Trinity Sunday

June 4, 2023

Lectionary Texts

Genesis 1.1-2.4. God as Creator, and as Spirit: in the beginning God’s Spirit brooded over the waters….

Psalm 8. We marvel that although God is creator and ruler of all the universe, God cares for us.

2 Corinthians 13.11-13. Before the advent of the idea of the Trinity, Paul concludes a letter with a three-fold blessing.

Matthew 28.16-20. Jesus gives us the great commission to make disciples, to teach and to baptize in the name of Abba-God, Son and Holy Spirit.

Preaching Thoughts

        The image of the Trinity does not just describe three different jobs God has, but that God’s essence is in relationship; that God’s nature is beyond any one quality; that God exceeds all our understandings and categories. The Trinity is not a “doctrine” so much as an image. An icon. We diminish it when we turn it into a scientific formula. In fact what the “doctrine” of the Trinity means is that God can’t be turned into a doctrine.
         The Trinity is not a logical proposition you can either “agree” or “disagree” with. It’s an image, an icon, a symbol. It’s not two men and a bird; it’s about our three-dimensional experience of God. It’s a picture of God as Lover, Beloved and the Love that Flows Between—or Lover, Love, and Loveliness. It’s sort of like E=mc2 in three dimensions. It’s an image of the whole world as a “thin place,” where the boundary is thin and porous between physical and spiritual, seen and unseen, finite and infinite.
         God is Love. God is Mother, Heavenly Lover, source of all Being: “Father.” God’s love is infinite and eternal. When God’s love exists as pure energy we call it “Spirit.” When God’s love is embodied, made finite and mortal, we call it “Christ,” God’s energy appearing as matter, Word made flesh. Jesus fully embodied the Christ, or embodied love, of God. He was not just Jesus of Nazareth, he was Jesus of Christ. He was Christ appearing as Jesus. We too are finite instances of the infinite love of God, just as Jesus was. God’s spirit, which we see in him, is in all of us.
         The Trinity reminds us God is more than we think. It’s a way to keep our images of God slippery so we can’t have just one image. God is This and the Opposite of This and None of the above: God is infinite and also embodied; divine and also human; Father also Son, and also Mother.
       The Trinity is an image of God’s three-dimensionality. God is the Eternal Creator, Infinite Source, Reality Itself, Ground of Being, beyond all knowing or understanding. Yet God also comes to us in real, revealed, embodied form, in spoken Word, as God does in Jesus. And God also is within and among us, neither beyond us nor coming to us but arising from within us as Spirit: whenever we love—that’s God.
         The Trinity is an image of God as relationship. And it’s also an image of God as unity. Even though there seem to be three persons, they are One. And we’re part of that One. “I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (Jn. 14.20). And it’s an image of God as energy. With God one plus one equals three, because you also count the “plus.” God is the “proceeding” of Son from Father, and Spirit from both of them. (There’s a big controversy about whether the Spirit proceeds “from the Father” or “from the father and the Son.” The very nature of the Trinity is that they can’t be separated or distinguished. The Spirit proceeds from their relationship.) The Trinity is not a static organizational chart but an electric field, a living process, a loving flow, a divine dance. The Greek word for it is perichoresis (from peri, which means “around,” and chorein, which means “to give way” or “to make room”). The Trinity is God’s dancing-to-make-room-for-the-other.
         Strictly speaking the “Holy Trinity” isn’t biblical. Both 2 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 28 use what seems to be “Trinitarian” language; but the idea of the Trinity wasn’t developed until long after New Testament writings. However we can read the Trinity into those passages as well as other, right? Well, yes, in fact we can read the Trinity into everything. Which is the point: not that Genesis preaches the Trinity, but that we see the Trinity everywhere we look.

Call to Worship

Leader: Eternal God, infinite and invisible Lover: we are in awe.
All: Beyond us, beside us, within and among us, you are our life.
Christ, Beloved, Word made flesh, brother in the journey: we are in love.
Beyond us, beside us, within and among us, you are our life.
Holy Spirit, love of God breathing in us, making us one: we are in you.
Beyond us, beside us, within and among us, you are our life. Alleluia!

Leader: O Great Mystery, Infinite Being: Praise!
All: O Living Love, Word Among Us: Thanks!
O Flame of Life, Spirit of Joy: Awe!
Father-Mother, Giver of Life, we worship you.
Son, Beloved, Chosen One, we adore you.
Spirit, Breath of Love, we open ourselves to you. Alleluia!

Leader: Infinite God, Loving Mystery, Eternal Father, Life-Giving Mother:All: We worship you.
Christ, the Only Begotten, Son of God, Loving Brother, Eternal Word:
We love you and trust you.
Holy Spirit, Breath of Life, Energy of Love Within:
We open our hearts to your grace.
We wonder at your mystery.
We are grateful for your love.
We accept the life and grace you give us.
O Love beyond us, beside us, within us, we give ourselves to you.
Create us anew in you, teach us your way, and breathe us into the world. Amen.

