June 19, 2011

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday in the church year that calls us to ponder a teaching of the church rather than a teaching of Jesus. The scripture readings, of course, are carefully chosen to reflect the Three-in-One doctrine: God as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. And the readings provide biblical backup for a non-scriptural word: Trinity. Although this mystery of God revealed in three ways is a core belief of Christianity, we struggle to explain it. Monotheistic Christians do back flips explaining why such a belief doesn’t make us polytheists. It sure sounds like we worship three Gods, while we claim that God is One. A reflection on water has often been used to provide insight into this baffling doctrine. At different temperatures, water exists as a gas, as a liquid, or as a solid. Water is one substance, but it has three very different forms. Is that helpful for wrapping our heads around our one God – Father, Son, and Spirit? Perhaps. A Lutheran pastor, Mary Anderson, in a reflection on the Trinity, describes a memorable experience of the Three-in-One. She was watching her grandmother sleep during her afternoon nap. As she contemplated the old woman’s existence, she thought wisely, “That’s Grandmamma, Mamma, and Odelle.” Mary’s grandmother smiled in her sleep as Mary called her by the names used for her by her grandchildren, her daughter, and her husband. Three names, three relationships – and yet … Read more »

June 15, 2014

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a Psalm 8 Matthew 28:16-20 “Entrusted to Us” As many of you know, I spent the last two weeks in Toronto taking a course as part of my doctoral program. The topic of the course was “Theology of Ministry,” and its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles in Christian ministry. I titled my preliminary draft paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.” My theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of Christ. The members of the church – the Body of Christ – all receive different gifts from the Holy Spirit, and are called and equipped to serve God in a variety of ways. Some are called to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments, to Ruling Eldership, or to Diaconal Ministry, and others are called to use their gifts and serve as lay people in a whole host of different ways – through music, teaching, evangelism, hospitality, generosity, healing, and many other ministries of leadership and service. Whenever Christians minister to one another or to the wider world we do so in the name of Christ, and our ministry is a part of Christ’s ministry. Towards the end of my course, we were beginning the morning with prayer and singing, and the scripture that morning was the one … Read more »