This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, where we take an opportunity to explore the mystery of the Trinity. We also begin a new sermon series on the importance of community. I believe these two things are connected.
The theology of the Trinity is the idea that our overarching idea of God can be understood as three distinct persons: God the Creator (some traditions say “father” but many including me prefer a non-gender-specific term); God the Son (i.e. Jesus Christ); and God the Holy Spirit (whose arrival we celebrate on Pentecost). While we understand these as distinct and individual entities, we also believe God to be whole and one.
In other words, God is three separate and distinct divine persons. And, God is complete and whole and in unity. Many name this a divine mystery.
Perhaps in this example of both separate-ness and one-ness, we can come to some learning about how we might live as a community of faith.
Romans 8:12-17 (CEB)
12So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live. 14All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
Consider these questions:
- What do you think about the theological idea of the Trinity. Do you find it problematic? Do you find it easy?
- How does this inform your understanding of community? Do you think looking at community through the lens of the Trinity is helpful?
Post-Sermon Update on 5/29
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
I confess that Sunday included a bit of surprise for me. The good news is that it was a “good news” kind of surprise!
I have long known that our congregation is incredibly friendly, and one of the ways I illustrate this is during our greeting or “Passing the Peace” time. Often, our congregation is a bit chatty and it takes some extra time to get worshipers to return to seats so we can continue with the worship service.
I was reminded of this during Sunday’s worship service and the invitation to turn and have conversations with persons sitting nearby, because lively conversation took place almost at once and the service ran long because of the amazing dialogue that was happening. I also found out that during these conversations, several members learned about similarities between them that had been unknown until that day. What an amazing chance to build up our relationships and connect as community!
Throughout this series, we will continue to take a few minutes out of each worship gathering to connect with others, to learn about others, and – in doing so – to learn about God’s call to community.
Consider these questions:
- Do you feel drawn to connect with others in meaningful ways? How do you experience this?
- If you are a regular (or even somewhat-regular) participant at PB UMC, does this faith community help you to build meaningful relationships with other worshipers? How? And how could we do better?
- How does building relationships with others affect your life of faith and/or your relationship with God?