Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio
A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Holy Trinity Sunday
Introduction & Welcome
Thank you for accepting God’s invitation to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!
“O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Today we celebrate the holy Trinity. Paul writes that through Jesus we have peace with God, whose love pours into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, giving us lasting hope. We celebrate the gracious One-in-Three, eternal Three-in-One, as we worship in community; as we share water and word, bread and wine; and as we bring God’s love and hope to our neighbors.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity,☩ one God,
whose steadfast love endures forever.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
we confess that we have not followed your path
but have chosen our own way.
Instead of putting others before ourselves,
we long to take the best seats at the table.
When met by those in need,
we have too often passed by on the other side.
Set us again on the path of life.
Save us from ourselves
and free us to love our neighbors.
Hear the good news!
God does not deal with us according to our sins
but delights in granting pardon and mercy.
In the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
You are free to love as God loves.
Prayer of the Day
God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.
First Reading: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
In the Bible, wisdom is portrayed in terms sometimes human and sometimes divine. Often, wisdom is personified as feminine. In this passage, Woman Wisdom is depicted not only as the first creation of God, but also as God’s helper, rejoicing in God’s creation, especially in human beings.
1Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
2On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
4“To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.
22The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
23Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
26when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
27When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.”
Psalm: Psalm 8
Your glory is chanted above the heavens. (Ps. 8:2)
1O Lord our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
2you whose glory is chanted above the heavens out of the mouths of infants and children; you have set up a fortress against your enemies, to silence the foe and avenger.
3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
4what are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5Yet you have made them little less than divine;
with glory and honor you crown them.
6You have made them rule over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet:
7all flocks and cattle,
even the wild beasts of the field,
8the birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever passes along the paths of the sea.
9O Lord our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5
Paul describes the life of faith with reference to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Even now, we have peace with God through Jesus, and our hope for the future is grounded in the love of God that we experience through Christ’s Holy Spirit.
1Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Alleluia. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; God’s glory fills the whole earth. Alleluia. (Isa. 6:3)
Gospel: John 16:12-15
Jesus’ ongoing presence with the disciples will be made known through the coming Spirit who will guide them and communicate to them Jesus’ will and glory.
[Jesus said,] 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Meditation by Vicar Dave
Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. It’s a day we set aside each year to celebrate the Triune nature of our Lord, as expressed in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are both distinct but yet one. That’s got to be a bit confusing, even for the faithful, let alone the non-believer. One plus one plus one usually equals three, at least in a mathematical sense. But we Christians say that the three distinct persons of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are also one God. Equal in majesty and divinity and grace. Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence, was the third president of the United States and was considered to be an intellectual giant in his time, had such a hard time wrapping his brain around the concept that when he edited his version of the Bible, the Holy Trinity was one of the things he left out. But perhaps the fact that he was trying to understand it was part of his problem. Christianity is not a math problem; it is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
Just to make things a little more confusing and plainer at the same time, John opened his Gospel by telling us that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So how is it that the Word was both with God and was God? Doesn’t that seem contradictory? And then in today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling His disciples about the Holy Spirit and refers to the Spirit as a person, not an “it”. “He will guide you into all the truth”, Christ tells his disciples. This is the same Spirit of God whom we see hovering over the waters of creation in Genesis and guiding the prophets of the Old Testament.
While the Trinity may be a concept that was created by the early Christians, portends of it can be seen in several places in the Old Testament. For example, in Genesis 18 where we read that, “Yahweh appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked and saw that three men stood opposite him.” The verse reads that, “Yahweh appeared to Abraham”, not Yahweh and two angels, nor Yahweh and a couple of other travelers. To me that references God as being three distinct persons and also refers to those persons as one. Another example can be found in Isaiah 6, where one of the seraphim calls to another saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Why repeat holy three times unless it’s a reference to the triune nature of our God? The Old Testament authors never explicitly talk about a trinity the way we do, but it does seem to me that some of the echoes of it are present.
The Trinity is a mystery that cannot be understood by human reasoning but is best understood by faith. The Athanasian Creed was an early summary of Christian doctrine, which tried to explain the belief in the Holy Trinity. It is traditionally believed to have been written by Athanasius, archbishop of Alexandria, who lived in the 4th century A.D. The Creed stated, in part that, “We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being. For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another. But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, co-eternal in majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.”
The way I’ve always thought of the concept of the Holy Trinity is that it’s an attempt to describe in words that we humans can understand, the multifaceted nature of God, something that we are unable to understand due to our limited capacity to understand. It is an attempt to paint a picture for us that will be forever pale and blurred in this lifetime. We cannot and will not understand God’s nature fully until we are with Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in their heaven. Personally, I think that’s really great! To think that God will have more mysteries to reveal to us in the eternal life we will share with the Holy Trinity! We truly worship a dynamic God!
Prayers of Intercession
United in Christ and guided by the Spirit, we pray for the church, the creation, and all in need.
A brief silence.
One God, giver of life, you established peace through your Son and gave your church the hope of sharing in your glory. Enliven us by your Spirit to speak and act in love for the sake of the world. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Creator of all, you rejoice in creation and have given humankind responsibility for the works of your hands. Instill in everyone your Spirit of care for the earth, especially in areas threatened by ecological devastation. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Loving Redeemer, you delight in the human race. Move the hearts of world leaders to seek wisdom, speak truth, and care for all endangered by poverty, prejudice, or violence. Further the work of international collaboration and peacemaking. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Abiding Comforter, you call out to all who live. Restore severed relationships and protect children who lack trustworthy caregivers. Grant hope to those who are experiencing fear, pain, or grief, especially those whom we remember on our prayer list and prayer board, and those we bring before you now, either silently or aloud. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Holy Three, you are community, and you create community. Build up ministries that support those who are isolated or lonely. Bless Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Brenda, our pastor. Give endurance as we nurture vital relationships in our congregation and beyond. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Holy God, we remember your saints for their strong faith and witness, even unto death, especially the Emanuel Nine, whom we commemorate this week. Console grieving families. Stir up in us the resolve to end the sin of white supremacy and pursue the courageous path of justice. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
God of every time and place, in Jesus’ name and filled with your Holy Spirit, we entrust these spoken prayers and those in our hearts into your holy keeping.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
The God of peace,
Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless you, comfort you,
and show you the path of life
this day and always.
Go in peace. Love your neighbor.
Bless the world and be God’s grace!
Thanks be to God!