Leader: Abba, Jesu, Spirit, come.
All: Abba, Jesu, Spirit, come.
Great Holy Trinity, heavenly family, draw us to your table.
Great Holy Mystery, heavenly Love, hold us in your heart.
We worship you. We praise you. We open to you. Alleluia.

Leader: Eternal God, we praise you!
All: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
You are present, you are holy, and we worship you.
Glory be to you, O God of all Creation.
Thanks be to you, O Christ, for our salvation.
Eternal God, Holy Trinity, bless us as we worship.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Holy One, Loving Mystery,
we belong in you; we open ourselves to your presence.
We are your Beloved; we open ourselves to your Word.
We are vessels of your Spirit; we open ourselves to be made new in your grace.
Speak, for we are listening. Amen.

Mystery of God, enfold us.
Body of Mercy, lay your hand upon us.
Breath of God, move in us.
Energy of Love, re-create us us.
Word of Truth, speak to us.
Fire of joy, burn in us.
We worship in gratitude and awe.

O Holy Trinity, you open your arms to us and include us in your blessed community. Bless us, that we may enter you; feast with you, and be one with you; that you may live in us, for your sake and the sake of the world. Source of Life, Eternal Word and Spirit of Love, we worship you; Mother, Son and Holy Spirit, we listen for your Word. Amen.

Eternal God, you are present with us, and you are speaking to us. We open the windows of our hearts, so that the light of your Word will stream in and make beautiful all that within us. Speak, for your people are listening. Amen.

Calm our minds, God, and still our hearts.
Bring us to your table, to delight in your presence, and to feast on your Word.
Be with us in speaking and in silence, in understanding and in wonder,
in our time together and beyond. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

Eternal One, you contain us.
Loving One, you come to us.
Life-Giving One, you empower us.
In your mystery we open ourselves;
in your presence we listen;
in your love we are ready.


       God is also not a rock

but a certain dancing
color under the river
where the light and the water
and the flowing happen
movement mingling
a murmur of curves
but certain

outlines surrender and
the stone flows
the color of fish
also where you do not see it
and where the fish is
there is only a ripple
a dapple a shadow
a light

making everything
even later and far away
ocher and purple and blue
and flowing.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

         We live in you, God, infinite and eternal Creator and Source of all: you made us and all Creation out of yourself, made us of love, and made us for love.
         We follow you, Christ, love of God made flesh, our brother and companion. In Jesus of Nazareth, in the Crucified and Risen One, you show us the invisible God; you walk beside us; you heal, forgive and call us. Teacher and Savior, you direct our lives.
         We live by your grace, Holy Spirit: Love flowing in us from your infinite heart to all the world. In our communion in you we are One, the Body of Christ, raised from death to eternal life. By your power in us we live lives of love and justice, healing and reconciliation. Mother, Son and Holy Spirit, we worship you; we follow you; we open ourselves to your grace. Amen.

         We give our hearts to you, O Loving Mystery, Father and Mother, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, unseen yet present in every place and time.
         We love you and trust you, Jesus Christ our brother, embodied Love of God, our savior and our teacher. You enter our life; you share our journey, even our sufferings: you were crucified and raised again, so that sharing our human nature we may share your divine nature.
         We live by your grace, Holy Spirit, breath of God in us, emerging energy of love. You lead us to live lives of compassion, courage, justice and beauty. You make us one with each other and with all living things. You are our Breath, our Life, our Loving. Mother, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are yours. Alleluia and Amen.

         We believe in God, the Holy Trinity. God is eternal Mystery, infinite and unknowable, who contains and transcends all, creator and ruler of all that is and that ever shall be.
         And God is love embodied in Christ, finite and vulnerable. We see the fullness of God’s love in Jesus, fully human and fully divine. We see God in his loving, his teaching, his gathering a community, in his dying and his rising.
         And God is Holy Spirit, alive in us, empowering us to love and to heal, to live lives of peace and justice, and to make of all nations disciples on the Way of God.
         Holy Triune God, all praise be yours, now and for eternity. Alleluia!

Eucharistic Prayer

[After the introduction, the body of the prayer may be read responsively with the presiding leader(s) and congregation, or by the leader(s) alone.]

God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

Eternal God, we thank you for the universe you create.
We thank you for your presence in our lives.

We thank you for the gift of salvation.
We thank you for your will for justice,
and your liberation of the oppressed.

We thank you for the gift of Jesus.
Holy Mystery of Love, with all creation we sing your praise!

            [Sanctus, spoken or sung:]
        Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and might,
        heaven and earth are full of your glory.
        Hosanna in the highest.
        Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
        Hosanna in the highest.
               [or alternate version]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ,
Word made flesh, love made real.
Conceived and led by your Spirit,
he taught and healed, fed the hungry, and honored the outcast.
Infinite love in mortal form, he was crucified;
but infinitely alive with the Spirit, he was raised.
He comes among us to renew your Covenant to be with us always in love.

