Trinity Sunday, June 4, 2023

Holy Trinity Sunday, June 4, 2023, Year A

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

Calvary Episcopal Church, Sedalia, Diocese of Missouri

The Rev. Anne Meredith Kyle, rector

             The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen!

            That was a long reading! The first biblical account of creation is one of those passages that just needs to be read in its entirety.  Thank you, Byron.

            The passages for today include THE beginning, as we read in Genesis… and the ending of two books of the Bible. My greeting today is so familiar to us and comes from the final words that Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth. He bid them farewell by telling them, for one last time, to mend their ways, to find common ground, and to live in peace. Paul had been tireless in his preaching and teaching with the Corinthians and, ultimately, it was up to each one of them to make the beloved community that he preached about a reality. |

            Today has been set aside by the Diocese of West Missouri as Wear Orange Sunday a day on which we offer prayers for an end to gun violence. The liturgy included some special prayers and Paul’s final appeal to the Church at Corinth is fitting when he says to live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be will be with you. Finding more and better ways to live in peace seems to me to be worthy of our time and attention.

            Psalm 8 is a wonderful hymn of praise to God. The psalmist wants to know why, with all the wonder that the Lord has created, why would humankind even be on God’s radar. Of course, the Lord is mindful of us. We are, each and every one of us, a beautiful creation, blessed and loved by God.

            The book of Genesis is a book of beginnings and in the beginning, God and the Spirit of God were present and at work. This passage was written in the great tradition of ancient storytelling and in this story, God blessed each of the acts of creation. The filling of the void is good. The great lights of sun and moon are good. The dry land is good. All the creatures that swim and fly, and creep and walk are good. And the people that God created, in God’s very own image… are good. God blessed all of it and then sanctified a day of rest.

            The Good News for today is a powerful message packed into just a few verses. Jesus took his closest friends away, up the mountain and gave them what we have come to call the great commission – go and make disciples of all nations. The eleven disciples must have wondered if they had what it took… listen to the great gift from this passage… the gift Jesus gave to his closest friends and the gift that he has given each one of us. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. That means that the bond between Jesus and his followers, despite any of their shortcomings, will never be broken… and this is good news. 

            As Christian persons we are called into community with Christ, and it’s the calling to be the kind community that Jesus would have us be. We are to be the kind of people who look to each other in love, and who give one another strength. …We are to be the kind of community that loves one another. We are to be the kind of community that loves all others. You see, the beauty of creation and the blessing and the love of the one who created all of us is not reserved for a few. God’s love is not reserved for the people at Church. God’s love is not intended for some of creation and not for others. The only way to truly understand God’s gift of creation is through the lens of love.

            One person’s death at the hand of another is not what God has called us to be about and yet, somewhere, perhaps close by, humanity faces the consequences of such deaths every day, often in the form of gun violence. Today has been set apart as a time to  pray for a solution to gun violence.

            Creation also groans under the weight of separation and even hate. That separation and hate is drawn along the lines of difference. All too often our siblings in the LGBTQ+ community feel it. All too often our black and brown siblings feel it.

            So, what are we supposed to do, anyway? What could we offer that would ever possibly be enough? There is a poem by Mother Teresa of Calcutta which is said to have been on the wall in her room. I think it is a good road map for the journey we are on in these times.  Mother Teresa wrote –

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

This poem could be titled Love Anyway. And even though Mother Teresa did not use the word love in this poem, love is  clearly what this poem is about, and I feel like we should all shout, AMEN!

So, what about us? Where are we supposed to go with all of this? How do we move forward in times like these? How do we come together? The apostle, Paul put it so well and his words are a lot like the final analysis in Mother Teresa’s poem. Paul said Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Paul said this to people who were divided about many things and Paul was saying to them love anyway.

This is my prayer today and this is my greeting. May the God of love and peace be with us all! Amen.

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