7th of June - Trinity Sunday
Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt
Just a few words of introduction
before we commence our worship.
Our Camera Man is Danny Ivanovski;
Our Community Worker, Khairul Hamdan,
is looking after the sound system;
Our Pianist today is Grace Kennedy…
and Claire Donsworth will lead us in song;
Ross Bryceson has our Bible readings;
Alayne Guerin will present our
“For the Young at Heart” segment.
Robyn Bradley has our Prayers of the People.
And it is Khairul Hamdan who is able to put
all aspects of the video service together
to make this broadcast possible.
My name is Les Hewitt.
I am now providing Supply Ministry
here in the Keiraview Uniting Church.
So it is my privilege to present
this service of worship today…
for Sunday, 7th JUNE, 2020 – TRINITY SUNDAY.
Acknowledgement of Country
As we gather on these ancient lands,
we acknowledge the Wadi Wadi people
of the Dharawal country,
who are the traditional custodians of this land
on which our church buildings stand.
We pay our respects to their Elders,
past, present and emerging.
Our Trinity Candle has been lit…
to remind us that we worship God
as Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit.
Our Call to Worship
We gather to worship God, our Creator.
We come, to be open again
to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We draw near,
seeking the presence
of the Holy Spirit of God
who sustains us.
Our Opening Hymn of Praise
is sung by the choir…
from All Saint’s Anglican Church
At Swansea in Tasmania.
They released a CD in 2014
to raise funds for the Restoration of their church.
So here they are to lead us in singing…
Song - Holy, holy, holy!
1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty,
early in the morning
our song shall rise to thee;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
2. Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns
around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim
falling down before thee,
God everlasting through eternity.
3. Holy, holy, holy!
though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man
thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy, there is none beside thee
perfect in power, in love and purity.
4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty,
all thy works shall praise thy name
in earth and sky and sea;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
We praise and adore You, God our Father.
You are the maker of everything,
and because of Your will
things came to be – and continue in being.
We praise and adore You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You are the Word made flesh,
and because of your life
we both know the Father – and trust His love.
We praise and adore You, Holy Spirit.
You are the Father’s gift to men and women,
and because of Your ceaseless activity,
no one is cut off from God.
O God, with the whole Church on earth
and in heaven
we praise and adore You,
for the wonder of Your power,
the marvel of Your mercy,
and the patience of Your purpose
for all humanity. Amen.
Genesis 1:1 - 2:4a
The Story of Creation
1. 1 In the beginning, when God created the universe, 2 the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3 Then God commanded, “Let there be light” — and light appeared. 4 God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, 5 and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night”. Evening passed and morning came — that was the first day.
6-7 Then God commanded, “Let there be a dome to divide the water and to keep it in two separate places” — and it was done. So God made a dome, and it separated the water under it from the water above it. 8 He named the dome “Sky”. Evening passed and morning came — that was the second day.
9 Then God commanded, “Let the water below the sky come together in one place, so that the land will appear” — and it was done. 10 He named the land “Earth”, and the water which had come together he named “Sea”. And God was pleased with what he saw.11 Then he commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit” — and it was done.12 So the earth produced all kinds of plants, and God was pleased with what he saw. 13 Evening passed and morning came — that was the third day.
14 Then God commanded, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals begin; 15 they will shine in the sky to give light to the earth” — and it was done. 16 So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars. 17He placed the lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God was pleased with what he saw. 19 Evening passed and morning came — that was the fourth day.
20Then God commanded, “Let the water be filled with many kinds of living beings, and let the air be filled with birds.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters, all kinds of creatures that live in the water, and all kinds of birds. And God was pleased with what he saw.22 He blessed them all and told the creatures that live in the water to reproduce, and to fill the sea, and he told the birds to increase in number. 23 Evening passed and morning came — that was the fifth day.
24 Then God commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small” — and it was done. 25 So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw.
26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. 29 I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; 30 but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food” — and it was done. 31God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came — that was the sixth day.
2. 1 And so the whole universe was completed. 2 By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working. 3 He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working. 4 And that is how the universe was created.
This is the Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God
A Word for the Young at Heart
This is the story of how God created the Universe.
In the beginning there was nothing.
No up or down.
No near or far.
No yesterday or tomorrow.
Then came the idea.
