Worship Resources for May 30th, 2021—Trinity Sunday

Revised Common Lectionary: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17

Narrative Lectionary: Series on Jeremiah, 1:1-10, 7:1-11, Call and Temple Sermon

The prophet Isaiah experienced a vision of the heavenly realm of God in the year King Uzziah died. However, Isaiah did not perceive himself to be worthy of this vision. Stating that he was a man of unclean lips, how could he dare to speak in the presence of God? However, one of the seraphs, the six-winged creatures that attended God in this vision of the heavenly throne room, touched a coal to Isaiah’s lips, purifying him. The voice of God asked, “Whom shall I send?” and Isaiah, full of a new boldness from the act of purification, spoke up. “Here I am, send me.”

The psalmist describes the power of God through creation in Psalm 29. God’s glory is made manifest through thunder and rain, the downpour of mighty waters, the lightning that strikes the tallest trees. God’s voice is heard through the rumbles and lightning that quakes the wilderness, the wind that strips the trees bare. God is more powerful than even floodwaters. The psalmist calls upon God to bless the people with peace, for God alone has power and authority over the earth.

Paul writes that all people—Jews and Gentiles—are children of the Spirit in Romans 8:12-17. Those who live as children of the law will still die, but those who are children of Spirit will be heirs with Christ and glorified with him. By the Spirit, we are to put to death the works that lead to worldly ends, and instead live by the Spirit as children of the Spirit. The Spirit works in us as a witness that we are children of the Spirit and not of the world.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to see Jesus at night in John 3:1-17. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was sent by God, but did not understand when Jesus told him he must be born from above. Nicodemus took Jesus’ comment quite literally, so Jesus had to explain to him that all must be born of the Spirit, that all must believe in the Son of Humanity. Jesus referred to Numbers 21:9, when Moses placed a bronze serpent on a staff, and the people of Israel who were bitten by poisonous snakes would lift their eyes to the bronze serpent and live. In the story in Numbers, the people were complaining and acting venomous toward one another—by lifting their gaze up, they were saved. By lifting our gaze from the ways of this world—the ways we harm one another and creation—and turning to Jesus, we find new life. It’s not our own life that will save us, but by turning to the way of God, being born into a new way of life of faith, that will save us. For God loved the world that he sent the Son of God so we might have eternal life that begins now, and he sent the Son not to condemn the world—but in order to save it.

The Narrative Lectionary begins a six week series on Jeremiah, beginning in 1:1-10 with the call of the prophet Jeremiah by God. He was a boy when God spoke to him and appointed him to be a prophet to the nations, following the end of King Josiah’s reforms of worship and implementing God’s law in Jerusalem. Though Jeremiah protested because of his age, God told him that he had the authority to speak with the words of God, that his words would destroy and overthrow as well as build up and plant.

In 7:1-11, Jeremiah spoke from the gate of the temple and preached against the injustice he had seen against foreigners, orphans, and widows—the marginalized of society. He preached against those who worshiped other gods for their own gain. Jeremiah called the people to repentance, to “amend” their ways. The words they spoke in the temple were empty if they were to continue their wickedness by committing adultery, murder, and stealing, along with worshiping Baal. He questioned whether they had turned the temple into a den of robbers, and warned them that God was watching.

On this Trinity Sunday, we are invited into the mystery of the Triune God. The one who created the heavens and earthy, whose power is known through creation. The one who lived and died and lives again, Christ Jesus our Lord. The Spirit who comes forth into our world and turns everything upside down. This is the same Spirit present at the beginning of creation and in our very breath, the Word that was in the beginning with God and made flesh to dwell among us: God beyond our understanding. God who speaks to us, even though we are so small and lack understanding. God who called Isaiah, though Isaiah thought he was unworthy. God who called Jeremiah, though Jeremiah was so young. Our Mysterious, Triune God continues to work through us, and in us, and among and beyond us, and even despite ourselves.

Call to Worship
We worship God, shaper of creation,
Who was and who is and who is to come, the Almighty.
We follow Jesus, Love incarnate,
Who was and who is and who is to come, the Almighty.
We trust in the Spirit, breathing life into us,
Who was and who is and who is to come, the Almighty.
We believe in God our Creator, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Almighty God, in whom we have eternal love and life.

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Triune God, we come to You not fully understanding the Mystery of Your nature but knowing that throughout human history You have been made known to us. Though we grow in new understandings, You are the same God who breathed life into us, who stirred over the waters of creation, who made the ever-expanding universe that we barely comprehend. We confess our short-sightedness, our misunderstandings, our selfish ways that hold us back from a deeper knowledge that is present before us. Guide us into Your ways of wisdom, so we might grow our hearts to love You and one another more deeply. In the name of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, we pray. Amen.

Blessing/Assurance
Though God is far beyond what we can comprehend or imagine, God knows us. God knows you. And God has chosen you to be part of this world and you have an important part to play. Without you, it cannot be done. You are needed and very much loved. Turn to God’s ways, and seek God’s wisdom and insight in your daily life, through prayer, reading of Scripture, spending time in nature, or however else you connect with the Divine. God loves you, and desires you to know them. Go and share the good news of God’s love, wonder, and awe.

Prayer
Mystery of Mysteries, shed light upon the shadowy places of our lives. Open unto us new insights, ideas, and understandings. Remind us that despair does not have the final word, and that light will always overcome the shadows of difficulty. We do not fully understand You, but we know You are with us, and that You do not abandon us. While we may at times struggle to know You are there, Your Mysterious Presence is in the very air we breathe, in the last slant of light at day and in the starlight at night. You are among us, always, and we cannot be forgotten. Help us to turn to You, Mystery of Mysteries, in our groaning and aching for justice, for mercy, and for forgiveness, with the knowledge that love shall overpower all. Amen.

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