Trinity Sunday 30th May

The Linkage 

                        The Scottish Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Aberfoyle,

St Andrew’s Callander

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden – Interim Pastor

01877 330448

Trinity Sunday  30th May 2021

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who spoke in the beginning

and brought the world into being.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who came to dwell among us

to set us free.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One whose Spirit rests continually upon us,

calling us to new beginnings.

This hymn draws on the awe that Isaiah felt – see the first reading.  It is sung at

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Holy, holy, holy! All saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Collect:   Father, we praise you: through your Word and Holy Spirit you created all things.  You reveal your salvation in all the world by sending to us Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  Through your Holy Spirit you give us a share in your life and love.  Fill us with the vision of your glory, that we may always serve and praise you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

Gospel:  John 3:1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

It is said that when the great St Augustine was walking on the beach, he saw a little boy who had dug a little hole in the sand.
He trotted off to the sea and brought back a cup of water to put into the hole. What are you doing?  said St Augustine Trying to pour the ocean into this little hole, said the boy. You’ll never manage that, said Augustine, the ocean is too great, and the hole is too small. That’s like God, said the boy, he’s too big to fit into our minds.

Augustine wrote a lot about the Trinity, as have many other theologians – often with ‘deadly confidence’.  But Augustine wrote as a pastor: his views grew out of the attempts he and his flock made to pray, worship and love the God they followed.  

I find it helpful to think of the Trinity as three paths to approach the mysterious God who is beyond our sight and understanding.  Sometimes, I need to seek the One who holds us firm in the midst of change and trouble, the One who will not let us go nor let us grow into anything less than the fullness of life.

At other times I am drawn towards the Child born for us, the Son given to us, who takes the government and cares and sin of this world onto his own shoulders.  His purity, openness, honesty, wondrous love, tenacious humility and undaunted joy call me back time and time again. 

And from time to time I sense a Voice calling on the way: a prompt, an alert, a song, or maybe a chuckle.  I don’t usually recognise the Voice until afterwards, when I realise that it’s the Spirit of truth that we’ve been reading about in John’s gospel.

At least – that’s how it seems to me today.  Like all who try to draw close to God, my understanding of ‘Trinity’ is a work in progress that will never be anything like completed this side of eternity …

Prayers of intercession:   (adapted from Sacredise)
When powers struggle for dominance, and war, oppression and abuse result; when groups of people oppose one another
because of ideology, religion or culture: we need a God who is bigger than ourselves, and our personal interests.
So we pray for the troubled parts of the world, especially for Israel and Gaza, and Belarus.  God of the nations, bring peace and freedom to those who are frightened and oppressed.

When people are disregarded and devalued because of poverty, geography or disease; when compassion and justice is withheld to some because of sexuality, race or gender: we need a Saviour who is more compassionate than we are who includes even those we would exclude.
So we pray for those whom we tend to forget:  loving Christ, comfort with your presence those with little healthcare or vaccines;  those in prisons, care homes, or sub-standard housing;  those who will be neglected or abused this day.

When resources are mismanaged and abused, and the world and its creatures are destroyed; when motivation is scarce and creativity is in short supply to address the challenges that we face; we need a Spirit who is more powerful and more creative
than we could ever be.
So we pray for those whose inspiration can renew the world:  Spirit of truth, guide the scientists and engineers who seek solutions to our problems, and fill artists, writers and all creative souls with the power to change our hearts.

Lord God, loving Saviour, empowering Spirit, we offer you these prayers because we need you so desperately. Captivate us, call us and fill us, that we may be carriers of your eternal life
to this world that you love so dearly. Amen.

We affirm our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.   Amen.

Closing prayer:  God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side, and guide us in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.  Amen

Here is a verse from the glorious ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’: bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.