Here is our worship service video for this upcoming May 30, 2021, Holy Trinity Sunday!
The worship bulletin can be found here. The bulletin of course will have the order of worship, all the words of the liturgy, the page/hymn numbers corresponding with the Now the Feast booklet and the ELW hymnal respectively, and the sermon in full. The words that you need to know of course will be on your screen as well, and the sermon is also included below the video.
For an enhanced worship experience at home, you may have a bowl of water for the Thanksgiving for Baptism, some food for communion, and a lit candle for the whole service. Instructions on how to use these will be during the service itself. These are optional and only meant to help you in your worship. Please do what is most comfortable and meaningful for you.
May God bless you and keep you this day and forever!
God, giver of life, breathe your Spirit into us that we might hear you speak to us this day, that by the grace of Jesus we might be able to love as you so deeply love. Amen.
So we got some good news from our health officials this past week, it looks like our province has been doing pretty good in terms of our COVID numbers and as a result, we’ll be soon allowed to do a lot of the things that we’ve been missing for the past year and a bit. While we won’t be back to fully “normal” for a few more months yet, we’ll at least be able to get back to some semblance of our prior social lives and how we are able to connect and interact with others that don’t live in our specific homes. We might even be able to have church indoors really soon…
And I’ll be honest, I am having mixed feelings about this. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to get back in person and I do want to be able to see and worship with you all in the same room again… it’s just that this whole pandemic has been such a huge event in our collective lives, and I was thinking… or perhaps hoping… that we might be able to bring about some real positive change in society throughout this time. Positive change in the way we live, in the way we act, and especially in the way we treat each other.
Because really? I don’t think the old way was working. I don’t think the old way of the rich get richer, the old way of privilege being the highest indicator of success, the old way of distributing power in very racist and sexist ways. Well, maybe it works for the rich, the privileged, and the non-racialized male, but for the rest of the world it’s been a tough go.
But here we are and to me, it seems like we had our chance to change, but we blew it. It’s like we had like 15 months to re-evaluate the systems of society but instead we kept pushing to get things back to the way they were. We were given an opportunity for a rebirth and renewal, but we just stood there sort of dumbfounded and wondering “how can anyone be born after having grown old?”
This of course was the question that the Pharisee Nicodemus asks Jesus in today’s gospel reading. He wanted to know more about Jesus, his teachings, and about God. But instead Jesus drops this bomb on him and says that he needs to be born of above. And of course, Nicodemus doesn’t get it, and he asks how can these things be as they sound so fantastical and ridiculous.
Poor Nicodemus, he just might be one of the dumbest smart people we read about in the bible. We know he’s smart as he’s a Pharisee and thus an educated intellectual. And I guess to be fair, we don’t know that he’s “dumb” per se, just that he totally doesn’t get Jesus’ metaphor here, which in all fairness, is pretty confusing to begin with.
See the thing is in those days, there weren’t too many options of how society could be run. There weren’t too many interpretations of what is right and what is wrong. There weren’t too many differing opinions of who or what God could even be. So when Jesus came along reinterpreting everything and giving people options and showing them a new and different and perhaps better way of living life, it was unsettling for those in power. Mostly because the change will run the risk of them losing their power. And we all know that once you have that power, it is hard to give it up. Once you’re comfortable and get a taste of the “good life,” then it’s hard to live in anything that isn’t as good. Once you are accustomed and feel entitled to the “way things have always been,” then it’s really hard to even conceive of any kind of change whatsoever.
And so the Pharisees and those in power pushed back against Jesus’ revolution. They resisted his teachings and philosophies. They scoffed at any call to change and did all they could to preserve the status quo, the “how it’s always been”, the old ways of the rich getting richer and the poor getting more and more stepped on.
Even after 2000 years of hindsight, we especially in the Western world and church resist that change. We like to scoff at those who work to reveal the injustices of the ways that always have been and liberate the oppressed. We often put up barriers between us and that which might make us uncomfortable to perhaps subconsciously block us from any kind of progress.
“It’s never been done that way” or “there is too much at risk” or “that won’t work because it is too different” or even “let’s table that discussion for another day when we’re more prepared for it”. Excuse after excuse. Wall after wall. Misunderstanding question after misunderstanding question. It is hard for us to change when there is so much that we put in our way.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t change. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to act in the will of God as God’s hands and feet in the world. It certainly doesn’t mean that God hasn’t empowered us, strengthened us, and blessed us to do this life changing work in our lives, in our communities, and in all the world.
It doesn’t sound easy. It doesn’t sound comfortable. It might not even sound wanted or desired. But I do believe that God has called us act. God has called us to live lives full of grace, mercy, and love. God has called us to change not for change’s sake, but change for the better for the gospel’s sake and the sake of our neighbour.
For God loves this world so much that God had sent to us Jesus, not to condemn us for our wrongdoing and misdeeds, but to save us from our own harmful and destructive selves through his teachings of compassion and generosity, his deeds of hospitality and community, and his examples of forgiveness and love.
Today is Holy Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the church year that we dedicate not to an event in the Christian history, but to a doctrine. And not an easy doctrine to understand, at that. But a doctrine that helps us to see the unity of God, the diversity of God, and the inclusion of God for all walks of life and classes, all genders and orientations, and certainly all spectrums of colour translated by our melanin levels, welcoming us all into this wide and vast kingdom and community, bringing us up in right relationship.
And it is in this Trinity, this diverse, uniting, paradoxical nature of God, that we can find the strength to see how we can welcome others. It is in the complex and near-impossible-to-understand understanding of God that we are empowered to live in radical grace and life-altering community. It is in this love of God that surpasses all comprehension and human abilities that we can be born again, made anew, and be changed in the image of this Triune God, all in one and one in all, holy and complete, and be filled with the hope of a gospel extended to all people of all times and all places, through the salvation freely given to us all.
So it is my hope for us as we finally draw near to the end of the pandemic, that we are able to see each other with a new light. That we are able to regard each other with a grace from God that we perhaps didn’t think was possible before. That we are able to treat each other with compassion and love, taking down the walls that have been built up between us and see the bridges that gap our difference and unites us all as one body, one community, one kin-dom for all time.
As we move into this time after Pentecost, this ordered time of the church year where we look at church growth and flourishment, may we hear God the Sovereign calling us, may we see God the Saviour saving us, and may we feel God the Spirit leading us with love into new heights of community and relationship through to the end of this pandemic and always. Thanks be to God. Amen.