Faithful Wisdom

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

The early Christians grew to understand the meaning of Christ’s resurrection as they experienced the Risen Lord. We seek the Holy Spirit to guide us to new understandings of faith as we hear the recorded Word. Join your hearts with mine in prayer.

Holy and Triune God, You alone live in perfect harmony, One God in three persons, mutual in loving power, We seek this unity through reconciliation.  We yearn for your wisdom and understanding in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our church committee meetings, our legislatures and our courts.  We ask you to show us your holy way. Speak to us through your Scripture and proclaim peace, hope, and grace to our listening ears through Christ we pray. Amen.

 

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE         Proverbs 8:22-31                             Wisdom’s Part in Creation

22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.

23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil.

27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when 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, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.

 

May the Lord bless this Holy Word to our understanding.

 

A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#333   “Seek Ye First” (v.1)

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING                          John 16:4-15                          The Work of the Spirit

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When 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. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

THE SERMON           “Faithful Wisdom”

As we celebrate the Trinity, I invite you to use God’s gift of wisdom to wrap your mind around the concept of one God experienced in three persons. The word Trinity or Triune is never used in Scripture. The theological terms attempts to explain our understanding of the mystery of God. Throughout Scripture, human beings encounter the monotheistic God in various ways.

The early Christians expressed their faith with the Trinitarian formula of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Hebrew culture, Jews believed in one, Holy, God who interacted with people and demonstrated interest in their daily lives. The surrounding culture believed in a multitude of (small g) gods, one for each aspect of life. Polytheist worshiped many (small g) gods, in individual temples on every street corner.

The Christians engaged their neighbors with in the challenge of describing one (Capital G) God revealed in three different manifestations.  These three persons remained intimately and intricately connected through a relationship and formed from the same spiritual essence. Describing the God of the Universe remains a difficult task even seasoned theologians. I believe it is no easier to explain the Trinity to someone who holds a different theological perspective today.

Yet, both Old and New Testaments express one God in ways persons. Scripture witnesses to God’s activity through creation and in our lives.  The three persons of one God work together from the beginning of creation, in the act of salvation, and the formation of God’s church, and our eternal rest when the world ceases to exist. The Old and New Testaments provide a collection of stories, references, and imagery Christians use to formulate our doctrine of the Trinity.

In Proverbs, the author personifies the wisdom of God. As an aspect of the Triune God, wisdom moves through creation. God’s wisdom does not just sit, idle and complacent. This aspect of God moves the Spirit to infuse us when our life enters a crossroads, urging us to choose the right way. As New Testament, Christians we read in the Old Testament God’s direction to follow the way of Christ.  From the foundation of the earth, God points us to receive and follow the commandments. We wisely walk the narrow and righteous pathway.

John’s Gospel spends several chapters to explaining the Triune connection between, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. John expounds the sense of abiding with one another, intimate and inseparable yet distinct and discrete. The whole embodiment of God involved in creation and salvation, exert themselves different activities with the same purpose. God the Father sends the Son to earth and the Holy Spirit prepares hearts to receive this gift of love. Jesus, fully human and fully God, comes to earth with power and purpose, but can only reveal what we can bear and comprehend. When Jesus ascends back to the Father, the Spirit of Truth will connect us with Christ who remains with the Father as one.

The Holy Spirit advocates for the Triune God’s plan. The Spirit proves that the Father’s righteous covenant prepares a way for sinful humanity to relate to a Holy God. The Spirit grants wisdom to us to recognize our sin as Jesus intercedes for our judgement. We don’t need to see Jesus’s perfection to acknowledge our sinfulness. The Spirit continues moving us on our faith journey to understand all truth. We express God’s love as we reflect more of Christ’s character and this glorifies God, not our own accomplishments. The Spirit of God guides us to hear God’s truth.

The concept of the Trinity does not reflect human wisdom. Those in the World cannot understand the Triune God. One God in three persons does not make sense unless we faithfully seek God’s wisdom. Our human wisdom cannot fathom God’s Trinitarian identity. Only when we allow the Spirit to open our minds can we get a glimpse of Christ’s connection to the Father in heaven. God transcends our human language, yet we attempt to describe our understanding of the divine.

God’s faithful wisdom will continue to expand our understanding of love and grace. We may discover it easier to explain the Father-Son connection through the work of the Spirit. Or we may find words to express the movement of the Spirit in our sense of Christian love for others. We can observe Christ’s like character as we get draw closer to our Heavenly Father’s love by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

In the Apostle John describes Jesus’ final discourse, Jesus imparts wisdom to the disciples on the relationship and connection of the Triune God. He expresses the purpose and the power of the Spirit to connect us together so that we may abide with our one God. We gain spiritual wisdom that strengthens our faith. TGBTG. Amen

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