Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday that we celebrate a doctrine. The doctrine of the Trinity attempts to explain something of the mystery of who God is. You may have seen the Trinity being explained by anything that has 3 parts. For example, a clover leaf, an egg (shell, white and yolk) or water (ice, liquid, steam), but like any images we use they are inadequate to fully explain how God can be 3 but 1. Let us continue to rejoice in the mystery of who God is as we come to worship today.
Call to Worship
(Inspired by Psalm 8)
Gathered in the name of Jesus Christ,
inspired by the Holy Spirit,
and blessed by God,
we come to worship one, holy God.
O God, our own God,
how wonderful is your name in all the earth.
Your majesty is the music of the starry skies.
yet even children of dust can sing your praises.
In the name of the Healer, the Provider and the Enabler,
let your gratitude and joy be made known.
O God, our own God,
how wonderful is your name in all the Earth!
written by Bruce Prewer (adapted), and posted on the http://pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au/ website.
Acknowledgement of Country
The Ancient of Days breathed life into this land and Her peoples.
From time beyond our reckoning, the People have blessed this place through their law and customs, their care and concern.
We pay our respects to their Elders and Leaders, past, present and emerging, and pray for the future of their communities.
May we walk gently and respectfully on this Land.
We sing 2 hymns:
This first hymn helps us celebrate the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, “Great Jehovah three in One”.
“Glory Be to God the Father”
Horatius Bonar (1866)
Let’s continue to praise our God as we sing How Great is our God and continue to praise “The Godhead Three in One”.
We sing “How Great is our God”
Songwriters: Chris Tomlin / Ed Cash / Jesse Reeves
How Great Is Our God lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group, Capitol CMG Publishing, Music Services, Inc
Prayer of Thanksgiving & Confession
Take out a pretzel for this prayer.
(For those home if you don’t have pretzels, other food that has 3 parts would work or just imagine what a pretzel is like.)
Let us pray:
(Hold the pretzel in one hand and notice how it is all one but also has three parts.)
Lord, we know that you come to us as three parts of the one being. However, this just explains you in part. You are so much bigger and far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you, Lord, that you committed to giving all of yourself to us by giving your only son so that we might live, and then leaving us with the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal yourself to us. Thank you, Lord, that you are with us in all that happens to us in our lives, the high and the low points, and everything in between.
(Notice how the pretzel is like two hands praying.)
Thank you, God, that Jesus is always praying for us and that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray to you. Help us to remember that we can come to you anytime in prayer about anything. No issue is too big for you and no issue is too small for you to care.
(Feel the pretzel. It is hard and shiny & real!)
God, you are very real to us, and we thank you for our presence in our lives. Lord, as we continue to seek you, we will find you and see you working in our lives.
Lord, as we eat the pretzel, we thank you that you live in us and work in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord, as food nourishes our bodies, you nourish our souls and give us strength to face, whatever this coming week will bring.
We thank you for your presence in our lives, however you come to us.
We pray these things in Jesus’ name.
(Enjoy eating your pretzel now.)
Let’s continue our time of pray as we come before God in confession:
When we play god,
pretending we know best for ourselves
and those around us,
and seeking to control what is uncontrollable,
we reveal our idolatry.
Forgive us and help us, O God.
When we act like martyrs,
hiding our selfishness and brokenness
behind a mask of self-sacrifice
we reveal our lovelessness.
Forgive us and help us, O Christ.
When we fail to be the people we long to be,
repeating the same mistakes,
forgetting the same lessons,
losing heart and running out of energy and inspiration,
we reveal our weakness.
Forgive us and help us, O Spirit.
Triune God, we need you to come to us again,
Thank you that our forgiveness, healing and growth,
lies not in how hard we work,
but in how gracious you are.
And so, we pray, with all that we are:
Forgive us and help us,
For the sake of your Kingdom.
Assurance of Pardon
(inspired by John 3:16-17)
How much does God love us?
Enough to send the divine heart, hope, and spirit to us,
not to condemn us, but to save us.
Not by our speaking or doing,
but by God’s good and precious grace are we saved.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his Lectionary Liturgies blog.
As we finish this time of prayer, let us offer our lives & adoration to the Father, to Jesus and to the Spirit as we sing: Father I Adore You – Scripture in Song volume 1 number 174
Prayer of Illumination
(Adapted from John Wesley’s Sunday Service, 1784)
Holy, Holy, Holy,
Merciful, Eternal, and Mighty,
by your grace you have shown us who you are,
One in Three, and Three in One.
We glorify you as Trinity,
even as we worship you in your Unity.
Open our hearts to receive your Word to us today,
that not only in our worship
but in our lives
we may serve and reflect your Triune Love
all our days. Amen.
