The Holy Trinity – June 12 2022

Posted on June 13, 2022, Pastor: Pastor Lara Forbes

Sermons are preached within the context of a particular worship service, and are most meaningful when experienced in that way. We encourage you to view or listen to the entire worship service. 

June 12 2022

The Holy Trinity 

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
John 1:1-5, 10-14

Worship Service Video Worship Bulletin with Announcements Sermon  Video Sermon  Audio

Sermon Text:

Grace and peace to you from God our creator, and from our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

[1]Pastor Rachel Keefe tells the story of returning home from shopping one day. She and her wife had stopped at a gas station and, while they were there, they saw a mother duck and one baby duck. Pr Rachel said she felt sad when she saw them, because seeing only the one duckling meant that the others had been lost.

But then that one baby fell into the grate that it was walking over, and the mother duck became very distressed. So Pr Rachel jumped out of the car, ran over to the grate, and lifted it off. And proceeded to rescue all ten ducklings.

Afterwards, Pr Rachel said that her first thought was how stupid the poor mother duck was. But that it then occurred to her that there was nothing wrong with the duck. The grates had been made by human hands and human minds too focused on other things to make grates that baby ducklings can’t fall through.

When we think about the decisions we as humans make, and the actions we take, a lot of times we don’t think beyond our immediate circle. And that’s normal. But every once in a while, a situation will remind us that what we do doesn’t only affect us.

Our reading this morning from Proverbs personifies Wisdom, and she is often characterized as the feminine aspect of God. She is the first act of God’s creation. Wisdom wasn’t only present when the sky was separated from the sea and the mountains were shaped, she also actively participated with God in creation.

[2]Wisdom is the sketch according to which God, the artist, makes all things. And she is the one according to whom God remakes all in Christ – as we read in John’s gospel. She is the one who loves humanity and doesn’t keep herself separate from us or the mundane details of our day-to-day lives.

She is eternal. Divine. With us. Refashioning us and all things throughout history and throughout our lives.

She is God’s voice speaking to us.

In the Old Testament scriptures, to seek wisdom means to seek knowledge and understanding of the world and life, because God’s wisdom permeates the world. And by doing this, a person is able to discern more clearly the will and desire of God.

But this search was always grounded in humility and the fear of the Lord, and with the understanding that because God’s creation is ongoing, wisdom is dynamic and can’t be pinned down or spoken of in absolute terms.

So seeking wisdom isn’t something that can be done on a purely intellectual level, because wisdom doesn’t lie around passively waiting to be discovered. She calls out to “all that live” from the heights and ways and crossroads. She doesn’t check to see if we have the proper education or credentials. She walks directly into our lives and makes herself known to all.

She is God’s voice speaking to us.

In life, wisdom is valuable. Wisdom reminds us to do things like look both ways before crossing the street, to use an oven mitt when handling hot things, and to put on sunblock. On a deeper level, wisdom teaches us that there are at least two sides to every story, and that the truth is usually in the middle.

She reminds us to think before we speak. To have compassion for one another instead of indifference. To consider the consequences of our decisions or actions. And Wisdom also reminds us that certain events are just out of our control.

She is God’s voice speaking to us. But with all of the chatter going on in the world about every issue under the sun, we don’t always listen to God’s voice. And when we don’t, foolishness abounds and harm is caused.

In that type of situation, theologian Walter Brueggemann defines foolishness as imagining that we are autonomous, and that without God, everything is possible. It’s the assumption that we can do what we want and have what we want without restraint.

When we don’t listen to God’s voice, when we live foolishly, we forget that our faith connects us to one another and to all of creation. And that because of that, the divisions we create and perpetuate ultimately cause significant harm.

When we live foolishly, we stop listening to one another and start shouting over each other instead in order to be heard. We become more concerned with issues instead of the people who are affected by them. We pursue our own self-interest at the expense of others, and turn our backs when help is needed.

[3]When we don’t listen to Wisdom, in a manner of speaking, we let ducklings fall through the grates and then blame the ducks – rather than save the ducklings and fix the grates. But when we do listen, we can save more than ducklings.

Because Wisdom teaches us about our interconnectedness – not just with one another and with God, but with creation. She teaches us that our actions, or lack of action, has an impact beyond our immediate circle.

We ourselves and people we know in other parts of our country and our world are living through extreme weather brought on by human-caused climate damage. In February of 2021, there was a deep freeze in Texas, and six-ish months later was the heat dome here. Texas isn’t equipped for temperatures that cold, and we aren’t equipped for temperatures that warm here.

And neither is the plant and animal life. We heard the stories of people on the Gulf Coast rescuing thousands of sea turtles from the freezing temperatures; and the stories here of the heat literally cooking shellfish as they lay on the beach.

I don’t lift these stories up to make anyone feel guilty, or so helpless that we end up doing nothing. I lift them up because even more important than what we do to turn all of this around, is why we do it.

And the reason why is because we are never not part of creation. It’s a part of us and we are part of it – we’re forever connected to it and in relationship with it. When we remember that, when we listen to that, our human foolishness subsides and Wisdom’s voice is heard.

When we listen to Wisdom, to God’s voice, we pay attention to how our daily decisions affect the environment and climate, doing what we can to reverse the damage humans have caused and helping others figure out how to do the same because it’s part of who we are.

But listening to Wisdom doesn’t stop there.

When we listen to God’s voice, we look for the root cause of things like homelessness and poverty – and work with the people directly affected by them to implement a viable solution, no matter how long it takes or the sacrifice required on our part.

We stop being afraid of people experiencing mental illness, and we treat them with as much dignity and respect as we would a family member or close friend.

When we listen to God’s voice, we remember our dependence on God for all things, and we remember that all of the good things in our lives come from God.

When we listen to Wisdom, God’s voice, the chatter that works to distract us from it fades into the background. We instead listen to one another, and live our lives with an understanding of how interconnected we are to one another and to God’s creation – and how interdependent we are on each other.

We experience an awareness of God’s presence in those relationships that guides us and our actions. We experience Wisdom showing up in our lives and making herself known. Reminding us that God is continually at work in us and in our world. Thanks be to God! Amen.