Sermons from St Faith's     

Revd Sue Lucas, Trinity Sunday, May 31st, 2015

There are a number of mean tricks one can play on one’s curate – and, yes, I served my time as being the butt of everyone’s jokes – including – especially – my training incumbent!

It sometimes happens – depending on the date of Easter - to get a newly-minted priest – to preach at Trinity. (Deacons are usually ordained a bit later on, at Petertide).  And it’s really mean – because the temptation is either to get caught up in a lot of abstract theological head stuff from the Ecumenical Councils (the question of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son is still a bone of contention between East and West in the Church) – or to say, simply – ‘it’s all a mystery, Amen’ – and then sit down.

I’m not going to either – because neither is quite right. Of course our intellects are important – and we shouldn’t leave them at the Church door.  Equally, God as Trinity is not a puzzle to be solved – and by the way you all know that one of our wardens created wooden puzzles of the most fiendish and annoying variety -  but a mystery to be experienced, experienced above all in prayer.

And how very difficult this is for us.  It is said – by one of the Desert Fathers, I think – that Adam prayed as he breathed; yet we are fallen humanity – and, like the Adam, the archetypal human, we find it hard to be naked before God – in our Gospel, Nicodemus, the representative of the intellectual elite, the religious ruling class, can only cover his naked vulnerability with night. And even then he doesn’t get it – he cannot step out of his intellect and allow the presence of God to transform him.

It is difficult for us, too – for it is, as in Isaiah’s vision – an awesome thing to come into the presence of God – for we realise that God is God, and cannot be manipulated or negotiated with or appropriated into our own petty grandiose schemes.

But to the extent that we can – well, then, we are, like Isaiah, caught up in the life of God, in the fire that touches our hearts and our lips, burning away all that separates us from God.  It is an awesome thing to come into the presence of God;

But if we dare – we are caught up in the life of God – and the life of God,we discover, is relentless, committed love – the mutual, indwelling love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

And if we dare – we realise we are caught up in the life of God, because we were made to be loved, made to share in the dance of love that is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And once we dare to realise that we are made for love, we realise too that the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit runs over, for all humanity.

I’m sure some of you know the wonderful Rublev icon of the Trinity; three figures are seated round a central table – it depicts the scene in Genesis in which Abraham receives three strangers with generous hospitality.  As you look at the icon you are drawn in by the gorgeous robes of the three figure; by the sense of balance between them – the eye is perhaps drawn to one or other, as they seem to have a sense of attentiveness, of relaxed yet alert listening about them;

But above all, there is an empty place at the table – and it gradually dawns on us that we are invited to that place – even as we are called to invite in the Guest who walks with us, our hearts burning within us: abide with us, Lord, for it is evening; abide with us in the evening of the day, in the evening of our lives, in the evening of the world; abide with us, and with all your church, God most holy, God most strong, that we may be drawn into the fire of your love, and burn with it, that we might make the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, visible in all the world.  Amen.

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