     (The Blessing and Covenant)
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.
Therefore, remembering these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

             [Memorial Acclamation, spoken or sung:]
        Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
        Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restores our life.
        Christ will come again in glory.
             [or alternative]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Spirit on us, that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
one in your grace, radiant with your love,
and empowered by your Spirit
for the sake of the healing of the world.
Mother and Father, Son, and Spirit,
we thank you and bless you.

     [Spoken or sung]

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

[Adapt as needed.]
Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) In gratitude, we give you our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will. Send us into the world, radiant with your mystery, alive with your Spirit, aflame with your love, to be your disciples and to make disciples of others. Be with us always, to the end of the age. Amen.

Eternal One, enfold us in your mystery. Loving One, make us whole in your grace. Present One, empower us for lives of mercy and justice, in the name of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

God Beyond, Within, Among (Tune: For the Beauty of the Earth)

Holy God, great Trinity, source of all things good and true,
Gracious, Blessed Mystery, now we come to worship you.
God beyond, within, among: hear us sing our thankful song.

God, Creator, Womb of Life, whose eternal love and power
gather Earth and bring forth light, re-create us in this hour.
God beyond, within, among: hear us sing our thankful song.
Christ, our, brother, meet us here; touch our wounded hearts and heal.

Word of God, made close and clear, in your grace your truth reveal.
God beyond, within, among: hear us sing our thankful song.
Holy Spirit, Breath within, Wind of Heaven, gentle Dove,
make us holy, save from sin, fill our hearts with perfect love.

God beyond, within, among: hear us sing our thankful song.
Blessed, Holy Trinity, in your image and your power
we are your community; re-create us in this hour.
Holy God, we worship you! Take our lives and make them new.

God Eternal, Holy Trinity (Tune: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus)

God Eternal, Holy Trinity, Father-Mother, Spirit, Son,
Gracious Mystery, Loving Family, you have baptized us as one.
Sharing life at your kitchen table, feeding us with generous grace,
send us now into the world, one with all the human race.

Christ, our Brother, Guide and Teacher, Savior, Healer, Living Word:
we are baptized in your dying, in your rising, love out-poured.
You have fed us with the outcast, raised us to new life in you;
send us now to love our neighbors, with your Presence in all we do.

Holy Spirit, Bright Companion, Breath of Life that lives in us,
we are baptized in your power, grace to share your love and peace.
Send us now as your living Body, radiant with your infinite grace.
Lead us, guide us, bless and sustain us. May our living be your praise!

God of Creation, Birthing us Daily (Tune: Morning Has Broken)

God of Creation, birthing us daily,
granting salvation, making things new,
thanks for your blessing gladly we give you,
freely confessing our love for you.

Healing, forgiving, Jesus you touch us.
Bless all our living; grant us delight.
Jesus our brother, help us live gently,
love one another, trust in God’s light.

Grant us our living, great Holy Spirit,
faithfully giving hearts made of praise:
baptized in glory, servants of Jesus,
living your story all of our days.

God our Creator, You Gather Us Here (Tune: Be Thou My Vision)

God our Creator, you gather us here,
you who release us from bondage and fear,
you who make all things, and make all things new,
gladly we sing our thanksgiving to you.

Light of the world, Christ, you healed the blind,
freed us from chains of oppression that bind,
died with our dying! Our life is in you:

Spirit, unite us, and make our hearts new.
Help us by grace to live lives that are true,
touch with your healing and see with your sight,
live in your pure love and shine with your light.

(Communion verse:)
Christ, by your Body and Blood, present here,
make of one Body your people so dear,
taken, blessed, broken and given, all free,
so all may have life, and abundantly.

Holy Mystery (Tune: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)

Holy Mystery, we worship you, Holy Three in One,
God beyond our understanding, Mother, Spirit and the Son,
Holy Love, Beloved, and the flowing Love between,
never ending or begun.

God, our infinite Creator, Source of all and ending too,
Holy Lover eternal, all around and in and through,
Love that flows in us, and in whom we all are one:
we find ourselves in you.

Infinite, eternal Love unseen, Love made flesh on earth,
Love that burns within our hearts, in whom all have infinite worth,
Mother, Son and Holy Spirit: we worship y0u in awe,
and receive new birth. Amen.

O Holy Trinity (Tune: Finlandia)

O Holy One, O Mystery beyond us,
we praise you, God, O Grace without a name.
Creator of the universe within you,
source of our life, Thou Infinite Divine,
unseen, unknown, we cannot frame or bind you,
only our wonder and our praise proclaim.

O Loving One, O Love who made the heavens,
you choose to come among us as our own,
the Living Word, in flesh revealed, Companion,
stranger and Friend, whose suff’ring is your throne.
Eternal Christ who humbly dies among us,
your tender mystery in love is known.

O Living One, O Grace who lives in our life,
we can’t contain you, but we can adore.
Spirit of Love beyond, beside, within us,
into our hearts your healing presence pour.
Many and One, O Mystery, Christ and Spirit,
we sing, we live your praise forevermore.

Your Cart
  • No products in the cart.