One God: Three Persons,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Trinity, C: Isaiah 6:1-8; Canticle 13; Revelation 4:1-11; John 16: 5-15
June 3, 2007
Pastor Mary Blessing,
Vicar, St. Philip’s, Scotts Valley CA
Pt. I: Story of Trinity, One God in Three persons—using the “apple” analogy.
Cut an apple in half from step to bottom. Look at “open” view of apple—note, it is one apple, but it has a skin, flesh and seeds. The peel is apple, the flesh is apple, the seed is apple. Each of these is “apple”, and without all three, or even if without one of these, it is not “apple”.
So it is with God. God, whom we call The Trinity: we say there is ONE GOD “in three persons”: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “persons” because they relate to one another in personal ways. We say that God is Love, expressed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God relates to US in very personal, very direct ways, as CREATOR, REDEEMER and SUSTAINER.
Each of these “persons” has an important function separate from the other, yet each is equally “God”, each is equally LOVE, offered to us for our life. What I want you to consider, is to think of the ways God, the source of all love and truth, guides and sustains you in your life. Let’s take this mysterious notion of “ONE God, THREE persons” and bring it down very personally to our own lives. How does God relate to YOU, personally?
Graduates: How does God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, give you guidance as you move from this phase of your life to a new chapter? One thing to remember: one way or the other, GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU!!
In today’s Gospel of John we read of Jesus telling his apostles that when Jesus leaves to return to God the Father, an “Advocate” will come—the “Spirit of Truth”. God the Creator is always with us, God the Son has revealed God’s love in a new and intimate way in the person of Jesus Christ, now, Jesus says, humanity is to experience God the Holy Spirit in a new and dynamic way, through the power of Holy Spirit, God the Sustainer, revealing God the “Spirit of Truth” to be the one who will GUIDE YOU INTO ALL THE TRUTH….. How will you know the voice of this Advocate, the one who “speaks” the TRUTH?
Each of you has had a life growing up relatively well-off. Your parents love you, they provide for you, they are the first place in your life that you have experienced the power of God’s love. You come to church, and here you experience more of God’s love, through this community, the care of Sunday school teachers, friends and pastors—here you learn about God while you experience the joy of God’s presence in the ceremonies, traditions, in the sacrament of Holy Communion. But, does it really mean anything to you, or is it just a bunch of words and motions? Frankly, I believe it is when you begin to be out on your own that you really have a chance to discover the power of God’s loving presence in your life through the increased awareness of this “Advocate” God’s Holy Spirit speaking to you as the “Spirit of Truth”, guiding you into those choices that are life-giving, fulfilling, bringing you closer to what really matters in life.
Let me share with a story of a person who discovered the power of God’s Spirit of Truth working in his life, beginning with his teen years and sustaining him to this day in unexpected ways. You may not have heard of this person unless you are a blues and jazz fan, but your parents and those 55+ may have, but you probably know some of the people of this story.
Story of Blues singer DION, from the Bronx of NY: at age 17 he recorded his first album with the pop group, The Belmonts. Their hit song, “Teenager in Love” was that doo wop ‘50’s style. He was the lead singer. By age 19 he was touring with the more famous singers, Buddy Holly and Richie Valence. In 1959, they were touring in the mid-west riding in a little yellow school bus. He was having fun, feeling like he was on top of the world, seeing the country, meeting cool people. But the bus had no heat, it was BELOW 30F, in February…. After 2 weeks of this Buddy Holly couldn’t take it any more and wanted to charter an airplane to North Dakota… he wanted as many different signers to get in on this charter to lower his cost, and told Dion it would be $36. to fly. Well, Dion heard $36, and in his head he thought, wow, my parents struggle to come up with $36 to pay the month each month, that’s a lot of money, I can’t waste it on a plane trip just because I’m cold, and he told Buddy Holly “no.” Well, those of you familiar with this story know that Buddy Holly, Richie Valenz and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). Dion was spared.
At age 19 this young man made a decision based on a practical truth, stopping to think on his own, listening to what was important to him, and made a choice that saved his life.
As his life continued to unfold, Dion discovered that the Catholic upbringing he had in the Bronx, with a local priest paying attention to him, challenging him to consider what is important in life, in a cool way, began to all make sense to him.
Back when Dion had been quite full of himself, walking the streets of New York, feeling rather important as the teen who had a record cut before turning 18, his Priest, Fr. Joe, challenged him, “What’s this rebel without a cause?” Some of you know, the Jimmy Dean movie, “Rebel without a Cause” …well, Fr. Joe put another twist on this, saying why not be the “rebel seeking truth. When you stand up for the truth, you can really get somewhere.” Later, after the plan accident that killed these famous singers but he had been led to a different decision that spared his life, Dion became more and more aware of the importance of his faith. The pain and emptiness he felt in the deep loss of life of the great singers, Buddy Holly and Richie Valence, he began to see that his faith could fill those empty places.
His Catholic upbringing showed him traditions, and brought images of beautiful ceremonies, signs and miracles were talked about, but it lay dormant in the back of his mind for many years, then one day his faith just seemed to wake up—all of the sudden his faith felt like it meant something. He had a spiritual awakening, and all that began to fill him with a sense of ability to
Wrote a song “Truth will Set you Free” : “Down the dirty city streets, black top sneakers on my feet, teen age years, useless fears--- Over my shoulder and back through the years, I can see my father’s eyes in my memory ”Jesus died upon the cross—all is won, and nothing lost—oh, son, “the truth will set you free”.
Right now no one expects you to have your life fully planned out. Right now we don’t know all the choices you will be making each step along the way. You have made some choices up to this point, and more will come. But what we do know is that you have been led to this place and time in ways that have included God’s presence, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. God’s Holy Spirit in the form of the Spirit of Truth dwells within you. Today we urge you to call upon this presence within you, through prayer, reflection, and continued participation in faith communities that encourage you to LISTEN to the voice of the Holy Spirit. And “when that Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the truth” and “the truth will set you free.” AMEN
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