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Trinity Sunday : 26th May 2024

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Isaiah 6:1-8
00:00 / 02:24

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Romans 8:12-17
00:00 / 01:19

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint John.

John 3:1-17
00:00 / 02:39

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Experience The Trinity
00:00 / 11:10

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon for Trinity Sunday, 26th May 2024

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

Today is Trinity Sunday - a day in the Christian calendar when all believers throughout the world are encouraged to think about the nature of the God whom we serve and love.

We worship ONE God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and, of course, that idea is completely mind-bending; how can one God be equally “Three Persons”? Father, Son and Holy Spirit? <PAUSE> We can tie ourselves up in knots trying to understand how that can be but, in the end, every analogy falls short of the reality of God and we end up no nearer the truth and perhaps even more confused.

Perhaps Trinity Sunday should be easier than all of that. Perhaps, instead of trying to work out how God IS Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we should concentrate instead on the wonderful fact that this is how we EXPERIENCE God. <PAUSE>

We should and do experience God as our heavenly Father; loving us, holding us, guarding our lives.

We should and do experience God as the Son; forgiving us, praying for us, leaving an example for us to follow.

We should and do experience God as the Holy Spirit; empowering us to live for Him and to live for others.

At the end of the day, it is NOT the doctrine of the Holy Trinity that is important. What is important is how we experience God, in three persons, in our lives.

It is that experience of God that we should strive to hold onto in faith, and it is that experience of God that we should strive to share with other people so that they can experience God for themselves.

So Trinity Sunday is a day not to tie ourselves up in theological knots, but a day to celebrate our experience of God in our everyday lives:

God the lover,

God the forgiver,

God the empowerer.

<PAUSE>  THAT is something truly worth celebrating and truly worth sharing with others!

John’s Gospel message this morning is a perfect example of someone making exactly that transition. Nicodemus was struggling to understand the exact nature of Jesus and His relationship to God the Father … Jesus turns the conversation into one about how Nicodemus can experience God, which is far more important.

Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night to talk with him. Nicodemus is only mentioned in the Gospel of John but he’s a central character in the narrative. Nicodemus was a Jewish leader – a Pharisee and he comes to Jesus (here in chapter 3) having seen the miracles but unsure what to make of them. In Chapter 7, we meet Nicodemus again as he tells the other Jewish leaders to give Jesus a fair hearing. Finally, we meet him again in Chapter 19, when he comes with Joseph of Arimathea to collect Jesus’ body for burial.

It seems that John gives us the story of Nicodemus to represent those who are on the edge of the Jesus event, seeing all that he does, but are not quite able to make up their minds and don’t quite make a public commitment to him.

And yet Jesus knows Nicodemus’ heart and he knows that respect, affection and partial rational understanding is not enough. There is more, MUCH more in the Nicodemus story:

1. It is not enough to be a religious observer:

Quite simply, Christianity is not a “spectator-sport”. Christianity is a way of living, a way of being with God. Looking at Christian events from a human perspective is not enough: what is needed is new life, new sight: birth from above. The Kingdom of God is not a phenomenon to be observed: it is a gift to be received.

2. We are called to active participants:

As Christians, we are called to participate actively in the life of the Church, and it is this that Jesus refers to when he mentions water, which is, of course, the water of baptism. When we are baptised, we are baptised into the family that is “the body of Christ”. Just as each family-member in the domestic home has something to offer that family unit, in the same way, each baptised believer must find their place through participating in the life of The Risen Christ by constantly asking “how can I help”?


3. That we are participants in the resurrection of Jesus:

“No-one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

The Spirit, of course, is the Holy Spirit, but what is interesting in this passage is Jesus’ response to Nicodemus when he seems not to understand.

In verse 9, Nicodemus asks, “How can these things be?” And Jesus is really short with him, verse 10: “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?”

Jesus is short with Nicodemus because, as a Pharisee steeped in the Scriptures, his mind should have gone immediately to Ezekiel 37:5: “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord to you: ‘I will cause the spirit to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put the spirit in you, and you shall live.”

So this reference to being ‘born from above’ is a reference to the resurrection, which is promised to us as a result of us being united with Christ in his resurrection. It is the lifting up of Jesus on the cross that is the source of our salvation. It is the resurrection of Jesus that is the source of our new life and, as Paul says, if we are united with Christ in His death, we will certainly be united with Him in his resurrection. <PAUSE>

It is this “newness of life” that we celebrate today, this Trinity Sunday, around the world.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMINE>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us in His own image;

To God the Son who loved us, and washed away our Sins in his own Blood;

To God the Holy Spirit, who spreads the Love of God abroad in our hearts,

we raise our prayers this morning.

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your mercy” Our response is, “hear our prayer!”

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Father God we pray for the leaders of the nations, and for those in authority under them.  Give them all a desire to work for international unity seeking to halt the threat of war and terrorism, and that the common good of all humanity be served by their efforts.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Son of God we pray for Your people and their role in the witness of the Holy Spirit and for all those who live, work and visit our communities.  Speak Your word of peace in our midst, and help us to serve one another as Christ has served us.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Spirit of God we pray for those who do not believe, and for those of hesitant belief. Open their ears to hear Your voice, and open their hearts to receive You, the very Spirit of life.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Gracious God we pray for those weighed down with grief, fear or sickness.  May Christ, Your living Word, bring them comfort and healing.

We especially raise before You now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by You.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Loving God we give thanks for all who have died in the faith of Christ, and we rejoice with them and all Your saints, trusting in the promise of Your word of Life Eternal fulfilled through Your son Jesus Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your Mercy: Hear our prayer

In a moment of silence we pray for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy of the prayers that Your Son offers on our behalf.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Faithful God, as we go out into the world we pray that this celebration of the mysteries of The Holy Trinity may bring us a renewed sense of the wonder and unity that is shared by all Christians around the world.  May we use the love of The Father, the redemption won by The Son, and the power of The Holy Spirit to spread the good news and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy: hear our prayer

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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