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Weekly worship: Sunday 27 May

Reflections for Trinity Sunday.

Women dancing from the Arapapuzinho Quilombola community in Brazil.

Readings

Isaiah 6:1-8

John 3:1-19

Romans 8:12-17

Isaiah 6:1-8

The Isaiah passage begins with an elaborate vision of the Lord sitting on the throne, as the ‘hem of his robe filled the temple’. How immense was that robe, or how small was that temple? Or more likely, the robe was the only part of God that Isaiah could see in his vision, since it was such an immense revelation of God’s majesty.

Isaiah’s vision was a message for an unsettled people. Their long-standing and established king, King Uzziah, had just died. Isaiah’s vision brings reassurance in these disturbing times, although the king has died, the Lord is still on the throne. The thrice ‘Holy, holy, holy’ sung by the Seraphs is a helpful connection to this Trinity Sunday where the One on the throne was not singular but plural. A plurality reinforced in the request made by the Lord: ‘who will go for us.

In our own times of much global and political unsettlement, we might have some resonance with those feeling disturbed by King Uzziah’s death. And this vision of the Three in One who is still on the throne provides reassurance. Isaiah makes clear that such majesty is not the same as authoritarian dictatorship. The Lord on the throne invites participation in the restoration and recreation, ‘who will go for us?’

Isaiah responds with a willingness despite the challenge of the task set before him in the following verses. The invitation to participate in the restoration of God’s will on earth as in heaven is one that continues and is extended to us, despite how challenging it might seem in current times.

John 3:1-17

This is a passage that has familiar verses and phrases within it. This Trinity Sunday we are provided with an opportunity to set these familiar verses and phrases in a larger context. This is something that Jesus himself does in his encounter with Nicodemus. He takes the comment made by Nicodemus, this leader of the Jews who has come to him under the cover of darkness, to uncover and delve into deeper mysteries – moving Nicodemus’ curiosity into confusion. A state familiar to us as we engage with the mystery of the Trinity on this Sunday.

The Trinity is presented in this passage as a dynamic trio. The Spirit moves those born of the Spirit wherever it chooses. God loves the world by sending his Son, the Son descends and ascends from heaven. It is a passage that may provoke more questions than provide answers, but it also gives a glimpse and insight into heavenly things. The things that we pray for when we pray, and work, for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. This is the work of our partners and supporters, who stand together for global justice, dignity, and equality.

And it is not work that we do on our own strength. Nicodemus makes clear at the outset that Jesus could not do what he does without the presence of God the Trinity, and neither can we.

Prayer

'For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.’ (Romans 8:14)

We believe in a loving God,

whose Word sustains our lives

and the work of our hands in the universe.

God is life.

We believe in God’s Son among us

who brought the seeds of life’s renewal.

He lived with the poor to show the meaning of love.

Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

We believe in the Spirit of Life

who makes us one with God,

whose strength and energy renews our own.

The Spirit is love.

Camillo Torres, Colombia

Pointers for prayer

Pointers for prayer taken from the Christian Aid prayer diary.

Give thanks and pray for Christian Aid partner KORAL in Haiti, that they would know the sustaining and inspiring presence of God.

Pray for all still living with inadequate housing in Haiti since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Pray for shelter and support to be made available.

Give thanks to God for all who collected and gave to the Christian Aid Week appeal this year, for working to bring God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven.