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Sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday Year B May 26, 2024

God is Community (John 3:1-17)

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. It’s a day where we try to identify, categorize and contain our understanding of God through our creeds, and our doctrines.

But here’s the deal…

we miss the mystery of God,

we miss the love of God,

we miss the forgiveness of God when we try to put God into a three- pronged box.

God is so much more than a safety plug with a grounding prong…

God is a mystery; the trinity is a mystery…

We, as humans believe that a mystery is a puzzle that must be solved!

but the mystery of God is an invitation to become a part of that mystery,

to be embodied in God,

 to realize that God is not just outside us in community, God is within us

God himself is community! A community of love!

 and we, my friends, as God’s children are invited into the divine community we call the Holy Trinity.

In the early days, there were no doctrines to explain the beliefs for this new way of life.

The followers of Jesus were called the Followers of the Way, precisely because it was an organic, flowing, new way of loving, living, and forgiving.

There was no doctrine of the Holy Trinity and yet God’s presence was celebrated in all things in all ways.

God, as presented in the Bible has always had more than one way of communicating with his people….

God the creator,

 Jesus, the wisdom of God and the incarnated word of God

  the Holy Spirit, the very breath of God ….

All these expressions of God were present in Judaism, but they were not separated into 3 persons as we do, instead they were seen as three characteristics of the One God of Israel.

 Having one God in ancient times was important as it set the Israelites apart from the other nations of the world, all of whom worshipped many gods.

Essentially Christians understand God as community within himself that promotes community in creation…not just for humans but for all living things.

Have you ever wondered why we live in neighborhoods, communities, and nations?

The answer is simple:

We are made in God’s image and God is community!

We are hard wired so to speak to seek relationships with one another.

This is important in today’s very individualistic society….

How many times have we claimed to be a self- made success…conveniently forgetting everybody along the way who helped us achieve our goals?

We tend to forget God’s role in our lives…and God’s definition of success over and against the world’s definition…

For God, trusting him, turning to him, being loved by him, guided by him, loving others,

in other words, living faithfully is a successful life is his kingdom…

   all other things- status, power, wealth…are signs of the world’s success, not God’s

We forget that because God’s very essence exists in community, we are hard-wired to seek and need others

We are hard-wired to live in communities…family, faith, local, national, worldwide communities

Think for a moment about the things we enjoy—George and I love to cruise, so we are part of a larger cruising community…

but there are other communities as well…communities for grief support, sports communities, communities for work, 55 plus communities, golf communities, fraternities, and sororities…do you see what I mean?

If we’re meant to be individuals with individual success and faith, why do we continually seek out groups and activities that are vital to our passion, our work, our families, our faith?

If we are so sure we’re individuals, why are all our activities now organized into group activities…bowling leagues, baseball leagues, soccer leagues, a league for social justice, leagues that support new mothers, groups for addiction…the list is endless

Even introverts seek contact with other individuals…

Christianity itself is a community, a group of people who believe that Jesus is Christ, and that Christ is the Son of God,

Christians trust in Christ as we follow his way of life, his teachings, his love for all people…

 We follow Christ’s way of life through worship services, Bible study, prayer chains, community projects, standing up for social justice, freely giving our time and our talents to help those in need.

Weaving in and out of each other’s lives like dance partners moving among other dancers.

In John 3: 16-17 we hear that God loved the world so much, a world that didn’t really love him back,

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

And why did God send Jesus into the world? Not to condemn us or destroy us but to show us the never-ending love and grace that God has for us…you see for God it didn’t matter that the world didn’t love him

God loved the world; he loved creation unconditionally and that was enough for him to save the world through his Son Jesus.

On Trinity Sunday, God reminds us that we don’t understand the mystery…

we struggle to express the Trinity in words because words let us down.

How can we define this Three in One and One in Three concept of God to ourselves and others?

Trying to put the Trinity into words is tricky and shows us how hard it is to understand even the tip of the iceberg that is the mystery of God.

It shows us that God is much bigger, much more alive, and a lot more than we are…

Our description of God as Trinity is unique to Christianity.

The concept of the Holy Trinity is the one major distinction that sets Christianity apart from the other Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Islam

There’s very little in the Christian story that’s not repeated in one form or another in other religions… creation story, a great flood, deliverance from enemies

God’s relationship and love for people through the Trinity is unique to Christianity

We speak of Trinity to describe the way God reveals God’s self to us and makes himself real in our relational world.

My friend and colleague, the Rev. John David Bryant describes the Trinity this way,, as Lover, Beloved, Love Itself

This multifaceted God is best described by our poor description of community… of love, support, care and nurturing that we all seek and desire.

God— Father, Son, and holy Spirit—

  relating to each of these persons is how we come to know the wholeness of God in our life. But we also need to remember that all three work in all things even though we identify them separately- there is only 1 God.

God is one and God is three… knowing this is not logical head knowledge but knowledge that springs from our hearts…

God in relationship with God and God in relationship with us.

God is community at its best…

  and we are invited into that divine community,

   we are invited to enter into God’s divine being,

     to carry God in us and with us…

      over, under and through the joys and sorrows of our lives

Trinity is an expression of God and our relationships

We’re called to embrace human differences, to celebrate common life and death differences and yet to be united by our relationships to God, the Holy Trinity

As community we’re called to reach out and bring all people into God’s community.

 In this way, we experience the joy of a relationship with God, and communion with God.

God is social… we are social— made in his image…

  the Trinity makes our world real

Through the Trinity we are called to care about the fate of the poor and to bring hope to the hopeless

God will not let us be destroyed- hate will not be victorious

Trinity is the model for divine life and for our own, a God- given insight

It is individual, personal, communal, and dynamic

It connects,


   and in the end, it saves.

God as Trinity remains a mystery but as God’s children, we are community and we experience a glimpse into that mystery, gaining a better understanding of who God is and how we see him in the world.

Our life in Christ is a faith journey. It evolves over time, ever organic, ever changing, ever growing. It’s through faith that we are invited to enter, a dance of love, peace and security..

The dance of the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit

For God so loved the world…that wasn’t a one-time event. God’s love is forever. Amen