and complete and has no need for anything beyond God’s own self. But when I read those pages, God, at the very least seems bored by divine isolation. So, God creates, almost if as at play in the cosmos. All sorts of things come forth: day and night; water and sky; oceans and earth; plants and trees; sun and moon and stars; all the fish and animals and creatures of every kind. The last artistic flourish is humankind, making male and female to be friends, companions, and lovers, to bring forth children, just so no one will ever be lonely again. What was a brooding, empty universe becomes one at play, everything and everyone interdependent, caring for and with all, a circle of friends, and God said it was very good.
(c.Diana Butler Bass, 2020, a quote from ‘Freeing Jesus’, to be released in March 2021)

One of the lectionary readings this week is Genesis 1:1-2:4a – God creating, God breathing life into us. In 2020, we are so mindful of the plea of George Floyd, ‘I can’t breathe’. This Sunday could well be an opportunity to contrast God’s response (‘and it was good’) to the sin of racism.

Matthew 28: 16-20
On this Trinity Sunday, many of us
cannot breathe without lamenting,
cannot pray without rage,
cannot live without hope.
Yet, like the remaining disciples,
we are directed to meet with the
Creator of Courage,
Easter Immanuel, and
the Spirit of Pentecost.
We are not on an unnamed mountain or in some region of Galilee,
but watching taped services,
zooming into church,
or in some places,
participating tentatively in re-opening.
Like the fragment of friends,
some of us will worship and some of us will doubt.
Yet, we are asked and invited
to receive instruction,
to get commissioned.
Like the eleven,
we are to remember the promise of holy presence:
Behold, I am with you always.
Holy Trinity: Creator, Immanuel, Spirit,
your relational authority is not force, coercion or dominance.
Your communal authority lives in sharing.
Your connectional strength is serving.
Create in us.
Be embodied in us.
Inspire us.
The world needs faith, hope and love.
(Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada, June 2020)

Psalm 8 developed for Great Prayer of Thanksgiving (Rev Jeff Shrowder)
(it is ‘topped and tailed’ with words from a prayer in Uniting in Worship 2)
Holy and life-giving God, we offer you thanks and praise in wonder and awe, in delight and astonishment: for you are Creator of all things, and Lover of each one.
You have made us in your image,
and surrounded us with the glory and splendour of your creating word.
Yet you have given us these works of your hands:
you have put the world at our feet;
sheep and cattle, kangaroo and emu,
birds of the air – magpie and pelican,
fish of the sea – dolphin and barramundi
all the creatures that live and move in the depths and shallows,
the creatures of the deep and the ocean floor.
O LORD, our God, how splendid is your name in all the earth.
When we failed to honour your work and your being,
your Word of Wisdom came among us in Jesus,
sharing with us the joy and pain of our humanity
Therefore, with the whole creation …

O God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Your glory, coming to us in galaxies
that have been sung to sleep
many light-years ago,
is the same as the waking cry of our infants,
or the “twinkle, twinkle” song of toddlers,
You are a vaccine of the spirit against
those who live by violence,
and you fit to us the mask of kindness,
so we bless one another when we are near.
When we turn to Slooh or Hubble
to live-stream the nebulae of your fingers,
or claim new dark-sky geography
as a refuge for much-needed night —
what are human beings that you are mindful of us,
your castaways on earth that you notice us?
Yet you make us little lower than God,
lit with imagination, fragile against virus,
but able to claim that it is no crown —
for our crown is hope.
You give us responsibility for the well-being
of precious handfuls of your creation —
ice caps, rainforests, barrier reefs, climate.
And even through cyclone and wildfires,
and, in spite of endangered creatures
and those who have been lost,
you put our feet on the path of care
for domestic and wild animals,
birds of the air, fish of the sea,
and all sea creatures – coral and dolphin,
seal and eel, whale and oyster.
We do not sing in these days
but we whisper with great joy —
O God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(from Gifts in Open Hands)

Meerkats (Image from ABC news)


