Our Triune Creator

Sermon for June 12, 2022 at St. Andrew Presbyterian.
Readings: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 and John 16:12-15

Our Triune Creator
Since this is Trinity Sunday, I thought I’d try to express the nature of the Triune God in a way tat we might almost be able to understand. I made this image of a braid surrounding the world to represent the Trinity – Creator, Redeemer and Spirit.

A braid has three distinct strands, but is stronger than the sum of its parts because it is woven together and works together. This particular braid surrounds us with mercy, love and grace. Of course, the Triune God is more like a sphere that fills the universe than a braid around the world, but you get the idea. Even God is not alone, but revels in companionship, cooperation, and fellowship with Jesus, the Spirit , and with us. God understands relationships and how important they are. This is why so much of the original law is related to how we are to treat each other. Even though we speak many languages and have different customs and cultures, when you see the earth from space, there are no legal boundaries or dividing lines, only landmarks of seas, deserts, and mountains.
Today’s scripture from Proverbs personifies Wisdom, and she is the Holy Spirit, what God made first in the very beginning, a witness and a co-worker in the formation of the world and someone to join God in delighting in both the world and the human race. Wisdom calls from every public space, beckoning us to join her dance of joy at the beauty and creativity of the world. God doesn’t wait for us to go looking, but send the Holy Spirit out to find us and cheer us on. Wisdom is no sour old drudge. The Hebrew words imply that she is a person of laughter,
dance and play, and finds the good in us. Welcoming her lightens our spirits and replaces worry with gladness and gratitude, reminding us to be thankful for the wonderful world she and God made and for the human race.
We benefit when we listen for the Holy Spirit as she calls to us all, drowning out the voices of temptation and selfishness, greed and pride. She is the Advocate and the Helper. She not only explains who God is and what Christ meant when he spoke about God, but she also reminds us of who we should strive to be, not harshly, but gently and with love. She’s a reported with the best new we can ever hear, but even more than that, she prays for us, teaches us, gives us the right words to say, prompts others to help us, even works miracles.
Remember the story in Acts 8 about Phillip being sent to talk to the Ethiopian eunuch? Not only did she send Phillip to his chariot, but after he was converted and baptized, the Spirit snatched Phillip away and took him to Azotus.

It’s easy to picture God as the serious old man with a white beard reaching to touch Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but did you ever notice the woman under his other arm? That’s Wisdom. She’s thinking God will do an even better job when they make Eve next. Just kidding!
In the John passage, Jesus talks about the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, whose job is two-fold: to glorify Christ by showing us the truth about him, and to point us unselfishly toward Christ’s ways, his actions as a role model for how we should behave. She also does this at the perfect time when we can bear to hear what Christ has to tell us.
The Holy Spirit is a humble servant of the cause of love and mercy. She looks for ways to shine a spotlight on Christ and his example, conveying only what she hears from God and Jesus. She’s a
bit like a proud mom bringing attention to her perfect child, but she takes none of the credit. She tells us to glory and delight in God’s love and mercy as well as Christ’s. She is our dependable guide, giving new insights even as things have changed from Jesus’ time to this, even as our understanding of the universe changes, even as we think we know more about everything. The Holy Spirit is God still with us, sometimes subtle, but not shy.
At the first Christmas, angels sang, but only to a few shepherds. The wise men understood the enormity of it, but they went home by another way after hearing from the Spirit in a dream that Herod was not to be trusted. It was momentous, but not dramatic. It didn’t draw crowds.
On Good Friday, it grew mysteriously dark at Gethsemane when Jesus dies, but only a few people witnessed it. It was dramatic, but not inclusive. Later, when Jesus appeared to the women at the tomb and then the disciples in the upper room, saying, “Peace be with you,” that was as much drama as they could handle. Jesus’ resurrection changed everything, but quietly. Only the disciples and their friends witnessed Jesus’ appearances that proved he was alive again. It wasn’t a public display.
Pentecost, on the other hand, was a different type of event. When the Holy Spirit entered the disciples, it came with such power that it made a huge noise, ushering in a new ear of direct communication from God for everyone. All of Jerusalem heard it and many gathered to witness what was happening as the disciples spoke in the languages of everyone present and told of the power of Christ. We need the unifying and communicating nature of the Spirit. She has been teaching and directing members and leaders of the church ever since, at least those who will listen.
The Holy Spirit enables us to be friends with God. Before Jesus told us about God and then sent us the Holy Spirit, God only spoke to people through the prophets. Now when we pray, we can receive direct answers.
Asking Jesus to be your savior makes you a Christian. Asking the Holy Spirit to lead, teach and guide you in your Christian walk makes you a better Christian, a more blessed Christian. She is your source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and wisdom. We don’t have to do these things in our own strength, thank the Good Lord.
In order to interact with the Holy Spirit, you have to ask her to come into your heart. She may shout in the streets about what she can do, but she won’t enter your personal space without an invitation. We must ask for a relationship with her, pray and then listen to hear from the Helper. She will offer guidance, comfort, direction, and wisdom, but not impose God’s will on us. We must still make our own choices.
Sometimes, the Spirit will speak through us to other people. I was chatting with a friend recently, and she described her many activities and gifts to her friends and her church, but also felt worried about whether she was doing everything God had in mind for her. I felt led by the Spirit to say, “My friend, you are doing enough.”
Feeling tempted to do something selfish? Talk to the Spirit. She won’t steer you wrong. I must confess, I was tempted two weeks ago not to get a COVID test and just hope to feel better before my knee surgery date. But I knew that would be putting other people at risk as well as myself, so I listened to Wisdom and went for the test.
If you think you’re hearing from the Spirit, but the words sound suspiciously like your own selfish desires talking, compare what you’re thinking to what Jesus said in Scripture. The Holy Spirit will never contradict what Jesus told his disciples to do or the values he displayed.
As a church, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit as much as we ever have ion our history. Where does God want us to make changes, and where should we stay the course? We’ll be talking more about this on July 10th when we have our congregational meeting after worship. In the meantime, I’m asking everyone to pray about the course corrections we need to keep this ship sailing along doing God’s will. Pray early and often. The Holy Spirit is our source of wisdom and strength. Let’s ask her for it.
Please pray with me. Holy Spirit, come. Settle on and into your people with your love, insight, and wisdom. Give us your ultimate peace as we go forward as your people, today and every day. Inspire us, literally, filling us with your Spirit, your will, and your benefits. And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

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