Sermon offered for St John the Baptist Anglican Church Northcote Trinity by Rev Lucy Nguyen on Sunday 31 May 2015
I love the song we will be singing at the end of our worship service– I the lord of sea and sky. I, not a great singer, can get quite vocal and passionate when we get to the chorus … yes, this is a warning for later J
Here I am lord! Is it I, Lord/ I have heard you calling in the night!
Oh, Pick me God, pick me!
When singing this song I really want God to pick me to be on God’s team.
I mean who doesn’t want to be on God’s team?
Who does not want to be on God’s team?
We have from our Isaiah reading this morning – a glimpse of God, as a God who is looking for someone, looking for someone to send to the people. Straight away on this Trinity of Sunday morning, when the church calendar invites us to wonder about the nature of God, we have an indication that God is not one to always or simply act alone. God is a God of relationship. God of the First Testament, God of Isaiah, is a God who wants creation to help out in the care of the world. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” God is not control freak god, a “I will do it myself god”. God is a god of relationship who seeks us, to help out!
Who does not want to be on God’s team?!
Then we have Paul’s letter to the Romans, a letter which tells of God’s power for salvation to all who believe and from our verses this morning – we hear that that, this is a God who desires us, in fact has adopted us to be the children of God by the Spirit of God. So while our delightful flesh, our earthly bodies, often seem to not set the right tone for being the adopted children of God ie –
- I’m hungry for lots of reasons having nothing to do with my body’s honest need for nutrition, and I now regularly eat and drink myself into a mess of apathy and inaction;
- or I ignored my basic need for sleep and now I’m stressed out and unable to function
- or I’m SO busy/important with “stuff” I’m now addicted to “whatever” to function
- or I’ve spent so much time just thinking about me I’m going diddle someone out of their retirement funds so I can have a bigger slice of the property pie,
God gives us the Spirit of God to be at work within us and between us, to save us and to help us with that, usually delightful, but occasionally deadly, flesh side of ourselves which can kill us – as in separate us from the love God. This is the Spirit of God which we welcomed last Sunday at Pentecost –
So another peek into the nature of God – on this Trinity Sunday… God is a realistic God of relation. Knowing that we can be tempted away from all that is truly good, God draws us back through adoption by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Who wouldn’t want to be on God’s team?
Right? …. Well… it can all be very confusing … and …how do we become as the children of God …Think Nicodemus from our Gospel reading this Trinity Sunday …Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, for goodness sake!
Yet here he is under the cover of darkness sneaking out to speak to Jesus. “Jesus I know you’re special but I don’t get it, how do I follow you? How do I get to be on God’s team? “
- Well if Isaiah gave us a glimpse of God – as a God who calls us
- And Paul gives us a peek of God – as a God who adopts us with the Spirit of life
John’s Gospel opens it right up for us along with that teacher of Israel Nicodemus, to discover,
- God is a God who loves creation so much that God gave God’s only son so that everyone who believes in God may not perish but may have eternal life.
God is a God who reaches out to us in relationship – and in particular calls us into relationship with Godself in Jesus. A relationship that does not lead to judging and condemning but to the fullness of life now and to come. Eternal life, begins here on earth!
Who wouldn’t want want to be on God’s team?
Wonderful – isn’t it? … A God of relationship – a God who
- calls us,
- adopts us and
- shares family with us
so we can live! But wait there’s more! “More?” you say … “What else?” Well … Relationships to survive, to thrive, are a two way street (and in terms of the Trinity a three way street.) And we need to be part of that relationship for God! We need to be willing to front up if you are indeed responding to
- God’s call,
- God’s adoption,
- God’s Son, Jesus.
It is not enough to get passionate when singing hymns together and then hightail it out of here.
You know this, it’s not new, many of you have been passionately singing and responding to God’s call for years, decades and that is wonderful. You celebrate that relationship in your regular worshiping together and activities, I hope, all week, all year long.
What we need to be mindful of is that, like all good relationships, we need to refresh, review, renew, and recommit ourselves. And perhaps some of that has happened for you in the build up to Easter and in the initiation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Today on Trinity Sunday – the invitation is clear: If I believe, if you believe -truly want to respond to God’s call, -honestly want this adoption to work, -really desire a living relationship with Jesus
- we need to bring our whole self to the team.
- we need to want to be on God’s team
- and that means we have to show up for training,
- stay late for practice
- play the whole game,
- we, the church, have to engage with others on the playing field,
- consider those on the side-lines.
- you are not in this alone.
- Life is not just about you or me,
- our faith is not a private faith,
- church life is not sacrosanct and something we don’t talk about
- we / the church are on a team and need everyone, whoever they are … and they need YOU, just as you are!
and I do believe we will be equipped for what we are called to do, so please do not be put off by this image of team if it all sounds too exhausting for the later years of life, God will enable you just as you are but you have to be present and engaging with others…
God wants you, calls you, loves you and needs you for the world to know better that Divine love.
This is sign up Sunday! Sign up today, sign up again, sign up in a new and wonderful way to be on God’s team.
Who wouldn’t want to be on God’s team?!
“Pick me – here I am Lord – show me where you need me to be.”
The Rev Lucy Nguyen 30 May 2015 Auckland.