Prayers of thanksgiving, confession and assurance
(based on Psalm 8)
Majestic and mysterious God,
you have set the heavens ablaze with your glory,
and whispers of your truth
sound from the mouths of babies before they can speak.
When I look at the multitude of stars
that you have spun into place,
I wonder why you would bother with us humans.
How insignificant we are compared to all of this.
How can you possibly care for us –
we are so small, so vulnerable and so temporary.
Yet you give us the biggest job of all
to care for your imaginative creation,
you have placed the precious works of your hands
beneath our feet so we might tread with sacred steps,
nurturing and nourishing the earth, sea and sky
holding all of life with our own life.
Majestic and mysterious God
your name echoes through everything
until it rests in our hearts.
Creator, Parent, Father, Mother God forgive us
when we forget to notice your wonders around us
when our vision is limited to our own concerns
Jesus the Christ, Son of God, one who calls us
forgive us when we fail to listen and to follow
and when we forget to call others into discipleship
Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as the dove
forgive us when we choose to be comfortable
instead of being disturbed into action for justice for all
Brothers and sisters in Christ
God sent the Son into the world, not to judge but to save,
and the Spirit is promised as our comforter and guide
be assured that there is nothing that can come between us
and the forgiving, healing and renewing power
of the love of God, three in one,
Source, Son & Spirit.
Know and live as children who are free
We are forgiven  – thanks be to God, Amen (Rev. Jennie Gordon)

Prayer of Praise: Wholeness
God, whose word spoke life and creativity into a formless universe,
and order to a nation of escaped slaves,
whose strong and compassionate voice challenged injustice through frail prophets:
we praise you.
Jesus, whose touch smoothed the broken skin of lepers,
and brought a bleeding woman back to health and belonging,
whose hand raised dead girls, and refused to throw stones at prostitutes:
we praise you.
Spirit, whose breath restores souls and bodies,
and whose presence comforts the grieving,
whose fire ignites compassion within us for the healing of the nations:
we praise you.
God of wholeness,
we celebrate the healing you bring to us and our world,
and we celebrate the promised wholeness that awaits all of creation
in your eternal reign. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

God is love
God is Love.
Love is not an object but an action, a process.
God is love and the loving of love, and the receiving of love.
God is an unfolding relationship.
So God is one, and yet must also be more than one.
God is a loving parent and a begotten child
and the love that proceeds from them, all three.
God is community. God is a family.
The Holy Trinity live in loving attentiveness to each other
but it is not a closed circle. They open out to us.
You are invited to come to the table, to share in that love,
to be part of God’s nature, God’s being, God’s loving.
This is what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.
All people are our sisters and brothers, all living beings,
all Creation: though we are many there is only One of us.
Join the communion of the One Who Is Many.
Come into the tender love of the Mother who births us,
the Lover who desires us, and the love begotten in us.
Find your being in the Holy One in whom we are One.
You are the fourth person of the Holy Trinity.
Come. (Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net)

Life-Giving, Restoring, Fulfilling God
The Word you spoke, and keep speaking, O God
is the life, the sustenance,
of all that is – seen and unseen.
The Life you gave, and keep giving, O Christ
is the recreation, the renewed birth
of every broken, wounded and sinful creature.
The breath you breathed, and keep breathing, O Spirit
is the inspiration for creativity, compassion and community
that connects and unites all that God has made.
Life-giving, Life-restoring, Life-fulfilling God,
our worship seeks to honour you
our hearts are devoted to you
and our lives are completely given over to you. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Prayer of confession
When we play God,
pretending we know best for ourselves
and those around us,
and seeking to control what is uncontrollable,
We reveal our idolatry.
Forgive us and help us, O God.
When we act like martyrs,
hiding our selfishness and brokenness
behind a mask of self-sacrifice
and self-righteousness
We reveal our lovelessness.
Forgive us and help us, O Christ.
When we fail to be the people we long to be,
repeating the same mistakes,
forgetting the same lessons,
losing heart and running out of energy and inspiration
We reveal our weakness.
Forgive us and help us, O Spirit.
Triune God, we need you to come to us again
as God,
as Saviour,
as Counsellor.
Thank you that our forgiveness, healing and growth
lies not in how hard we work,
but in how gracious you are.
And so we pray, with all that we are:
Forgive us and help us.
For the sake of your Kingdom. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Trinity
God says:
I set you on a life journey. I built the road but I did not give you a map.
There are gently rising hills as well as rough difficult rocks that you cannot
see beyond. There are crossroads, detours, roundabouts and at times you
may prefer to scuttle back to the safety of the predictable and known. You
don’t see me but you do see my creation and through that, occasionally glimpse my order, beauty in a seashell, a song, or a storm, and of course your purpose and ultimate justice.
Jesus says:
I go beside you but do not always nudge you when there is a choice to make, a decision on the journey. I know the path. I have been a human sojourner, know about relationships, the easy and the difficult. I have had to make choices. Do not fear because I am beside you and understand your life, its joys and its pains.
The Spirit whispers:
You barely see me, perhaps a glimpse at sunrise or like a bird hovering high
in an arc near the clouds. But I sweep across the sky and indicate the better
or best path to follow, though the voices in your head are constantly bickering and confusing you. Watch out for dangerous paths. You will need to pause, slow down, patiently listen, then look upward to discern me. I will keep you safe to go ahead in your journey, to experience both challenges and abundanceof life far beyond your imagining.
(Source: Wendy Ratawa, Prayers that Unite, 2017)