The idea came from God and was part of God,
yet it seemed to have a life of its own.
From that idea all things came to be.
Light and darkness.
Time and space.
Energy and matter.
Everything needed to make a universe.
Nothing special at first.
Then the breath of God came like a breeze and
ruffled the surface of the waters.
Something wonderful happened.
Deep in the seas, there was life.
Simple at first, but then more complex.
It was as if God could simply not get enough of dreaming up new forms of life.
They filled the seas.
They walked on the land.
They flew in the air.
Flowers bloomed and insects buzzed.
The little world teemed with life and colour,
scent and sound.
God looked at everything with delight.
This is too good to keep to myself, thought God.
So God made another kind of living thing,
one even more like God than all the others.
This living thing could
delight in beauty
maybe even have ideas of its own.
When God was finished working, it was time to rest.
Glad to be part of such a wonderful world, the new creature rested too.
And the new creature is us!
God made us so that he would have someone to talk to, someone to appreciate his Creation, and most importantly someone to have relationship with. He has entrusted us with his Creation and here in Australia we have had many lessons to learn and will continue to learn. After the catastrophic bushfires, we watch in awe and gratitude as the vegetation grows back with colourful re-growth, and new life springs from blackened, charred landscapes. As we bandaged the burnt and damaged limbs of our wildlife we have had a greater awareness of our responsibility as custodians and land managers of our country.
We are a scientific people but the account given in Genesis of how the Universe was made will always be our best expression of our child-like awe and wonder.
And now lets make a wall hanging as a prayer of thanks to our Creator God.
Hymn 146 (Beechwood) - God, who made the Earth
1. God, who made the earth,
the air, the sky, the sea,
who gave the light its birth,
God cares for me.
2. God, who made the grass,
the flower, the fruit, the tree,
the day and night to pass,
will care for me.
3. God who made the sun,
the moon, the stars, is he
who, when life’s clouds come on,
still cares for me.
4. God, who sent his Son
to die on Calvary,
has shown how lovingly
he cares for me.
Prayer of Confession
our Maker and our judge,
we have sinned against you
in thought, word and action:
we have not loved you with our whole heart,
we have not loved our neighbours
we repent, and are sorry for all our sins.
Father forgive us.
Strengthen us to love and obey you
in newness of life:
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Declaration of Forgiveness
Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Hear then the word of grace
and the assurance of pardon:
Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God
A Meditation: Slightly Less than Gods
Based upon Psalm 8 –
from “Australian Psalms” by Bruce Prewer
God, our God,
yours is the most wonderful name in all the world,
the highest joy in the whole universe!
Little children know this and grow strong;
rebellious adults break themselves
against your truth.
I see your fingers at work in vast galaxies;
sun and moon obey you to the very second.
I can’t help wondering
why you remember humanity,
why you bother about creatures like us.
Yet you have made us only slightly less than gods,
trusting us with remarkable responsibility.
You have asked us to take charge of our land,
making all other creatures
subject to our authority:
The cattle and sheep, the kangaroo and crocodile,
wedge-tailed eagle, magpie, and cockatoo,
Barramundi, tuna, dolphin, and shark,
turtles, fairy penguins, and seals.
O God, our dear God,
yours is the most astounding name
in all the world!
Jesus Appears to his Disciples
16 The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, even though some of them doubted. 18 Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Worship in Heaven
1 At this point I had another vision and saw an open door in heaven. And the voice that sounded like a trumpet, which I had heard speaking to me before, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2 At once the Spirit took control of me. There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. 3 His face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all round the throne there was a rainbow the colour of an emerald.
This is the Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God
Hymn 447 (Moscow) - Lord, your almighty word
1. Lord, your almighty word
chaos and darkness heard,
and took their flight:
hear us, we humbly pray,
and where the gospel day
sheds not its glorious ray,
let there be light.
2. Saviour, who came to give
those who in darkness live
healing and sight,
health to the sick in mind,
sight to the inly blind,
now to all humankind
let there be light.
3. Spirit of truth and love,
life-giving holy dove,
speed forth your flight;
move on the water’s face,
bearing the lamp of grace,
and in earth’s darkest place
let there be light.
4. Holy and blessed Three,
Wisdom, Love, Might,
boundless as ocean’s tide
rolling in fullest pride,
through the earth far and wide,
let there be light.
