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Worship, prayer and Bible resources

Trinity Sunday - Year B

Liturgical Colour - White or Gold


TriquetraIntroduction

The Christian belief that God can be understood in terms of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a complex one. Surely God is one or other, he cannot be fully in all three places at the same time. Over the years this teaching has been the cause of considerable doubt and confusion. Why don't we just simplify the whole thing and make it more believable?

The problem is that this is not a teaching Christians have invented. It has come about because that is how God has chosen to reveal himself to us. God is Father, Jesus is also God and we know God at work in the presence of the Spirit.

It is difficult, but it is a credit to the church that it has lived with an understanding of God which is bigger than human reasoning and not made God more like us.

Triquetra      (Try ket ra Latin for three cornered)  

You will find this symbol used on the spines of the NKJV version of the bible.Fish in a triangle shape

The triquetra uses shapes like one of the oldest Christ symbols, the shape of the fish. Remember it was found in Pompeii which destroyed in AD 79! The shape In the triquetra, the three equal arches of the circle expressed the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Second, the union of the arches represented the unity of the Godhead. Third, their continuous form symbolized eternity. And last, the fact that they were interwoven denoted the indivisibility of the Trinity. In the centre of the triquetra was an equilateral triangle, the most ancient of the Trinity symbols, and each pair of arches formed an ellipse, the symbol of God’s glory.  

 


Opening Verses of Scripture  Acts 1:8

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses .

Collect Prayer for the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen

Holy God, faithful and unchanging: enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth, and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love, that we may truly worship you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Father God, you have created all things and through Christ revealed your salvation in all the world. Give us a vision of your glory and by your Holy Spirit fill us with life and love that we may praise and serve you through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Bible Reading    Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Second Reading   Romans 8:12-17

Brothers and sisters, we have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  

Gospel Reading    John 3:1-17

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no-one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

 

Post Communion Sentence

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever.   Amen
 

Commentary

Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the Holy Trinity and give thanks to God for this understanding of His threefold nature. The concept of the Trinity, as a way of framing the unknowable greatness and mystery of God grew up from a few hints in the Bible and was developed and refined over centuries. Great thinkers and theologians have added to our understanding of God as creator/father; as God among us, and God as energy and Spirit. In times past people have argued and physically fought over the concept of the Trinity, but many people today fail to accept its relevance. Some believe that if they love God, believe in Jesus and the Holy Spirit and that the concept of the Triune, three in one God is irrelevant. I believe that the concept of the Trinity is one of God’s gifts to us, as an aid to trying to grasp both His greatness and the way He works in His world. If we emphasise one aspect of the Trinity over the others then we risk impoverishing our comprehension of God, and fail to fully value the extent of His loving involvement with us.

Exercise. (You might find this helpful) Allow yourself the luxury of a few quiet minutes thinking about God and saying His name. What do you see ? How do you visualize God? Are there parts of the Trinity which mean less to you, which you find hard to relate to. You might wish to pray for a better understanding of the aspects of God which are at present difficult or mysterious to you. There are no right answers but only a gain in self-knowledge! The Reverend Dr Joan Crossley

 

Meditation

 

June 20  The Feast of St Alban

England’s first Christian martyr was Saint Alban. Alban lived (at some time during the 3rd century) in the Roman city of Verulamium. Who was Alban, and why did he die? Well, one day an old man knocked on Alban’s door, and he was invited in. The man was a Christian priest who was trying to get away from those who wanted to kill him. Although they had never met before, and even though Alban was not a Christian at that time but a worshipper of Roman gods including the emperor, he gave food and shelter and protection to the priest, keeping him there in secret. The priest talked about following Christ, and Alban became a Christian although he knew that Christians were being imprisoned or executed

Some time later, the local authorities were told that a priest was hiding in Alban’s house, and soldiers were sent to arrest the priest. As the soldiers arrived, Alban wrapped the priest’s cloak around himself, wanting the priest to escape. Alban was sacrificing himself for the sake of his friend. The priest escaped and Alban was bound and taken before the judge.

The Roman governor was angry that he had been cheated of the death of the priest. He commanded Alban to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Alban refused to do so. The judge was furious at the deception, and ordered that Alban should receive the punishment due to the priest, if he had indeed become a Christian.

Despite flogging he refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods and was sentenced to death. He was brought out of the town, across the river and up a hill to the site of execution where his head was cut off. Legend tells us that on the hill-top a spring of water miraculously appeared to give the martyr a drink; also that moved by his witness the original executioner refused to carry out the deed, and that after his replacement had killed Alban the executioners' eyes dropped out. The cathedral there is built on the site where he was beheaded. His feast day is June 20.
 

Alban declared his Christian faith, saying in words still used as a prayer

"I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things."

This account is based on that of the Venerable Bede, who tells us that

"when the peace of Christian times was restored a beautiful church worthy of his martyrdom was built, where sick folk are healed and frequent miracles take place to this day" (about 760).

It’s unlikely that any of us will be killed because we are Christians, but in other parts of the world people are discriminated against, beaten up, or even killed because of their choice to follow Jesus. There is a poster that says: “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Well would there?

Let us pray for all prisoners of conscience, and also for those who torture and kill.
Let us pray that, when times are difficult, others may find us to be true friends.
Let us pray that we may live generously, being prepared to make sacrifices for the benefit of others
Let us pray that we might be examples of Christ to lead others to him Amen.


 

Hymns

  1. Immortal, Invisible
  2. Give thanks
  3. Holy, Holy, Holy
  4. Tell out my Soul
  5. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
  6. As the deer pants for the water
  7. Thou whose almighty word
  8. Father, Son and Holy Ghost
  9. Lord thy Church on earth is seeking


 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian,

if it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die

To God the Father who first loved us and made us accepted in the Beloved Son. To God the Son who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own Blood, to God the Holy Spirit who shedsPraying figure abroad the love of God in our hearts; to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and eternity. (Thomas Ken 1637-1711)

We pray for world peace, that ways of aggression and violence against fellow-humans and against God’s creation may be renounced, and that world leaders may lessen the threat of nuclear destruction; and we pray especially for our leaders and all who strive to bring peace. Let there now be light for all, Light of Creation. (Worship in an Indian Context)

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever. Amen. (Church of S. India)


 

 

Additional Material

(Trinity Sunday, Year B)

Commentary

None of our readings today use the word ‘Trinity,’ yet God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is central to them. Indeed the word ‘Trinity’ is not used by Jesus, it is not found in the Bible at all, yet faith in the Holy Trinity is the touchstone of what it means to be a Christian. Those who do not believe in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot use the term Christian to describe themselves—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians etc.

Trinity Sunday is a special Sunday because we think about who God is—the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. Even the most committed Christians find this hard because we all know that something cannot be individually three and also completely one. But this Sunday expresses and celebrates the fact that we encounter God in contradictory ways.

In our world there are some certain simple truths, like - ‘water is generally wet.’ But when we start to speak about things which really matter - like God, then we soon find out that we run out of words. Human language and thoughts simply fail to work. Truth is no more easily reduced to trite slogans than the scientific explanation of the creation of this wonderful world can be reduced to two chapters of Genesis. Through history we can see times when people have imagined that they did possess understanding and knowledge of God. But, actually this is an illusion, faith is not built upon the measure of the human mind.

As Christians we need to be honest about our inability to explain God. It would be wonderful to be able to speak of God in certain and simple truths, but if we are honest, certainty is the property of fools, not the learned. Those who are more intellectually secure will usually admit that the more that we find out - the less we seem to know. Issues are only seen in simple terms of black and white by the simplistic and those who seek to lead them.