Prayers for others: A Desperate World
We are a world that is desperate for you, God.
When powers struggle for dominance,
and war, oppression and abuse result;
When groups of people oppose one another
because of ideology, religion or culture;
We need a God who is bigger than ourselves,
and our personal interests.
Prayer may be offered for specific areas of conflict in the world.
When people are disregarded and devalued
because of poverty, geography or disease;
When compassion and justice is withheld to some
because of sexuality, race or gender;
We need a Saviour who is more compassionate than we are
who includes even those we would exclude.
Prayer may be offered for specific people and places of suffering in the world.
When resources are mismanaged and abused,
and the world and its creatures are destroyed;
When motivation is scarce and creativity is in short supply
to address the challenges that we face;
We need a Spirit who is more powerful and more creative
than we could ever be.
Prayer may be offered for specific challenges and issues that we struggle with in the world.
Lord God, Loving Saviour, Empowering Spirit,
we offer you these prayers
because we need you so desperately.
Captivate us, call us and fill us,
that we may be carriers of your eternal life
to this world that you love so dearly. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Blessing
The love of the faithful Creator,
The peace of the wounded Healer,
The joy of the challenging Spirit,
The hope of the Three-in-One
surround and encourage us
today, tonight, and forever.
May the blessing of God – the Creator, the Healer,
and the Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.
(The Blessing of our Days, Iona Community)

A Relational Universe
If a rational Creator started this whole thing, then there has to be a “DNA connection,” as it were, between the One who creates and what is created. One of the many wonderful things that scientists are discovering as they compare their observations through microscopes with those through telescopes is that the pattern of the neutrons, protons, and electrons in atoms is similar to the pattern of planets, stars, and galaxies: both are in orbit around one another, and all appears to be in relationship to everything else. We now know the same is true in biology, as Robert Lanza’s work on biocentrism so brilliantly demonstrates: “the universe is created by life and not the other way around.” Our word for that foundational life is Spirit, hovering like a brood hen over the formless void in the very first lines of the Bible (Genesis 1:1-2).
There is a similarity between the perceived two ends of the universe, the Creator and all the creatures, just as Christians should have expected. Genesis describes the creative plan: “Then God said: Let us create in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves” (Genesis 1:26). The Hebrew text daringly uses plural pronouns; and I suspect a Christian would say that the deep Jewish intuition was correct, which is again shown in Genesis 18 with the three visitors to Abraham, and perhaps in the book of Job (1:6) which seems to speak of a Divine Council that confers with itself.
The energy in the universe is not in the planets, nor in the atomic particles, but very surprisingly in the relationship between them. It’s not in the cells of organisms but in the way the cells feed and give feedback to one another through semi-permeable membranes. The energy is not in any precise definition or in the partly arbitrary names of the three persons of the Trinity as much as in the relationship between the Three! This is where all the power for infinite renewal is at work:
The loving relationship between them.
The infinite love between them.
The dance itself.
In other words, it is an entirely relational universe. If, at any time, we try to stop this flow moving through us, with us, and in us, we fall into the true state of sin—and it is truly a state more than a momentary behaviour. It is telling that the first destabilization of the foundational structure of the atom (in New Mexico in July 1945) created the atomic bomb. With supreme irony, the test site is still called “Trinity” as Robert Oppenheimer first named it.
The divine flow either flows both in and out, or it is not flowing at all. The “trap doors” at either end must be kept open in order to both receive and let go, which is the work of all true spirituality. The Law of Flow is simple, and Jesus states it in many formulations such as “Happy are the merciful; they shall have mercy shown to them” (Matthew 5:7). Or as we cleverly put it “What goes around comes around.” We are conduits.
(Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 55-56, 71-72)

