Prayer of Approach
Holy, holy, holy is our wonderful God! Creator! Saviour! Sustainer! Let us worship our God of infinite mystery, yet who is closer to us than our own breath. Amen.
Wonderful God, as we gaze at the miracle of your world, intricate and interconnected, huge in scope, microscopic in detail, we are amazed. We wonder that you love each one of us, seeing us, knowing us and filling us with the breath of life. You hold us in being moment by moment. Help us to worship you as mystery, to welcome you as friend, and with you, to care for the whole of creation. Amen.
Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise you for the might and the mystery of your being. We praise you for the uniqueness and the unity of your fellowship. We praise you for drawing us together and for setting us apart. We praise you in song, in silence, in the mundane and in the mystical. We praise you. Amen.
Music: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty (R&S 34)
Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8
The Trinity is usually considered to be a complicated theological concept, but we discover that it is best appreciated as a way of experiencing God. Rather than view the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as separate beings we ought to explore the three persons of the Trinity in their dynamic interrelationship with one another. God is not a collection of individuals but of relationships. Our own encounters with God draw us into deeper, more wholesome and interconnected relationships. We find that God is untameable yet present to every leaf and flower. God is wonderfully comforting, yet uncomfortably challenging! His visible presence is everywhere, yet elusive, as if God had just gone around the corner.
Music: I, the Lord of sea and sky (MP 857)
God is a mystery! We cannot understand God, if we could God would not be God. How many times have we heard or said such things about God? Nevertheless as human beings we try. It is in our (God-given) human nature to try to understand and make sense of the world around us, of how things work, of their effect on us and our effect on them. And of course that involves trying to understand God too, even though we acknowledge that it is beyond us, trying to learn more about God, trying to know God brings us closer to him. The idea of the Trinity is one way in which we try to explain the unexplainable. But it is difficult to love an idea of God, to love we need an image of a real person. Knowing this God sent his Son as one of us, and the Son sent the Holy Spirit as our guide and helper.
The idea or doctrine of the Trinity however is never developed in the Bible. The first time the Trinity is mentioned as a trinity is when Jesus tells his disciples to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…’ just before he returns ‘to the Father’. The next is in the trinitarian graces or blessings in several of Paul’s letters to various churches and individuals. This doesn’t mean that the Trinity only appears in the New Testament however. The relational nature of God is evident throughout the whole of the Bible. We first encounter the Spirit at the very beginning, hovering over the waters of creation when God’s word (the ‘Word’, according to John 1:1-5) brought everything into existence. The Spirit is poured out on Prophets and Kings and ordinary people, and the Psalmist too declares along with the prophets, ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me’, or at other times pleads for God’s Spirit. And the three ‘men’ who appear to Abraham to tell him that he and Sarah will have a son are sometimes interpreted, not as angels but as the Trinity since Abraham declares that he has met God face to face.
It is clear through all this that God is a God of relationships. And this relational nature of God is displayed over and over again. But the relationship doesn’t stop there. The ‘family’ of God isn’t confined to Father, Son and Holy Spirit but reaches out through the whole human family, the whole of creation. Nicodemus discovered that when he came to Jesus seeking to find out more about God and to understand God better. The conversation took an unexpected and confusing twist. How could a grown man be born again? But being ‘born anew’ or being ‘born from above’ involves entering into a whole new relationship with God. Accepting the Holy Spirit into your life means becoming connected with God and through him with all people and all of creation. The Spirit ‘blows where it wills’ and God is discovered hidden in plain sight in our individual and communal lives; awesomely ‘other’, intimately close, sometimes both
Our encounters with God draw us into deeper, more wholesome and interconnected relationships. We find that God is untameable yet present to every leaf and flower. God is wonderfully comforting, yet uncomfortably challenging! His visible presence is everywhere, yet elusive, as if God had just gone around the corner.
What does it mean to have the Spirit of God ‘within’ us and around (‘without’) us?
How do we experience God in relationship?
Is our relationship with God enhanced by knowing that we have been chosen specially by him to be his children?
If you previously thought of God as being a remote figure, does he now seem less distant?
How can we respond to God?
Music: Father we love you (R&S 30
Prayers of Intercession
God our maker, you so love the world, that you entrust us with its safe keeping, to cultivate, nurture and tend the garden; to relax and enjoy the produce of its bounty; to push away at the boundaries of science, and make our own contribution. Grant us wisdom and understanding.
God our Saviour, you so love the world, that you bequeath us your ministry, to spread the good news, to care as neighbours; to speak out against what is not right; and herald the coming of your kingdom. Grant us wisdom and mercy.
God the Holy Spirit, you so love the world, that you fill us with your power to make a difference and bring about change; to draw others to a deeper knowledge of you and leave a better legacy for generations to come. Grant us wisdom and grace.
We pray the love of the Trinity into all the unhappy places of the world. We pray the peace of the Trinity into all the violent places of the world. We pray the healing of the Trinity into all the hurting places of the world. We pray the hope of the Trinity into all the struggling places of the world. We pray the presence of the Trinity into every place and person in the world. We pray in your name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity of God.
Music: Thou whose almighty word (R&S 38)
Wonderful God, help us to keep adventuring with you. May we allow ourselves to be filled with visions of your awesomeness, and may we know your presence closer to us than our own breathing. Thank you for creating us, for being visible to us in Jesus, and for inspiring and empowering us with your interweaving Spirit.
As we go, may we go with your blessing, and remain in your love, always. Amen.