Unending Love

“Unending love”

Rev. Dr. Glenda Hollingshead; June 7, 2020

Trinity Sunday

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

The first time I preached on Trinity Sunday, I was an Associate Pastor who, generally, preached once a month. As I remember, I spent nearly the entire month preparing for that one sermon. And the more I tried to prepare, the less prepared I felt. How do you explain the unexplainable. How do you convey the importance of our Triune God when the word “Trinity” is not even in the Bible?  Sure, we have formulas to aid our understanding: Father/Son/Holy Spirit or Creator/Redeemer/Sustainer. Metaphors come in handy: water that occurs as a liquid, a solid, and a gas; a rope that has three strands; a 3-leaf clover.

 

Many years have passed since that first Trinity sermon. While explaining the doctrine of the Trinity is no less challenging, I am less interested in explaining Trinity and more interested in helping believers experience Trinity. What matters most is that we welcome God’s relationship with God’s own self as an invitation to join the dance of endless love—for God, for one another, and for ourselves. In the Gospel of John, Jesus gives us a glimpse of God’s endless love when he prays to his Abba Father on behalf of his disciples,

 

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.[i]

 

On our search for knowing God more deeply, formulas and metaphors may help—poetry and prayer even more so. At the core, the sacred mystery of the Trinity can be stated in one word: LOVE! UCC minister, Dr. Rachel Keefe offers a “A Poem for Trinity Sunday” that demonstrates God’s sacred, mysterious love:

 

Holy One,

I contemplate the sacred dance
and wonder when I will learn the steps
steps of peace, healing, hope
not just for a few
for all who yearn for freedom

You created all that is
as the Spirit hovered
and the Word spoke
and Wisdom beaconed
and the whole of You delighted in Creation

 

now we are tangled up in the limits of our language
trying to make You three and one
when You are always so much more
a Sacred Mystery breathing Life
and stirring visions

our lips have been burned clean
our sins have been blotted out
yet we remain outside your realm
(with guns in hand and fear holding us still)
which is close enough to reach
and too far for us to embody
because we have yet to believe
that which has always been:

 

Your love for us never ends
we can refuse to see it or claim it
we can deny it and avoid it
yet, we cannot separate ourselves from Love

 

what if the day is coming when our world is shaken
by the power of your glory
shaken so hard that we fall from doubt and disbelief
fear and hatred
apathy and ambivalence
into the truth of your delight in us?

 

what if we hover with the Spirit over Creation’s waters
and see only Love reflecting
an invitation to learn the steps of the dance
right now?

 

what if we hear the Word that sears our lips
and speak only grace, hope, and joy
echoing the song you’ve been singing from Earth’s beginning
longing for us to listen?

 

what if we follow Wisdom’s way
and create justice and offer mercy
until the world finds its rhythm
without violence
without destruction
without division?

God-in-Community,
may you remain patient with humanity
remain steadfast
until we claim your Love
share your Love
embody your Love

continue to shower us with forgiveness
until we know the truth
of your claim on us
and have the courage
to see you
in ourselves
in each other
in the whole of Creation

teach us to seek justice for all people
to love with your patience and compassion
and rely on You when we encounter the limits
of our bodies
of our minds
of our human ways

during this Pentecost season
blow through our lives
and set our holy heads on fire
that we may be the Church-Made-New
born again
born from above
born anew

Amen.

 

We are the recipients of God’s endless love. As followers of Christ, we are called to share God’s love—a love that dissolves boundaries and divisions—a love that is available for everyone—rich and poor, adult and child, male and female, red and yellow, black and white, for we are all precious in God’s sight. In the Trinity, we see God’s love flowing from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And if we have ears to hear, we recognize the voice of God inviting us to come and be nourished at God’s Table of ever-flowing love. For the journey, Paul’s closing words in his letter to the church in Corinth seem fitting:

 

…listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss…The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.[ii]

[i] John 17:20-23

[ii] 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

*Cover Art Iona Cross