Does this make our task of speaking about God more difficult? I think not, it is a fact that people cannot be argued into belief. They can be attracted, they can be welcomed and embraced but they cannot be argued. People most usually come to believe through faith not through facts. Preachers will often preach the certainty, the black and white. However, truth is much more often grey. The more we learn the more we realise that the less we know. This is not to say that we should stop the task of learning, but we must be more prepared to recognise that God is too big for us. It is human sin and pride aspire to lift us to God, humility sees that God into the human mind will not go. It is no more possible for us to understand God than to put the ocean into a bucket.

Whilst the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, the belief which it expresses is stated many times. The early Christians soon discovered that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which he had revealed himself to them. This does not mean that there are three Gods. It means that there is one God who has shown himself in three ways: God the Father, God the Son or Jesus, and Holy Spirit of God who came to them and made God alive in them.

Clearly this teaching is absurd from the point of human logic, it makes no human sense! All of the clever illustrations (Clover leaf, the sun as heat, light and energy etc.) which we have heard since Sunday School, they all fall short of explaining how logically God can be totally three and yet totally one. Indeed some of the best illustrations used in sermons serve only to illustrate serious heresies such as modalism! If we are honest it is something which is more clearly explained in terms of that great Christian word, mystery. It is a mystery of our faith. We know why we use the term ‘Trinity’ because it expresses our experience of a God who can be present in Jesus, whilst at the same time, the voice of God is heard to speak from heaven and the Spirit descend as a dove. But nevertheless it is a mystery.

It is important to remember that the Trinity does not actually attempt to explain God. It only explains what we know about God, that which he has revealed to us in a very elementary way. So we Christians affirm the Trinity, not as an explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing what we currently know about God. This is honest and it should not make us frightened. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 it says
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;

Knowledge will pass away. Human knowledge will be revealed to be a lot less important than some might care to believe. As Christians we need to have the honesty to say that we see but a poor reflection of God as in a mirror, we see through a glass darkly. Our knowledge of God is imperfect, we know in part and the rest is guesswork. Moreover we will never know all the answers until we see God face to face. Charles Royden

Bishop Richard Chartres, writing on the Holy Trinity

"You can't have a God. If you have, possess a God, if you talk about My God, my own little possession that helps me, my asset, then what you have is not the true and living God, father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but an Idol, a God made in our own image. And, brothers and sisters, much of the history of religion, even in the Christian Religion, is an attempt to make Gods of ourselves, by launching ego-projections into the middle distance - plop - and then having an affair with that ego-projection. That's what religion has been, so very often."

 

 

 

Commentary

Romans 8: 12 – 17.

In Roman times, adopted children lost all rights from their own family and became like legitimate children in their new family with the same rights as any natural children. At the same time, all debts from their pre-adoptive life were cancelled and it was as if they had never been members of their birth family. This must have been what was in Paul’s mind when he was explaining was it was like when we become Christians or members of God's family. The old life has no more power over us; God has an absolute right. The past is cancelled, the debts, which came from being separated from God, are wiped out; we begin a new life, a life with God, we become joint heirs with Jesus, God’s own Son. That which Christ inherited and inherits is also given to us. When we become Christians, we don’t have to earn our membership of God’s family, or do anything to deserve it, our debts are cancelled and we can accept freely the love which is available for us.

John 3: 1 – 17.

The story of Nicodemus meeting with Jesus is one of the most familiar incidents in the New Testament and the whole purpose behind the incident is to give us a better insight into the nature of God. Nicodemus was clearly a very devout Jew who knew a lot from (our) Old Testament about God as Father. When he met Jesus he became aware that he was seeing God’s Son in operation, teaching and healing people, and through Jesus he came to understand about the Holy Spirit who changes and energises people. God as Father, as Son and as Holy Spirit have come to be known as the Doctrine of the Trinity. The early church chose to express this mystery in terms of ‘three persons in one God’. Here, in John’s gospel, with its account of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, we have biblical roots for the distinctive activities of God as Father, Jesus as Son, and the Holy Spirit. But what does this passage have to say to us at the start of the 21st century? Perhaps an important aspect for us to recognise is that the three persons of the Trinity are ways or modes in which God revealed himself in the past. A human example of this, which might be helpful, is that a man can be a son, a husband and also a father: three facets of the same person. However, as we come to know more about this man, so we discover aspects which were previously hidden. The same is true of God: as we come to know more about God through opening ourselves up to God, so we will come to discover more about God and his plans for us.

