Trinity
Psalm 77:11-20


I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  
I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. 
Your ways, O God, are holy.  What god is so great as our God?  
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.  
The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. 
The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.  
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. 
Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.  
You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Trinity Sunday ought to kind of ‘hit’ us with a stunned, jaw-dropping, mouth-gaping silence.  Oh, you can throw in something about “three-in-one” and “one-in-three” and then you’ve done your trinitarian duty.  But Trinity Sunday could be, in a way, called “God Sunday”—and then you’re dealing with something so massive, and so incomprehensible, and so completely ‘other’, and so totally unknown—but, on the other hand, known, believed, trusted, celebrated, praised—(which is why we’re here:  to worship in faith and love the unknown who is known to us, the unknowable whom we trust totally).  It’s all pretty powerfully paradoxical!
You know, there was a time when man and woman could chat openly and intimately with God, maybe in the garden in the cool of the day—God would come looking for us, looking for the conversation.  Then came the fateful moment when we decided we could do better on our own; so we went our own way and got further and further and more and more forgetful of who God is; and how good God is.  The intimate conversation was replaced with our own frantic babble, shadowy memories, and an increasingly burdened conscience—guilt, worry, uncertainty.  We turned the conversation into silence, because we stopped listening.
God doesn’t, therefore, stop talking.  The God, whose word called all things, including us, into being, continued to speak—to create, to give life, to relate, to love.  You and I learn this from the Bible—the Word written down by generations of people whom God deliberately sought out...and talked to.  We know the call given to the Patriarchs; we know the message of the prophets; we know the stories and songs and ceremonies shared over the years by parents and children who were not themselves in Egypt, or at the Red Sea, yet for whom those events, God’s promises and pronouncements, were part of their conversation, too!  (Part of our conversation, too!)
Even more amazingly, we know, God began again to walk and talk with us in Jesus—the Word become flesh.  The intimate conversation picked up where we had left off, God speaking his love and concern for us, his good plans for us, his provision for us, into the every-day of our lives.  He now had to address our illness, our guilt, our sense of separation—because he keeps talking to our brokenness and our lostness and our feeling so far away sometimes and so not knowing how to get back home he says, “It is finished.  Today you will be with me, in Paradise!”
That story, is our story, too.  That promise is God’s Word to us, too.  And by the amazing presence of the Holy Spirit, our risen and ascended Jesus is with us still, in ways we can hold and touch, in the water of baptism, and the bread and wine of communion, and in the written scriptures we read and pray and sing.  He just keeps talking, keeps being with us, in front of us...
...so that the God who is totally beyond us, and whose love is higher and deeper and broader than anything we can comprehend—because of what he gives that we can hear and touch and experience and share, we know our God: we know our Father, we know our Jesus, we know the Spirit moving, even now, among us.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”  I have shared with you before the important particular meaning of the word “remember” in Hebrew thinking.  To ‘remember’ something means more than to simply recall that something happened in the past.  To ‘remember’ means to make real in the present situation and relationship that which was so significant and important in the past event.  When the psalmist says, “I will remember”, he is calling into the here and now the reality of God’s great saving acts of the past.  They were real; they are real.  They were real for God’s people then; they are real for me now.  To remember God, to remember God’s salvation, is to have it present now!  (I want you to remember that in a little while when Jesus says to us, “my body, my blood – for you – for the forgiveness of sin; do this in remembrance of me”.)
When God communicates his continuing love to us he not only proclaims his Word, but he invites us to join the conversation.  He invites us to hear and respond; to learn; to think; to express our thoughts in praise and prayer and action.  It’s true we do not know and are not able to fully comprehend everything about our God; yet God has created us in his image, to know him, to know his love, to learn about him and learn of him, to think and feel and give expression to the conversation that God insists he will always carry on with us.
With that in mind...I want to draw your attention to the window in the sanctuary of our worship space here in our school.  We commissioned this window with several thoughts in mind, particularly for our school community.  I recognize that those of us who have worshipped as part of Outer Eastern over the years are certainly used to looking at and thinking about the huge window in the chapel at Luther.  Immanuel, in Lilydale, has no comparable window, but is a church full of banners that often change with the seasons, sharing the symbols and stories which give the memories of God’s people built up over the years.  And we use special decorations, and flowers; and we sing songs and hymns, old and new; and we send poems and stories to one another on the internet, or in cards, or embroidered on wedding samplers.  God invites us into the conversation!
When we commissioned this window asked the artist to develop something that would encourage our children in the school to explore, and imagine, and discover what they might find.  We gave him a copy of the 23rd psalm, which talks about our amazing God who calls and gathers us, who provides for us, who protects and rescues us, who celebrates us.  The artist then further considered the God who provides as the God who creates all, and who is present with us in every aspect and detail of life—and not just as part of the story of God’s people long ago in Israel, but of God’s people and creation here in Australia, too.  We said explicitly:  you don’t have to put any obvious, well-known, well-defined Christian symbols; you can if you want.  (And he did incorporate a couple...)
This is what has happened when we’ve invited people to see and think about this window:  they are very quiet, and say nothing, because they are probably thinking, “What does it mean?  What am I supposed to be seeing in it?”  Then, when I explain, “The window is not for me to tell you what you see in it, but invites you to tell me what you see in it...and then...then there is this amazing conversation—about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea; about the manger; about Jesus’ crucifixion for the sin of the whole world; about a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud; about rain and snow that water the earth; about the ‘fish’ symbol—you know—like on bumper stickers; about tongues of fire; about desert and field and dark valleys and still waters; about angels; about stars in the heavens above and tiny cells hidden within each of us; about stories from the Bible, and stories from our sharing of God’s love today in the community just outside that window—can you see it out there?
What is the window about?  What does it remind you of?  What can you see?  When you listen to the Bible being read—when you remember “the deeds of the Lord”, his “miracles of long ago”, is there a shape, or a colour, or a texture that is a pointer to pondering God?  [And if you can’t see something in the window that stimulates your memory or your imagination, then ask someone else and join the conversation that way!  Or step outside and look at the hills in the north, or the clouds up above.  Or reflect on the story in the song we’re about to sing.]
Trinity Sunday ought to kind of ‘hit’ us with a stunned, jaw-dropping, mouth-gaping silence.  But, in the end, it doesn’t have to be silence...because God invites us to think, and talk, and ask, and share, and ponder, and proclaim, and praise, and pray.  In not knowing everything he makes sure he shows us what we need to know and, led and empowered by his Spirit, invites us to learn more.  Amen.

 


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