Trinity as Evolutionary Principle: Trinity is a dynamic mandala of God’s ongoing creativity
Trinity and the Law of Three.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting—it has been found difficult and left untried.” G. K. Chesterton [1]
The key to reawakening the power of this primordial Christian symbol lies in shifting the Trinity away from an abstract theological speculation on the inner life of God and re-imagining it as a pattern in the very fabric of reality – a template that is coded into all of creation.
Post-Einsteinian physics demonstrates that life is not static, but dynamic. As our theological paradigm shifts away from a static universe to a universe in perpetual motion, the whole Trinitarian frame shifts with it. Like a key clicking into place, the Trinity reveals itself as a metaphysical code that unlocks theology and science and illustrates a fresh understanding of a creative and contemplative engagement in the world.
For the late theologian Beatrice Bruteau (1930-2014), the Trinity is first and foremost an image of relational unity. The three “God-persons in community,” as she sees it, comprise the prototype and the prerequisite for the expression of agape love – the energy of the Godhead itself. Bruteau builds a detailed case for why threefoldness is the necessary condition for agape love. She goes on to demonstrate why threefoldness is by nature “ecstatic” or, in other words, self-giving and generative. By its very threefoldness, it “breaks symmetry” (a term borrowed from quantum mechanics) and projects the agape love outward, calling new forms of being into existence, each of which bears the imprint of the original symbiotic unity that created it. “It is the presence of the Trinity as a pattern repeated at every scale of the cosmic order,” she believes, “that makes the universe a manifestation of God and itself sacred and holy.” [2]
My own contribution to this ongoing Trinitarian conversation takes up at the point that Bruteau’s leaves off. My goal has been to see whether it might be possible to anchor this necessary threefoldness in a deeper universal principle: the Law of Three.
Understood within the context of a universe in motion, and with the Law of Three as its template, the Trinity becomes a dynamic mandala of God’s ongoing creativity in an evolving universe. It becomes, in fact, the evolutionary principle. The Trinity as a symbol of relationship invites us to trust the relationality of nature itself and to reconsider what we understand about the very nature of love. It is no longer a pre-existent “property” of God, but an emergent property of the whole of creation, joined in that divine dance.
References:
[1] Gilbert K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1910), 48.
[2] Beatrice Bruteau, God’s Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World (New York: Crossroad, 1997), 14.
Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, “Trinity: The Evolutionary Principle of Unfolding Creativity,” The Mendicant, Vol. 7 No. 1 (CAC: 2017), 1, 5.

A communion liturgy by John van de Laar, Sacredise

A (virtual) communion liturgy by Maren Tirabassi, for Trinity Sunday.
“We celebrate the continuation online worship and the sacred trust and truth of Holy Communion as feeding God’s most vulnerable children. This service is written specifically for churches who at this time are resisting the pressure to re-open buildings and name them the definition of church. This is my third Communion service shaped for those who are digitally and spiritually connected, a simple service with words of liturgy relating to the Revised Common Lectionary, to which you can may add freely language, music, gestures and practices”.
Announcement … for Pentecost
Next Sunday, June 7, we re-commit ourselves to living Pentecost lives, listening to the words of youth, sharing the dreams of elders, inviting new languages, some digital, to tell our good news. We will share Holy Communion in our online Livestream/Zoom/other format worship.
Before the service you will want to prepare a slice or a small loaf of any kind of bread to share and a cup or small cups of juice – perhaps grape or cranberry – or wine, with or without alcohol. Set these elements in the living room or kitchen where you experience worship electronically with our faith community. Place a mask and a glove on your table symbolically as well. Perhaps you want to put everything on a lovely cloth or fabric that reminds you of a special time or person. Perhaps light a candle or place a flower or the photograph of someone you wish to bring into the circle of faith beside the bread and the cup. Thank you for your preparation.
Celebration of Holy Communion
(Pause to invite those who have not already prepared elements quickly to do so. They can be very simple. Communion does not need elements.)
Invitation
This morning you are invited for Holy Communion
in the Body of Christ.
That Body of Christ is not the loaf of bread
you see on my plate on your screen.
The Body of Christ
is not even the bread on your table.
The Body of Christ is us
as we are strengthened by sharing together
this meal of hope and grace and presence.
The parables on the table this morning
include a mask and a glove,
symbols of care for the Body of Christ.
As Jesus might have said –
the Realm of God is like a mask of compassion
on the Bread of Heaven and a
gloved hand lifting the Cup of Blessing
so that all be served and safe.
We pause to honour with tender memory
the holy table in our church home
and to consecrate with love for all God’s children
these many holy tables in our home churches.

