Sermon for Trinity Sunday
Text: Psalm 8:1-2
O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world! Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies. You are safe and secure from all your enemies; you stop anyone who opposes you.
Safe and secure
Let me begin with a true story from a prison. A young woman involved in demonstrations against the oppressiveness and injustices of the government in her country in South America, was arrested and placed in solitary confinement. Her jail cell was cold, and damp, there was a bucket in the corner for a toilet and a mattress on the floor for a bed. There was no window and only a single light bulb.
In going to jail; she said farewell to her freedom, friends and perhaps even to life itself. After a few days in jail, a soldier came in and unscrewed the light bulb and took it, leaving her in total darkness. Through the darkness he laughed at her and taunted her, “We have taken away your freedom, your friends and now your light. What are you going to do now? You are all alone in the dark!”
Immediately the young woman replied, “You have taken away my light bulb, but you can't take away the true Light. Jesus is my Light! He is here with me in the dark!”
This young woman took her faith and hope in Jesus seriously just as people right throughout the Scriptures trusted the promises of God to always watch over his people.
Last week we celebrated Pentecost and the disciples were sent out into a hostile world to tell everyone far and wide about the Good News of what God has done for all people through his Son. They went with Jesus’ words ringing in their ears, “I will be with you always”. He knew that the task he had given them wouldn’t be easy.
This promise of God is a theme that runs right through the Bible.
When God speaks to Moses at the burning bush and God gives him the
awesome task of challenging Pharaoh, he says,
“I will be with you”.
God says to Joshua who is about to lead the people in Canaan, "I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you" (Joshua 1:5).
In Isaiah, God says to the people he loved who were suffering a great deal, “I will never forget you. I have written your name on the palm of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15,16).
Psalm 8, David says,
“O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world! Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies. You are safe and secure from all your enemies; you stop anyone who opposes you”.
On the one hand, the greatness of God is praised.
The God who made the sky, the planets, the whole universe and set everything in motion;
the God who created every living thing from the largest to the smallest cell and has a careful watch over all that he has made;
yet he is able to intimately and individually care for each one of us who must seem like fleas in comparison to the vastness of the universe. “You are safe and secure”, we are told. In another place, “I know your name”.
In today’s reading from Romans, Paul declares that because of Christ and our relationship we have with God through him, we can rejoice when we run into problems and trials. These things build up our faith and hope through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us (Romans 5:3-4). So regardless of what happens Pauls says, “We are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God”. This is Paul’s way of saying, “Don’t worry. Our Father in heaven has everything under control. His Son has made peace with us. The Holy Spirit has given us hope. Whatever may happen we can be bold and confident. God is on our side. So be happy!”
That young woman in her dark mouldy jail cell in South America trusted God’s promises. She believed that even though it seemed she was all alone and that everything was against her, there was still one who stood by her side and who would never give up on her. Her trust rested solely on the One who said, “I am with you always”; “you are safe and secure”; “nothing can separate you from my love”.
God makes that promise to each of us. He speaks that to us in his Word in the Bible. He said it to us at our baptism when we were adopted us into his family and we were given a place in his kingdom much the same way children are adopted into families today.
Connell and his wife Jane adopted a baby girl from Korea. They had no biological ties with this adorable little baby girl. This child was in an orphanage and didn't come with any wealth, or the promise of great intellect, or any guarantee to be free of unforeseen difficulties and disabilities. This child was simply accepted as a member of the family.
From the moment the adoption was finalised they regarded her as their very own. Gave her their name. She has been given opportunities that she would have never dreamt of in her original homeland. She has a new home now. In every way she is their child as if she had been born right here in Australia to the people she now calls Mum and Dad.
That's what happens to us when we are adopted and given a new life by God. Yes, we are created by our Father in heaven, but we are not the people God intends us to be because of our sin. When we are love by God and chosen to be is people, he stakes his claim on our lives. God says to each of us, “I will be your God, and you will be my child, and I will forgive your sin and give you eternal life. You are mine and I have great things for you to do. But above all, when things will be the toughest and hardest, I will always be here to help you through those times. You can count on my love for you."
When Connell and Jane adopted their daughter from Korea this was an adoption for life. There was never any thought that this would only be a short term thing or that they would be happy to have her as long as she did all the right things. Even if it turned out that their daughter had some kind of problem or disability, they were committed for the long haul.
Your adoption into God's family is for life. When God put his name on you, he claimed you forever. You will never stop being God's child. Your heavenly Father is the God of the universe and that’s awesome, but what is even more awesome is that he cares about you every moment of your life. Jesus said, “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” God will never break that promise.
Of course it’s possible for us to turn away from God and his love. We might do that for any number of reasons but that doesn’t mean God stops loving us. Like the waiting father in Jesus’ story about the son who left home and got caught up in all kinds of riotous living, our heavenly Father will always be our Father, waiting for us to come home.
Let me come back to Psalm 8 and it’s clear David, the writer of this song is amazed that the almighty, all-powerful creator of the universe who is worthy of the greatest praise in heaven and on earth, should be so concerned about just one tiny dot of his creation. He says, “I often think of the heavens your hands have made, and of the moon and stars you put in place. Then I ask, "Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?” (CEV). God has even given humanity control over the affairs of this world. Why has God done this?
David doesn’t answer the question but simply concludes by praising God. It’s not that David didn’t know the answer. Our God deeply desires a relationship with his creation. He loves those whom he has made and has placed on this earth. He will do anything, like any loving parent, to make sure that our journey through life is as confident and bold and full of hope that it can be, in spite of the roadblocks that bring sadness, worry, grief and pain along the way. Just as a parent wants to protect his/her child from danger, he wants to protect us. And when trouble comes he wants to be there with us to strengthen us, comfort us, love us and give us hope.
And so on this Trinity Sunday we are reminded that we have the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit walking behind us, ahead of us and hovering over us as we walk this
path through life.
He knows us better than we know ourselves.
He knows when we need reassuring.
He knows when we are afraid and timid and need encouragement.
He knows when we are guilty and depressed and need comforting.
He lives in us even though we allow our sinful nature to take control of our lives so often.
He knows when we are doubting and need his presence.
In short, the Triune God is determined that we know how much he loves us.
I know we like to separate the roles of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It helps us in some way to comprehend God a little better and understand with our small minds who God is. Be assured our simple explanations don’t do justice to the majesty, power and greatness of God, nor to the love, compassion and understanding that he has of each of us.
Today let us just focus on God, the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together as one when it comes to loving and caring for you and me. We join with the psalmist praising the God who made us and all creation in such a wonderful way, the God who destroyed sin and death by walking on this earth as one of us, such was the strength of his love for us, the God who fills us with his love and peace and promises to keep us “safe and secure”.
In this life we won’t ever fully understand the intricate nature of the Triune God, but one thing we can understand and it’s all we need to know and trust – his love for us is absolutely amazing.
O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world! Your praise reaches up to the heavens.
© Pastor Vince
22nd May 2016