Prayers for Sunday

Another Collect

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever. Amen. (Church of S. India)

A Blessing for Trinity Sunday

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

Prayers

0 Holy Spirit of God, we thank you for your keeping power.
For the guidance you have given us, For the knowledge you have brought us;
For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power: We thank
you, O Spirit of God. Forgive us if we have tried to live life alone, and
have despoiled ourselves of the divine help we might have had from you.
And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the
Three in One, be on us now and stay with each one of us always. Amen.


0 God, the Father, we thank you for your creating power.
That you have made all things and made them well; That you have given us
all things richly to enjoy; For the beauty and the bounty of this fair
earth; And for the creating power which can make all things new: We thank
you. 0 Father. Forgive us if in pride and selfishness and in anger we have
misused your gifts, and have used for death that which was meant for life.

Let us remember God the Son in Redemption
O Lord Jesus Christ the Son, we thank you for your
redeeming power. That you loved us and gave yourself for us; That you gave
your life a ransom for many, a ransom for us. That you were obedient unto
death, even the death of the Cross: We thank you, 0 Christ. Forgive us if
we have treated your love lightly as a little thing, and if we have never
even begun to love you as you have first loved us.

Let us remember God the Spirit in Providence
0 Holy Spirit of God, we thank you for your keeping power.
For the guidance you have given us, For the knowledge you have brought us;
For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power: We thank
you, O Spirit of God. Forgive us if we have tried to live life alone, and
have despoiled ourselves of the divine help we might have had from you.
And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the
Three in One, be on us now and stay with each one of us always. Amen.


Hymns for this Sunday (Mission Praise)

Holy, Holy, Holy 237

I believe in God the Father—words on service sheet (Tune: All for Jesus)

Trinity Prayers

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty,
who is and who was and who is to come.
Let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God, to receive praise, glory, honour and blessing.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and divinity,
wisdom and strength, honour, glory and blessing.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Let us bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
All the works of the Lord, now bless the Lord,
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Praise God, all of you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Let heaven and earth praise his glory,
and every creature that is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Glory to the father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen. (St Francis)




A Blessing

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit the giver of life.

The Minister:
God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love,
defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you always.
Amen.

To God the Father, who loved us, and accepted us:
To God the Son, who loved us and loosed us from our sins by his own blood:
To God the Holy Ghost, who spreads the love of God abroad in our hearts:
To the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity. Amen.


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Loving God, quicken our hearts again, that we may receive Your Word afresh and anew. Send the refreshing wind of your Spirit upon us Lord that your voice may be heard in our hearts and your loving presence seen in all that we say and do, bless indeed your Word to us - our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen

Lord, lead me to look for the positive in all people and in all situations. May I help bring light to those in darkness, and encouragement to those who feel unhappy. May I show as much care for others as I would like them to show for me. Amen.

Praying the Trinity 
 

1. God as Creator
As Christians we cannot believe that the world was the work of anybody other than our God. We look at it and it is marvellous and we believe that God made it. But it is more than a belief in some thing which we read. When we look at creation we feel God and his creating power. Today we give thanks to God

Thank you God that you have made all things and made them well
That you have given to us all things richly to enjoy
For the beauty and the bounty of this fair earth and for the creating power alive in this universe which make all things new.
For this we thank you God
But forgive us when in pride, or selfishness or anger we misuse your gifts

2. God as Jesus who died for us
We read about Jesus but when we read the story it isn’t just a story, it comes across to us as powerfully as if it happened yesterday. We read that Jesus lived and walked this earth, we remember the history of his birth, but there is more than that, we feel the life of Christ today, we seek daily to bear his cross and to live his risen life -
 

Thank you Jesus for your redeeming power.
That you loved us and gave yourself for us:
That you gave your life a ransom for many, a ransom for us.
That you were obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
We thank you O Christ
Forgive us if we treat your love lightly as a little thing, and if we ever fail to try to love you as you love us

3. God as the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit calls us to be God’s people, joins us together as one body in the name of Jesus. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives that we know God. It is the Holy Spirit who draws us on in the Christian life.