Prayer before the Sermon
and Special Presence.
Enable us to hear Your Word for us.
This we ask in the strong Name of the Trinity.
Sermon: Reflecting Upon the Trinity
Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt
Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Matthew 28:16-20; Revelation 4:1-3;
Meditation upon Psalm 8 – “Slightly Less than Gods”
from the book “Australian Psalms” by Bruce Prewer;
2 Corinthians 13:13 – Benediction
It is said that when Saint Augustine was Bishop of Hippo…
which was on the Mediterranean shores of North Africa…
He promised his Cathedral Congregation a sermon on the Trinity
which would make plain the mystery of the God-head.
Word quickly spread that this most learned and eloquent of Bishops
was going to satisfy the faithful… and mystify the heretics…
in this most complicated of all Christian teachings.
Augustine’s bold promise soon began to preoccupy his thinking
so he sought to clear his mind by taking a long walk along the beach,
contemplating the mystery of God and wondering…
“how on earth” he could express in simple terms,
ideas and concepts that even he… only half understood.
As Augustine walked along the beach he happened to see a small boy
who was very busy digging a hole in the sand.
Augustine asked him what he was doing. And the boy replied
that he was trying to drain all of the ocean into the hole he was digging.
As Augustine continued on his way down the beach
he reflected on the impossibility of the boy’s plans –
and the suddenly he also saw the impossibility of the task he had set himself. – to bring all the knowledge of God into his head
– and then make it plain for all to understand.
Now he could see that both tasks were impossible.
Well… I missed the walk along the beach
– but I am aware of the impossibility of bringing you
to a full and perfect knowledge of the whole personhood of God.
In essence… if you claim to completely understand
the person and nature of God…
and you think that you have unravelled all the mystery of God’s being…
then it is something else other than Almighty God
that you have come to understand.
God… is a God of mystery… and of revelation.
God is right here… and yet He is everywhere…
God is mighty…. and yet, God is tender….
God is just… and yet… God is merciful…
God is Spirit…
and yet, God has taken flesh upon himself in Jesus of Nazareth…
God is one… and yet… God is three.
The word “Trinity” does not appear in the Scriptures.
Nor do the Scriptures set out to explain a doctrine of the Trinity.
The doctrine of the Trinity is “man made”.
It is a means of understanding our God…
who has revealed himself to us as father, as Son and as Holy Spirit.
The Scripture readings I have chosen from the Lectionary for today are…
Genesis Chapter 1 – through to Chapter 2… verse 4.
Psalm 8 – Which was given as a Meditation entitled:
“Slightly Less than Gods” from “Australian Psalms” by Bruce Prewer.
2 Corinthians 13:13 is a blessing from Paul the Apostle…
given to the Church in Corinth…
which I have simply hidden away in the Benediction.
And to these I have added… Revelation 4:1-3…
which I will come to a little later.
But the point is that God has revealed Himself to us in all of the Scriptures.
The Genesis reading is “couched” in the science of a previous era…
which we of the Church today no longer have to defend.
Just as we do not have to espouse or defend the changing science of today.
The opening declaration of Genesis chapter 1… verses 1 and 2…
contains all that is important…”In the beginning… God created”.
And in verse 2 we might note:
“And the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters”.
We believe that everything in time and space has been…
and is still being… created by God.
That is why we call God… Father… Creator… Omnipotent Being.
But God not only revealed Himself as Creator and Father…
but also in the person of Jesus Christ… our Lord.
John in the opening verses of his gospel says:
“In the beginning the Word already existed;
the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
And then comes verse 14:
“And the Word became flesh (a human being)
and lived among us.”
So the early Christian community… first the Disciples… then Paul…
and many other followers… became aware that Jesus
was not only a human being… but also that he was a divine being.
The person who walked… and taught among them…
The one who helped… and healed…
the one who was crucified… and buried…
Rose from death… and ascended to be with the Father.
The Church acknowledges… Jesus as fully human…
and yet… that he is also fully divine.
Hence the words from Matthew chapter 28:
“Go into all the world..
and make them my disciples;
Baptise them in the Name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 28:19
But Jesus also said in John 16:7:
“It is better for you that I go away,
because if I do not go away,
the Helper will not come to you.”
And just before the Ascension, in Luke 24:49
Jesus said: “I myself will send upon you
what my Father has promised.
