Trinity Sunday

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Online Devotion

Sunday June 7th 2020

Trinity Sunday

Can you fathom the mystery of God,
or attain to the limits of the Almighty?
Job 11:7

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the Gospel according to St. Matthew in the 28th chapter.
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

Hymn

We have a gospel to proclaim,
good news for all throughout the earth;
the gospel of a Saviour’s name:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem
not in a royal house or hall
but in a stable dark and dim,
the Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of his death at Calvary,
hated by those he came to save,
in lonely suffering on the Cross;
for all he loved his life he gave.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn:
empty the tomb, for he was free.
He broke the power of death and hell
that we might share his victory.

Tell of his reign at God’s right hand,
by all creation glorified.
He sends his Spirit on his Church
to live for him, the Lamb who died.

Now we rejoice to name him King:
Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
This gospel-message we proclaim:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

Text: Edward Joseph Burns b.1938

Tune: Walton (Fulda) CH4 363
Sacred Melodies 1815 William Gardiner 1770-1853

Reflection

As someone who lived in the United States for seventeen years, and whose wife and daughter are American, it has been agonizing to witness the fallout from the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis nearly two weeks ago. The tragic sin of the oppression of people of colour, so entwined in that nation’s history, continues to blight the lives of a countless number.

Our hopes for the future were well formed in the statement this week from the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair:
“We plead for people of reason and goodwill from across every community to come to the fore to bring an end to the present cycle of violence but just as importantly to begin the mammoth task of addressing the underlying divisions that continue to be a scar through too many of our nations and communities.”

May it be so.

A story for Trinity Sunday:
A poet is sitting on his porch one evening bent over a vessel of water. His neighbor walks by and hails him, saying, “Can I ask, what are you doing?”
The man replies, “I am contemplating the reflection of the moon in a bowl of water.”
Now the neighbor is a bit puzzled by this and says, “Why are you doing that? Unless you’ve got a broken neck, why don’t you just turn around and look directly at the real thing?”
The collector of this story, Anthony De Mello offers a commentary. He writes, “Words are inadequate reflections of reality.”

A good warning on this day when we are given the chance to contemplate and to reflect on what we might call a difficult or even an abstract concept, which yet is one of our basic articles of faith, one of the foundational ways in which we understand God. That is why when we baptise children or adults we do so in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commands in the gospel; the Creator, the Redeemer, the Comforter. God’s nature expressed somehow in three ways.

Maybe God becomes apparent to people in three distinctly different ways, as a creator or parent, as a sustaining spirit, and as the one who shares our humanity, Jesus Christ. Not because God is three separate entities, but because we humans need at different times and for different reasons to experience God in these distinct ways. Considered in this way the concept of the Trinity becomes not some complex paradox about the nature of God, but a form of action, a demonstration of divine love lived out in community.

So let us continue faithfully to contemplate the moon in a bowl of water, knowing that in the end, perhaps all we can do is say with the psalmist, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name, how glorious throughout the earth,” and all the time feeling and knowing the encompassing grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Anthem

Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Text: Psalm 100
Music: Felix Mendelssohn 1809-1847

Prayer

Our prayer includes excerpts from the prayer written to be said all over Scotland this evening at 7 p.m.

Let us pray.

God whose love endures,
May we hear the words of your Son
That echo down the ages:
I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is generous,
You gift to us your Holy Spirit,
The very giver of Life.
Renew our lives and the life of the community in which we share.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is steadfast,
You know us as we are for you have made us.
In your compassion, be with all who struggle and grieve at this time.
Remember them and hold them safe in your keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is from everlasting to everlasting,
Give strength to the weary and power to the weak,
That we might renew our strength
And soar on wings like eagles.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God, whose love is for all made in your image,
bless and protect the people of the United States,
and grant that they would know a land
free of injustice and oppression.
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father,
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil;
for thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory
for ever and ever, Amen.

The Benediction
Be of good courage, render no-one evil for evil,
but hold fast to the good; honour all of God’s people,
and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the Communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you
and all whom you love
this day and for ever.

(Amen)

Organ Voluntary
Eugène Gigout Grand Choeur Dialogué

CCL Licence No 980930
Streaming Licence 57837

The service was conducted by Rev Calum I MacLeod
The lesson was read by Amanda Forsyth

The hymn and anthem were recorded by members of the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, with Michael Harris, organ, remotely in lockdown, April and May 2020.