Thank you Holy Spirit for the guidance you have given to us.
For the knowledge you have brought to us.
For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power
We thank you Holy Spirit of God
Forgive us when we try to live the Christian life alone and have failed to seek the divine help which we might have had from you.

Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy. Through them we come to know the mystery of your life. Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Most exalted Trinity, divinity above all knowledge, whose goodness passes understanding, who guides Christians to divine wisdom; direct our way to the summit of your mystical oracles, most incomprehensible, most lucid and most exalted, where the simple and pure and unchangeable mysteries of theology are revealed in the darkness, clearer than light; a darkness that shines brighter than light, that invisibly and intangibly illuminates with splendours of inconceivable beauty the soul that sees not. Let this be my prayer. 
Denys (Dionysius) the pseudo-Areopagite (c500)

 

You may find these prayers about the Trinity helpful to take home and use

To God, our ability is less important than our availability.  Our ability can even get in the way if it obscures God's role in our achievement. Let us remember God the Father in Creation

Let us remember God the Father in Creation

0 God, the Father, we thank you for your creating power. That you have made all things and made them well; That you have given us all things richly to enjoy; For the beauty and the bounty of this fair earth; And for the creating power which can make all things new: We thank you. 0 Father.

Forgive us if in pride and selfishness and in anger we have misused your gifts, and have used for death that which was meant for life.

Let us remember God the Son in Redemption

O Lord Jesus Christ the Son, we thank you for your redeeming power. That you loved us and gave yourself for us; That you gave your life a ransom for many, a ransom for us. That you were obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: We thank you, 0 Christ.

Forgive us if we have treated your love lightly as a little thing, and if we have never even begun to love you as you have first loved us.

Let us remember God the Spirit in Providence

0 Holy Spirit of God, we thank you for your keeping power. For the guidance you have given us, For the knowledge you have brought us; For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power: We thank you, O Spirit of God.

Forgive us if we have tried to live life alone, and have despoiled ourselves of the divine help we might have had from you.

And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Three in One, be on us now and stay with each one of us always. Amen.

Prayers by William Barclay

 

A Meditation

To God, our ability is less important than our availability. Our ability can even get in the way if it obscures God's role in our achievement.

A Declaration of Faith



Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father, who created all things:
for by his will they were created and have their being.
We believe in God the Father
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named

We believe in God the Son, who was slain: for with his blood he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation.
We believe in God the Son who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in the Holy Spirit who strengthens us with power from on high
We are called by him from every tribe and tongue and people and nation
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

We believe in One God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
 

Hymns for Trinity Sunday

  1. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! (237)
  2. Be bold, be strong (49 - sung twice); You shall go out with joy (796 - sung twice) 
  3. Thou whose almighty word (699)
  4. All I once held dear, built my life upon
  5. Angel voices ever singing  (34)

Commentary

Trinity Sunday is a special time in the church year when we remember who God is, Father Son and Holy Spirit, The Holy Trinity. This is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian and yet it is very difficult to believe that God can be one and three. Of course it is beyond human understanding, God is a mystery to us and it would be a remarkable thing if we were able to capture God within the measure of our human mind. The Christian teaching about the Trinity is not mean to be an explanation of God, rather it is a way of describing what we know about God, even though we know that humanly speaking it is beyond our reason.

Trinity Sunday is a special Sunday in the church year, it has been celebrated since 1334 when Pope John XXII fixed it as the Sunday after Pentecost. It is a Sunday which is not tied to any special event. We don't have to remember any special events or rituals. Instead it is about a day when we remember just God himself, it is a day to focus our hearts and minds on him. It is a bit like a birthday when all we do is celebrate a particular person and their presence with us.