Prayer of Consecration
We Are the Body of Christ dispersed and gathered at the same time,
which is always true though we do not always see it.
Like the grains that become one whole loaf,
like the notes that are woven into song,
like droplets of water that are blended in the sea,
we, as Christians, one body shall become. *
In your many kitchens, and living rooms, rest your hands lightly upon these elements which we set aside today to be a sacrament. Let us ask God’s blessing upon them and upon us and upon all those who are in our prayers this morning.
Unison:
Gentle Host, rest upon us as you rested upon water and light, earth and creatures, human beings, all in your image, and holy Sabbath. Send your Spirit of life and love, power and blessing upon your children who are staying at home so that this Bread may be broken and gathered in love and this Cup poured out to give hope to all. Risen Christ, live in us, that we may live in you. Breathe in us, that we may breathe in you. Amen.

Words of Remembering
We remember the Creator blessed all creatures and all human beings with plants of the ground and fruit of the trees. We remember the Sarah’s hospitality to angels, manna in the wilderness, oil that never gave out, and the Psalmist speaking down the ages, “Taste and see that God is good. We remember.
We remember a twelve year old at a Passover in Jerusalem, a meal cooked by Peter’s mother-in-law, a small boy’s lunch, Zacchaeus feast, Martha’s one-dish hospitality, a story about a fatted calf and dancing, another Jerusalem Passover, broken bread in Emmaus, and fish on the beach. We remember.
We remember communal dining inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter’s unkosher dream that meant all God’s children are accepted, Paul’s communion on a sinking ship and a vision of the fruit of the trees in the New Jerusalem. We remember.
Our tables are a various as these and they are as truly the meal of grace blessed by Creator, Christ and Indwelling Spirit.

Sharing of the Elements
 Let us at our many tables receive the gift of God, the Bread of Heaven.
We become the Body of Christ in the Bread we share.
Let us in our many places receive the gift of God, the Cup of Blessing.
We are one in Christ in the Cup we share.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
In thanksgiving for this meal of grace, rejoicing that, in the holy dispersion of virtual worship, we claim the risen Christ’s love is not limited by buildings made with human hands, nor contained in human ceremonies, let us pray …
O Holy One, our tongues have tasted the good news and our lives are filled with the Spirit that hovered over creation and blew fresh hope on Pentecost. Creator open our hearts. Word, speak peace in our voices to all the people in all the hotspots and hurts of the world. As we journey masked through our lonely or dangerous or over-busy day, Holy Spirit, fill us with this blessing — that it is good. Amen

Noble, yet mystical, ground of creation,
star-fire and sun shower, and darkness and dreams;
all that through senses draws forth adoration,
God, we would worship, the love that redeems.

Human, yet awesome, the Christ, our relation,
offers a spirit: we learn to forgive.
Conquering our will this divine annexation
offers a way for us simply to live.

Spirit of living gives hope for our dying,
something transcending this life and its frame,
onward and upward in faith we are flying,
goal of existence, your love is our aim.
(Source: Andrew Pratt)

Where love writes the music
Where love writes the music,
the air is filled with song;
and those who hear the love-beat
are called to sing along.
The Father, Son and Spirit are doing what they do.
Let’s resonate, participate,
until we’re singing too.

Where love sets the dance-steps,
a movement’s taking birth:
a joining hands together
of heaven and the earth.
The Father, Son and Spirit are doing what they do.
Let’s resonate, participate,
until we’re dancing too.

Where love starts the rhythm,
it echoes through the land;
inviting all the people
to come and join the band.
The Father, Son and Spirit are doing what they do.
Let’s resonate, participate,
until we’re playing too.

Melody line: Where_love_writes_the_music.
Copyright © 2016 Katherine Abetz and Heather Prowse

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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