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
This is the Word of God.
Praise to you Almighty God.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
This is the Gospel of our Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Passing the Peace
As we pass the peace may we remember we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s pass the peace now:
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
And also with you.
On this Trinity Sunday let’s explore a little bit about who God is. How do we explain God, this divine being? Since the beginning, Humans have been struggling to describe who this God is. He is so much bigger and greater than anything we can explain or imagine. Each part of the Godhead is truly and completely God, yet each is distinct from the others. Our eternal God, the God who was, and is, and is to come, as we read in Revelation 4:8, made Himself known in the central Bible acts in the NT of the Father sending the Son and sending the Holy Spirit.
How do we know God or what do we call God? The Israelites name for God was Yahweh or Jehovah, which is often translated LORD in English. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he called himself “I AM”. Exodus 3:14 reads: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’””. Then in John, when Jesus uses the seven “I am” statements when talking about himself, he is essentially saying that he is God. These “I am” statements are:
- I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48-51)
- I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12)
- I AM the Gate for the Sheep (John 10:7-10)
- I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:14-16)
- I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26)
- I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)
- I AM the True Vine (John 15:5)
In John 8:58 we read, “”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!””.
This God who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and told him to tell others the Great I am has sent me, came in the form of Jesus showing more of God to us. He then sent the Holy Spirit so that all who have faith are justified and have the Holy Spirit poured into their lives so that we continue to testify about the great “I AM”.
God, this divine being, chose to reveal God’s self to us in the person of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. In a way God comes to us in relationship. Kieran O”Mahony says that the Trinity is not a puzzle to be solved “but rather a mystery, a relationship which is first of all lived, never exhausted and only inadequately spoken of in words.” (Hearers of the Word: Praying and Exploring the Readings for Easter & Pentecost: Year A). The God who created us for relationship with God and for relationship with others, actually is part of a relationship within his own being. We who are made in the image of God are also relational.
This triune God is about relationship. We need the Holy Spirit’s help, we can’t do it on our own. We can see relationship in our readings today. We can not only see how God the Father, Son & Spirit work together, but we can see how God works in us. It’s interesting how Paul uses the word “we” throughout the Romans passage:
- We have been justified through faith (5:1)
- We have peace with God (5:1)
- We have gained access by faith (5:2)
- In which we now stand (5:2)
- We rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God (5:2)
- We also rejoice in our sufferings (5:3)
Faith is communal. Just as God is communal, our faith is communal.
This peace that we have with God is about a new relationship with God through Jesus. Jesus has ushered us into the presence of God.
In this passage we see faith, hope and love, which is found often in the New Testament, particularly in Paul’s teachings. Hope is not wishful thinking, but comes from the firm foundation we have in Jesus.
We rejoice in our suffering not because of our sufferings, but because it produces perseverance, character and hope in us. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. This is a specific thing that we have our hope in. Keri Wyatt Kent says “… God gives us hope in spite of sufferings, and enables us to be patient, so that we are able to grow in faith…” (Deeper into the Word: New Testament, p99). Our faith in God, who He is and what He does and has done for us, is the reason we can have hope.
Again, Wyatt Kent says about the progression of the passage in Romans: “We put our faith in God, which justifies us. That justification brings us peace with God and access to his grace. That grace enables us to endure suffering. And even our sufferings ultimately lead us to hope.” (Deeper into the Word: New Testament, p100). Note how we are justified or put right with God, it is through faith. We can never be good enough by what we do to be justified, but we don’t need to be. The only way to be put right with God is to have faith in God, through Jesus Christ. Then God’s love has also been poured into our lives through the Holy Spirit. Romans 1:17 says “For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith …, just as it is written ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”. The righteous will live by faith in that verse, is a quote from Habakkuk 2:4. We are justified by faith and not by any works that we do or can do, but because of the work of Jesus.
Another word for perseverance is endurance. Wyatt Kent says “…we build spiritual endurance by continuing to seek God even when it’s difficult or He seems distant or life is just plain hard and we want to give up.” (Deeper into the Word: New Testament,p139). “Perseverance is an active patience that refuses to give up or despair in the face of difficulty.” (Deeper into the Word: New Testament, p140).
In the John reading, which is again part of the final discourse of Jesus, we read again about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here he is called the “Spirit of Truth”. In essence and in action the Spirit is characterised by truth. The Spirit helps bring us to the truth of God. Jesus and the Holy Spirt are both pointing us to the truth of God. All three persons of the Trinity are linked with truth. In our John reading today, the Spirit is linked with truth by being called the “Spirit of Truth”. The Spirit is not speaking on his own but speaking the same truth from Jesus and God. In Psalm 30:4 we read “…redeem me, O Lord, the God of Truth.”, thus linking God with truth. In John 14:6 we read “I am the way and the truth and the life….”, Jesus is linking himself with truth. Jesus, who is the truth, has been sent by the God of truth and has left us with the Spirit of truth. Through this truth we can be confident of our faith in God and that God will lead us through suffering and grow our faith through perseverance, which produces character, and from this comes our hope. Bruce Shields suggests that truth is relational. Which helps confirm that our triune God of truth is relational.