The Doctrine is:

  1. God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God. 

Confusing? The Bible never uses the word Trinity, it is something that we have invented to explain they way in which we think of God.

It isn’t really an Old Testament problem, not surprisingly the Jews have never had a doctrine of the Trinity or Binity or anything else. There is not a great deal of convincing evidence for a doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament. Some people quote passages such as Genesis ‘Let us make man in our own image’ Gen 1:26. I am not sure that this should be taken as such a key passage, how often do we talk to ourselves or say things like ‘we are a grandmother’ Was Margaret Thatcher a multiple personality? But in the New Testament the problem of speaking of God in the traditional terms as ‘one God’ becomes obvious. Perhaps the best illustration of the difficulty our minds have is seen in the episode of Jesus baptism. When Jesus was baptised, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased’ So we have Father, Son and Holy Spirit all in one episode!

So Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit who comes to Him from God? How can God be God the Father, and Jesus God the Son, and also God the Holy Spirit? The doctrine of the Trinity is one of those subjects which leaves everybody feeling confused but we use it simply to describe how amazing God is. God is so big, so wonderful that he is so far beyond our imaginations that to our minds he really doesn’t seem to make sense! So if somebody comes up to you and says, ‘go on then you're a Christian, explain the Trinity’ - then you're response could be simply to say ‘The Trinity is a way of us saying as Christians that God is much bigger and more complicated than we will ever know.... you can’t put him in your pocket’

If you ever wanted proof of the truth of Christianity then the doctrine of the Trinity is it. Which human being would ever invent a religion which didn’t make sense?! Christians have always struggled, trying to piece together the information which God has given to us. Fortunately being a Christian is about belonging as much as understanding, faith rather than facts. That faith is caught and not taught as we see Christ in others. Charles Royden

 

A service of worship for Trinity Sunday

Opening Verse of Scripture
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come
Revelations Chapter 4 verse 8
 

Words of Welcome

Minister
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

All: Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit the giver of life.

Hymn  Immortal Invisible


Prayer of Confession
Minister: The minister uses words of invitation to the congregation to confess their sins

Minister: Loving God,
All: we have sinned against you
in what we have thought, said and done.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
We are truly sorry
and turn away from what is wrong.
Forgive us for the sake of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 
Silence
 

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
This is his gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
Amen. Thanks be to God.

Offering

Gracious God, accept these gifts,
and with them our lives
to be used in your service
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Second Hymn
Thank you for every new good morning, Thank you for every fresh new day,
Thank you that I may cast my burdens, Wholly on to you.

Thank you for every friend I have Lord, Thank you for every one I know,
Thank you when I can feel forgiveness, To my greatest foe.

Thank you for leisure and employment, Thank you for every heartfelt joy,
Thank you for all that makes me happy, And for melody

Thank you for every shade and sorrow, Thank you for comfort in your Word
Thank you that I am guided by you, Everywhere I go.
Thank you for grace to know your gospel, Thank you for all your Spirit’s power,
Thank you for your unfailing love, Which reaches far and near.

Thank you for free and full salvation, Thank you for grace to hold it fast,
Thank you, O Lord I want to thank you, That I’m free to thank.
Thank you, O Lord I want to thank you, That I’m free to thank.

Collect
Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever. Amen. (Church of S. India)

Bible Readings

Hymn  Tell out my soul 86

Sermon

Declaration of Faith

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father, who created all things:
for by his will they were created and have their being.
We believe in God the Father
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named

We believe in God the Son, who was slain: for with his blood he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation.
We believe in God the Son who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in the Holy Spirit who strengthens us with power from on high
We are called by him from every tribe and tongue and people and nation
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

We believe in One God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Hymn Lord thy church on earth is seeking


Prayers

Hymn  Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

Final Prayer
To God the Father, who loved us, and accepted us:
To God the Son, who loved us and loosed us from our sins by his own blood:
To God the Holy Ghost, who spreads the love of God abroad in our hearts:
To the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity. Amen.

Blessing