But you must wait in the city until the power
from above comes down upon you.”
Then in The Book of The Acts of the Apostles…Chapter 2…
which we looked at last Sunday… because it was Pentecost…
We read about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God…
coming in the likeness of wind and fire
upon the Apostles and the early believers…
“In wind and flame… the Spirit came”…
and the Church…
the living breathing body of Jesus in the world today… was born.
“The wind blew… and the church grew”
We do not live in the time
when Jesus once walked this earth in bodily form.
We ourselves live in the age of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit… God’s presence… dwells within you.
The Holy Spirit opens the Word of God in the Scriptures… to you.
When Jesus steps off the pages of Scripture
and challenges you in the midst of your life…
that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit came so that we might come to know Jesus.
But… when we talk of God…
as Father… Son… and Holy Spirit…
Of God… as Creator… Redeemer…
and Indwelling Presence…
We are not talking about three separate and distinct Gods.
We believe in the One True Living God…
who is made known to us…
as Father, Son and Holy Spirit… One God.
This what the early Church Councils were all about.
Finding ways to express our faith in the living God…
who has revealed Himself to us… as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is what all the Creeds of the Church are about…
Establishing meaningful ways of accurately describing…
the God whom we know… and love… and worship.
But… it is a human trait that when we have difficulty in explaining things
we sometimes resort to art or symbols.
in explaining things…
In this way… Christian art has depicted…
or symbolised… the Holy Trinity.
Sometimes art has portrayed the Triune God…
with an all-seeing eye… or a hand… or even a person…
to depict God the Father… Creator.
A Cross… or human being…
might represent Jesus the Saviour…
And a Dove descending… or a flame…
may be used to portray the Holy Spirit.
The simplest of symbols used to portray the Trinity…
is the equilateral triangle…
where the three equal sides make one complete figure…
representing Father, Son and Holy Spirit – One God.
St. Patrick in Ireland, used the leaf of the shamrock…
or we could use a three-leaf clover…
as a symbol of the Trinity….
because it has three parts to it….
representing Father, Son and Holy Spirit
and yet… it is only one leaf…
and therefore… represents the unity of God.
It was John Wesley who said:
“Tell me how it is that in this room there are three candles…
and only one light…
and I will explain to you the Trinity.”
There are many other symbols used to represent the Trinity…
as One God… Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the city of Liverpool in England…
is the “Christ the King” Catholic Cathedral.
The Cathedral is built as a circle…
with a crown of stained glass… in the full spectrum of colour…
to represent the completeness of God in the Trinity.
Here is the reference to Revelation… chapter 4:
The vision of St. John the Divine… who visualised that:
“all round the throne of God there was a rainbow of colour.”
But in the side of the rainbow of colour… in the crown of the Cathedral…
are three shafts of white light…
representing again… the Father… the Son… and the Holy Spirit.
The last symbol of the Trinity…
that I mention… is our own Uniting Church Crest.
The circle… represents God’s handiwork in the creation of the world…
But the blackness… represents that the world was in sin.
The white Cross declares that the Light of Jesus Christ
came into that darkened world
and that He died on the Cross for our sins.
There are two symbols of the Holy Spirit…
The dove… as at the Baptism of Jesus…
And the flame… (which is also the wings of the dove)…
to symbolise the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
All of these words… signs… and symbols…
portray the faith of the Church… in the One God…
revealed to us…
as Father… the Son… and the Holy Spirit.
John Pritchard (a Former Bishop of the Church of England in Oxford)
has commented that a Parishioner…
leaving a Church after a service said:
“Thank you for that sermon Vicar
I never did understand that topic….
I still do not understand it…
but… on a higher level.”
On this Trinity Sunday let us acknowledge
that none of us will ever know all about God.
For He is… a God of revelation…
and He will reveal to each one of us… all that we need to know.
And we only need to know…
that there is One Almighty God…
who has revealed himself to us in three different ways…
as the Father… the Son… and the Holy Spirit.
Hymn 160 (Was Lebet) - Father all-Loving
1. Father all-loving, and ruling in majesty,
judgment is yours,
and condemns all our pride;
stir up our rulers and people to penitence,
sorrow for sins
that for vengeance have cried.
