Sermons That Work

Abba, I Adore You, Trinity Sunday (B) – 2003

June 15, 2003

It is Trinity Sunday. So we are meant to be thinking about God. Now it would seem that we should be doing this thinking about God all the time, but there is not a lot of evidence inside or outside the church that many of us really do that. The fact can, and perhaps should, cause us some anxiety, worry, or fear.

So isn’t it comforting that one we call the Son of God urges us not to worry? “Do not be afraid,” he says. “Do not be anxious…even the hairs on your head are counted…you are worth more than a sparrow, and God even watches over them!” (Matt. 10:29-31) So it would appear that even when we are not thinking about God, God is busy thinking about us, even counting the hairs on our heads! Granted, as time goes by it takes God less and less time to do that! The point being, that maybe all we need to know about God is that God loves us enough to be watching over us all the time.

Which is why Ignatian Spirituality teaches us that we come from love, we return to love, and love is all around. If we know that, really know that deep down inside ourselves, such knowledge forms the core of our belovedness: knowing that it is God who loves us first; that it is God who calls us Beloved; that it is God who is well pleased with us. Jesus knows this from the moment of his own baptism. And in our own baptism we are incorporated into His Body, the church.

That this is true is a great and sacred mystery. Nevertheless, from the very beginning of the church, from the very beginning of the writings of the Hebrew people, perhaps from the very beginning of time itself, people have made every effort to know and be able to describe this great and sacred mystery of God’s love for us.

Which is what really brings us to this day we call Trinity Sunday. For Christians, knowing God as Abba or Father is to know God as Jesus knows God. And to know God as the Son is to know God as Peter and Paul and Barnabas, and Mary and Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, all know God. And to know God as Spirit is to know God as all the disciples on Pentecost experienced God, and as people of all faiths have known God throughout all time: God as holy breath, spirit, and wind. God as the wind that comes from we know not where and carries us to we know not where until we return home to the heart of God’s mysterious love.

Abba, Son and Spirit God are all aspects of God’s Being — capital B! This is what our Creed tries to say. Sometimes we experience the one and only God as Abba, sometimes as Son, sometimes as Spirit.

It comes from the language of the theatre. And we might do well to remember that the great theologians who tried to describe our experiences of God in the Creed borrowed their language from the theatre arts: dramatis personae. The language of theology is always, in the end, a borrowed language, not some original set of ideas. Because all language, all life, and all the created universe, reflect different and various aspects of God’s Being and God’s Love. So just as one actor can wear three masks and thus be listed as three personae in the playbill, so it is with God.

It can be said with tremendous certainty that God cannot be limited to these three personae represented by these three masks, but these are the three that we know, as Christians, are reliable in every dimension of our lives. Thus we say, “We believe….” These are three aspects of God’s Being that we all believe. We are making a community statement more than a personal statement. We are describing, in summary form, the One in whom Christians put their trust.

Knowing Abba, Son, and Spirit we know we need not be afraid. It is in knowing the Love of Abba, Son, and Spirit that we can begin to think about God at all. And by changing one letter of the word think, all our thinking inevitably leads us to thank God as well: to thank God for life as God’s own beloved. Such thankfulness, or eucharistia, also teaches us not to be afraid.

All our life can then become one great thanksgiving and expression of our Love for God, Abba, Son, and Spirit. And so our lives sing over and over again:

Abba I adore you/Lay my life before you/How I love you
Jesus I adore you/Lay my life before you/How I love you
Spirit I adore you/Lay my life before you/How I love you

God’s Love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:5


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Christopher Sikkema


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