May 31, 2015

Trinity Sunday 2015

Series: ,
Passage: Revelation 4:1
Service Type:

I would like to begin this morning’s sermon with a statement the significance of which will become clear, I hope, as we reflect together on the meaning of Trinity Sunday in the next few minutes. The statement is this: our worship is the life of heaven in us. Let me say this again : our worship – our prayer, our activity of recollection in the presence of God – is the life of heaven in us.

But let me begin with a story: It was a beautiful early summer evening in Halifax in the late 1990s when I arrived at St George’s to meet friends after choir rehearsal. As I walked to the side door I saw a man – we will call him Robert – a little unsteady on his feet, standing on the walkway. It turned out that Robert needed help to find housing for the evening, and he was anxious because he knew that the homeless shelters in the city would not take him in if he had been drinking. But though this was an immediate and pressing concern with evening drawing on, Robert seemed very anxious to go into the church. The choir had finished rehearsing and so he and I walked in, and with the summer light shining through the windows we toured the church until, just at the chancel steps, he took my hand and led me to the altar rail. Pray with me, he said. And so we knelt there together and prayed silently for some time. Outside the church Robert began to weep and confessed to me that he had a problem. I had already assumed that he might be a chronic drinker and so I said, Robert, I know, I know that drinking is a problem for you. And his response surprised me: No, no – the problem is not the drinking. My problem is that I do not believe; I do not have faith. It was as if he wanted to find himself again at the altar rail where for a moment he had knelt in prayer – as if somehow he intuited that real life was there, but he was caught in unreality…

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