May 22, 2016

Trinity Sunday Sermon 2016

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Our observance today, Trinity Sunday, is the conclusion of our week-long celebration of Pentecost. This is (as the Prayer Book reminds us) the octave day of Pentecost. Last Sunday we celebrated the descent of the Spirit upon the disciples and their inspired apostolic preaching; this Sunday we continue the celebration, though in a new key. In the Gospel lesson this morning, for example, we are shown that the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples last Sunday is also a gift intended for us. Jesus says today: unless ye be born again by water and the Spirit, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Lesson from John’s Revelation today, we discover that rebirth by the Holy Spirit “from above” draws us up and into a new Kingdom. John writes: “After this I [looked] and behold a door was opened in heaven: ... . And … I was in the Spirit; and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne ... . ” Around and before the throne, we have heard, there are four marvellous beasts and twenty-four elders that worship. The point of the lessons is, I think, simply this: just as we are born naturally, so too we must be born spiritually. And just as by nature we are born into the kingdom of the world with its wars and conflicts both internal to us and external, so by the Holy Spirit we are born into a new Kingdom whose centre is Christ (he is on the throne, as John says) and whose primary activity is prayer (the creatures and the elders in heaven worship, we’ve been told).  We are in that Kingdom now of course – there is the altar that signifies Christ with us; we are at prayer....

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