Worship Resources for June 4, 2023—Trinity Sunday

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

Narrative Lectionary: Series on Isaiah, Isaiah 6:1-8 (Luke 5:8-10)

On Trinity Sunday, we begin with the first story of Creation in Genesis, where God refers to themselves in the plural, creating everything, including all of humanity. There is a sense of equality and equilibrium in God’s intentions for creation, and that humanity’s dominion over the earth is mirrored in God’s dominion over everything, for in the image of God, God created humanity. Even with the creation of sabbath, there is a balance of work and rest. Light and dark, sky and water, dry earth and plants, sun and moon/stars, creatures of the water and creatures of the sky, then creatures of the land and human beings. The work of creation also happens when resting and finding joy in it. While the primary focus of God in this text is of God the Creator, there is also the wind from God that swept over the waters, often thought of as the Holy Spirit. And perhaps in creating humanity in the image of God, as Christians, we can imagine Christ present already (John 1:1-5; see also Proverbs 8:22-31 for Wisdom’s presence at the beginning of creation).

Psalm 8 is a song of praise to God, a song full of wisdom in asking the ancient question, “who are we compared to almighty God?” The psalmist looked up at the stars and asked the same question we often do—in the vastness of the universe, what are human beings? Yet God has made us a little lower than divine. God has given us dominion over the earth the way God has dominion over us. If we are to “fear God”—which is better understood as trembling awe—then we will do our very best in caring for creation the way God cares for us. God is Sovereign over all the earth.

2 Corinthians 13:11-13 are the final verses of this letter, in which Paul encourages the church in Corinth to listen to what he has said, especially on the financial appeal for the church in Jerusalem, and to live in peace. His final benediction also includes one of the few instances of Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit listed together in a blessing, fitting for this Trinity Sunday.

The Gospel lesson is known as the Great Commission, the final message from Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew. Even as the disciples experienced the risen Christ, some doubted, yet Jesus called all of them to go into the world and make disciples. Disciple means student. They, and we, are to go into the world to teach everything that Jesus taught us. Far too often that message has been simplified into a message of being saved from sin and hell for eternal life, rather than how we are to live in this world—as last of all, servant of all, working as peacemakers, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and so on. Jesus taught them to baptize in the name of God the Father/Creator, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to remember that he is always with us, until the end of time.

The Narrative Lectionary begins a new series in Isaiah. In Isaiah 6:1-8, in the year King Uzziah died, the prophet experiences a vision of God in the heavenly throne room. In this vision Isaiah beholds the seraphs praising God and the throne room filled with smoke from the altar, and Isaiah knows as a mortal he is unworthy to witness such a vision. But in the metaphor of unclean lips, a seraph takes a live coal from the altar and touches Isaiah’s lips to purify them. Isaiah is told that his sin is blotted out, and when God asks, “Who will go for us? Whom shall I send?” Isaiah boldly answers, “Here am I, send me!”

In the supplemental verses of Luke 5:8-10, as Jesus calls the first disciples, in this account there is a miraculous catch of fish, and Simon Peter tells Jesus to go away because he is a sinful man. However, Jesus tells him, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people.” God uses those who feel they are unworthy and impure to do holy work.

On Trinity Sunday we remember that as Christians we have spoken of the relationship of God with the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ as triune. However, our Orthodox siblings might remind us that the Trinity is a mystery—this is not something we can truly comprehend. Just like the psalmist gazing up at the stars, who are we in comparison to the awe-inspiring Creator of us all? We who have but a glimpse of the vastness of the universe, how dare we think we could understand all of God? Yet God has made us a little lower than divine, with great responsibility over the earth. God made us, along with everything, because God desires us to live. In that life, God desires for us to have rest and joy. What the world has become is far from what God intended it to be, but Jesus has called us to teach others about God’s intentions for us. This is the Great Commission for us: never to make clones of ourselves, but always to make disciples, teaching by our own lives, the way Jesus lived and taught. This is the way.

Call to Worship
Architect of the universe, Creator of heaven and earth,
We join together in awe and wonder to praise Your name.
Spirit of Life, breathing life into all and moving us to justice,
We worship as one body with many gifts of use to the world.
Jesus Christ, the True Son, who lived and died and lives again for us,
We follow Your way, Your truth, and Your life as disciples.
Holy God, Blessed Three-In-One,
Though we do not fully understand, we trust in You,
And worship, follow, and join with You on this journey of faith.

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Holy God, we confess that we continue to try to put You in a box when You constantly show us Your love cannot be contained. We confess that we try to put borders on Your love that knows no bounds. We confess in our self-righteousness we have condemned others to the point of harm. We have been unjust, unkind, unloving, completely antithetical to the ways You taught us through our ancestors, the prophets, and Your own Son. Call us into accountability. Help us to learn our painful truth of systemic sin, even within our churches, and guide us into ways of reparation and restoration. Help us to let go of what we cannot control or change but to work on what we can, to better ourselves and the world around us. Call us to love all our neighbors as ourselves as we strive to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. In Your name we pray. Amen.

Blessing/Assurance (from 2 Corinthians 13:11b, 13)
“Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” May this blessing of Paul remind us to live into God’s love and peace, and love and peace will be known to us through the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the community of the Spirit. We are one body, though many members. We need one another. We must do the hard work of repairing, restoring, and forgiveness, so that we can truly be disciples of Jesus Christ in this world. This is how we witness: by love. So in love, may we go forth and share the good news of Jesus. Amen.

Merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity. O Holy One we sing Your praise, and on this Trinity Sunday we sing and pray in the metaphor we know best to describe You. Yet we know our words our inadequate to capture the fullness of Your being, of Your majestic work in creation. Your thoughts are beyond our comprehension. The words of Scripture are still not enough to tell Your whole story, but they do tell us enough: we are to love. We are to love one another, love this earth that You made and care for it as we care for ourselves, and we are to love You. Guide us into ways of care instead of harm. Teach us how to live out Your loving-kindness with one another and ourselves. Keep us to Your ways as taught by Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, now and always. Amen.

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