2. Blessed Lord Jesus, born humbly in poverty,
sharing a stable with beasts at your birth,
stir us to work for your justice and charity,
truly to care for the poor upon earth.
3. Come, Holy Spirit, create in us holiness,
lift up our lives to your standard of right;
stir every will
to new ventures of faithfulness,
flood the whole Church
with your glorious light.
4. Holiest Trinity, perfect in unity,
bind in your love every nation and race;
may we adore you for time and eternity,
Father, Redeemer, and Spirit of grace.
Prayer for the Dedication of the Offering
Lord Jesus, through our offerings
we again affirm our love for You,
and our commitment to You
as Lord and Saviour in our lives.
Use the gifts we present,
and the lives we offer,
that others will come to know You
as the one who gives eternal life.
Prayers of the People and the Lord's Prayer
Heavenly Father, as we come to pray, we acknowledge we are in the presence of a loving Father who makes us His children, the Son who died and rose again to give us life eternal, and the Spirit who lives within us as our guide and comforter. We come to give thanks and praise for the activity of the 3 persons in the trinity in our own lives and realise we don’t have life without You, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
We thank You Father for leading us out of the isolation of the Corona virus, and praise You for taking care of us in it. We are so grateful we have not suffered like other nations, and we pray for them at this very difficult time. We thank You for our Government who found ways to maximise help and minimise the impact of the virus. But we acknowledge and lift up to You all who are having difficulty providing basic needs of families. We pray for help for the homeless, the penniless and the jobless, and for all who anticipate a long and stressful future. We pray for safety for children and teachers back in classrooms, businesses opening, and help for those out of work. We pray for healing and wholeness for the sick and suffering and protection for those who care for them. We lift up to You families in distress, and ask for Your help in their situations.
We bring before You Lord the Hawken family, asking for successful treatment for Annette and the abundance of Your blessings for the family. Take care of all their needs at this difficult time we pray. Bring health and strength to Carolyn Gold in her struggle and minister to Lyn Jones and Muriel Gold we ask. For others Father, known only to You, please make them aware of Your love, power and presence.
We are distressed Father at the racial intolerance in the United States and acknowledge there is racism in our own country and in our own hearts. You made us equal, You love us equally, but some are not treated equally. Bring a solution we ask, and help hurting people to protest peacefully. We pray for reconciliation in our own land, in the U.S. and all places where there is inequality.
For our joint nominating committee we pray Lord, asking You to guide them and lead them to the person You have planned to minister to us. Be near to the frail and aged in our church family – take care of those who live alone and feel more isolated. Help us all to appreciate and be good neighbours to, all members of the church family, young and old, to see them as You see them, and to love them as You love us all. We pray for the children in our church, that they will grow in knowledge of You and be Your faithful servants. Father we long that we and all churches will be the light on the hill. We long that people will want to find what the church offers wherever it might be – a safe place, a place of acceptance and love, where the message of Jesus Christ, the good news of the gospel flows out to all people. Help us to anticipate new things ahead – and open us to what You want to do in our own lives. Might we find new opportunities of serving You.
We thank You Lord for Les and his commitment to us for the next 3 months, and pray for his and Lynette’s health and wellness in that time. We too thank You for being able to relax the isolation rules and are grateful for all who have contributed to making church services possible. We thank you for our community workers and ask for patience and encouragement as they wait for the end of isolation. We pray that as we begin to come together again for worship in this place we will remember the great things you have done for us and help us always give You thanks and praise.
In silence now we bring our own prayers for ourselves and others to You.
Let us now pray the Lord’s prayer together,
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us in the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Hymn 142 (Regent Square) - Glory be to God the Father
1. Glory be to God the Father,
glory be to God the Son,
glory be to God the Spirit,
God almighty, Three in One!
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
while eternal ages run.
2. Glory be to him who loved us,
washed us from each spot and stain;
glory be to him who bought us,
made us kings with him to reign;
glory, glory, glory, glory
to the Lamb that once was slain.
3. Glory to the king of angels,
glory to the church’s king,
glory to the king of nations,
heaven and earth, your praises bring;
glory, glory, glory, glory
to the King of Glory bring.
4. ‘Glory, blessing, praise eternal!’
thus the choir of angels sings;
‘Honour, riches, power, dominion!’
thus its praise creation brings;
glory, glory, glory, glory
glory to the King of kings!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all. Amen.