Many translations of John 16:13 say “when” the Spirit of truth comes, however the Greek word more literally says “whenever” or “as often as”. Therefore, the Spirit’s coming is not a one-time thing that only happened at Pentecost or only happens once in our lives. The Spirit keeps coming and continues to be part of our lives if we have faith.
God the Father has sent God the Son, who then sends God the Spirit. God reveals Himself to us in the Son and then in the Spirit. We, too, are sent as a continuation of the Trinity’s mission. We are sent to glorify and testify to God. When Jesus is praying for his disciples in John 17, he says in verse 18, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world”. So, we, who by faith are justified or put right with God, have the Spirit of truth working in our lives so that we can share who our great God is with others.
Be assured that the same God who sent Jesus to reveal more of Him to us, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Romans 5:5). Be assured that God is with us and working in our lives during the good times and the bad times. Let us rejoice, for our God is mighty and powerful and greater than anything that can happen to us in this World.
Affirmation of Faith, from the Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD. It was amended in 381AD at the First Council of Constantinople. Let us affirm our faith as we join with other Christians around the World who will recite this creed on Trinity Sunday as well.
We believe in one God,
The Father, the Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
Of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
The only Son of God,
Eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
True God from true God,
Begotten, not made,
Of one being with the Father;
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
He came down from Heaven;
Was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
And became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
In accordance with the Scriptures;
He ascended into Heaven
And is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
And his Kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
Who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come. Amen.
Let’s continue to praise our “Great, living God, never fully known” as we sing “Bring Many Names”
Words © 1989 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188
Mighty God, who is both one and three, we praise you as God above us, God beside us, and God within us. We bring our gifts to you in worship and gratitude as our Creator and Provider of all good things. We acknowledge that our relationship with you in all three persons begins and ends on your side of the equation: beginning with your devotion and not our own, beginning with your wisdom and not our own. We come into relationship resting on your grace-filled love and not our intermittent efforts to be faithful in our love for you. Bless these gifts we give and bless the transformational impact they might have. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Let us come before God with our cares and our concerns.
Almighty God, we pray for the Church, that we may experience the length, breadth, and depth of your love that has been poured out into our hearts so that we may be transformed and fully live as your children.
We pray for a deeper appreciation of the gift of nature, that we may see in the heavens, on the Earth, and in the sea your handiwork and delight in your gifts to us.
We pray for a greater desire for truth, that we continually seek the truth so that we may see you in all things and be aware that we are always in your presence.
We pray for a deepening of virtue in our lives, that we grow in patience, endurance, fortitude, and hope and thus manifest your life in us.
We pray for all who need change and renewal, that your generous love will help those trapped by crime to seek a new way, those who hold others in servitude to free them, and help those who have abused others to change their behaviour.
We pray for renewal of our relationships, that the life and love of the Trinity will inspire us as we and grow in our relationships and learn to share our lives and enrich the lives of those to whom we are committed more fully.
We pray for all who participate in a faith community, that you will inspire them to work for the common good, encourage and accept one another, and make room for the gifts of one another.
We pray for all who are facing their addiction, that your healing Spirit will free them, open them to new sources of strength, and restore their lives.
We pray for healing, that you will bring an end to the Covid pandemic, bring healing to all who are ill, and give strength to all who are caring for them.
We pray for mercy on those whose lives are crippled by strain leading to anxiety in themselves or hostility towards others. Release their tension, give them inward peace, and
restore them to wholeness.
We pray for all who have been kidnapped, particularly missionaries: that you will preserve them from harm and open a pathway for them to return to their communities.
We pray for leaders of religion, government, and communities, that the Spirit will inspire them with ways to resolve the issues of injustice, firearms, and immigration so that all may live in peace and safety. May truth and consideration for the welfare of others be the stability of our times, and that their deepest trust be not in human institutions but in your rule and grace.
We pray for all living in violent situations, that you will protect all who are in danger, renew their hope and courage, and strengthen their ties to each other.
We pray for the gift of peace, that you will bring an end to the violence, give leaders a new understanding of the dignity of each life, and deepen the desire for peace in their hearts.
Copyright © 2022. Joe Milner. All rights reserved.<br> Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use. https://liturgy.slu.edu/
(Raymond Chapman in Leading Intercession p27, David Hostetter in Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People Year C p118 & 119)
We pray for the peoples of Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Eswatini.
We thank youfor the rich biodiversity of plants and animals and of mineral resources in this region, for the faithful witness of churches throughout the world during apartheid and how people of different races and lifestyles have come together since then, for the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and others to bring healing from the atrocities committed, and for how South Africa has made antiretroviral drugs accessible to all with HIV and AIDS.
We pray for protection of resources for the good of all rather than their exploitation for economic gain, for more democratic and transparent governance in these countries, at all levels, for effectively countering violence within families, violence in the wider society and other crime, and for adequate resources and changed attitudes for welcoming refugees in these countries.
We pray for quality leadership of churches, which do not compromise with traditional belief systems and customs, witchcraft or ancestor worship, which dilute the Gospel message. We pray for unity between denominations, so that there is a shared vision for church planting and growth. We pray for effective ministries with youth so that they will avoid substance abuse and immorality and return to church worship and fellowship.
Responsive prayer on poverty
we believe you are the God of the poor
and that poverty includes being hungry, unemployed and orphaned,
living on a pension or grant,
meagre earnings for arduous and hazardous work,
ill health, anxiety and stress and the absence of power,
worsened for women by unequal gender relations.
we hold up to you all those living in poverty.
We believe that God wants all people to live a dignified life
and engage in meaningful work,
that workers should receive fair wages,
and that those who possess more resources and skills
must share them in neighbourly love with those who have less.
open our eyes to the deep needs of those who are poor.
We believe that the challenge of fighting poverty
does not lie solely with governments,
but that faith-based organisations are ideally positioned to address it,
with their human and financial resources.
challenge us to see ways in which we can work against poverty.
We renew our commitment to be in solidarity with the poor
and to work against any form of injustice.
We commit ourselves to put our faith into action
and to demonstrate our faith in practical ways,
so that together we can overcome the scourge of poverty.
in your mercy, hear our prayer and strengthen us in our commitment
(Based on extracts from statements on poverty by Diakonia’s member churches.
In: Pilgrimage of Hope © Diakonia Council of Churches 2009, Durban, South Africa.)
We pray for the work of Uniting World as they partner with the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka and their agency, DeafLink, as they week to work with people with disabilities, who are some of the most vulnerable people in Sri Lanka, often excluded from society, lack access to services and find it difficult to secure employment.
We pray for the schemes, primarily in the North and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, to provide occupational training to women with disabilities and provide access to education for children with disabilities, enabling them, through work and study, to be accepted, equal and valued members of society.
We pray for their work with their partner, the Bali Protestant Church (GKPB) through their agency, Maha Bhoga Marga Foundation (MBM), to advocate for the rights of women and the poor to participate in village decision-making processes, to provide women and poor families with vocational skills training so they can generate an income through activities such as basket weaving and raising livestock, and to support rural communities with health and hygiene services and education.
We pray for their work with their partner, the Church of North India – Diocese of Eastern Himalayas, in building small schools in a remote mountain village, subsidising teachers’ salaries, supporting schools to provide affordable education to families, to train teachers and to pursue government accreditation, and with the provision of food and hygiene kits to school students.
We thank you for the leaders of Religious Instruction classes at Bald Hills State School, and ask that they will be encouraged to continue with their efforts. May your Spirit be inspiring the children in the classes to search for a deeper understanding of the part that you can play in their lives.
We pray for the Chaplain at Bald hills State School, Kylie, that you will encourage and guide her as she seeks to meet the needs of children, parents and staff at the school.
We pray for the Deception Bay Congregation, for your guidance and insight into their call for a new Minister of the word.
We pray for encouragement for Jillian as she continues her work with the Church Council and the people of the Congregation to clarify our vision and mission goals as your people in the Bald Hills area. We pray for your blessing on the deliberations of those on Church Council as they consider how the Congregation is to move forward in the future.
We pray for those who we have not seen for some time. Please guide and comfort them in their particular circumstances. May they be aware of your care for them as they meet what each new day brings.
Loving God, we bring these prayers to you, trusting in your compassion and care.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come,
your will be done, on Earth as it is 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 forever. Amen.
Let us continue to praise the great name of God as we sing Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise – TiS143 AHB80 MHB34
Verse 1 of 4
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, The Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Verse 2 of 4
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might:
Thy justice, like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
Verse 3 of 4
To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree,
Then wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.
Verse 4 of 4
Thou reignest in glory, thou rulest in light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render; O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee!
God the Father watch over us –hands reaching up high above the body
God the Son walk with us-hands reaching out wide either side of the body
God the Spirit work through us –hands crossed over the body
Until we meet again–wave at each other
“Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” TiS768 AHB573
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, you Heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.