High feast of the Holy Trinity

Ready for church on this high holiday of the Holy Trinity. The table is set, the lights aglow and our baptismal font is as new. We´re full of great expectations on this wonderful feast day, because the one God, who made heaven and earth – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who redeemed us and continues to bless and keep us, is amongst us, speaks to us, feeds us, listens to us, comforts, forgives, heals and leads us in all truth. Yes, He does great things to us – just as He did before, He will do again, because He is the one, who is, was and will be – now and always. Loving us and caring for us, granting us His ongoing favor and goodwill. He showers all His grace, love and mercy on us. Blessing us way beyond our knowing and boldest imagination. So, yes, we do have good reason to rejoice and sing His praises – now and always.

Today’s sermon on Numbers 6:22-27 is a prime example of how great our good God and Lord is to us in His divine service (Gottesdienst). He does these His very own miracles and wonders in His holy Church – through His holy Word and Sacraments – yes, through the holy office of the ministry. And the congregation is called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified in the process. He – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – does these holy things and matters.  And we are thus effectively christened, saved, justified, excused and made God´s very own through these effective means.

My sermon on Nm.6,22-27 for this Holiday of the Holy Trinity

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is the way you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

The Lord bless you and protect you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them

Numbers 6:22-27

Reading this we as Christians don´t only contemplate some Wikipedia article on how blessings functioned in the past and what various groups and experts make of this phenomenon – something like going through the profound study of Claus Westermann: “Blessing in the Bible and the Life of the Church” (1987). Nor do we just hope for some positive outcome like that pastor, who would not bless the congregation, but instead, would week for week just do some wishful thinking: “May God bless You…” No, God actually does this. It´s not some subjunctive mood, but rather God´s good and gracious will, which happens come hell or high water. The divine service is much more than just more or less successful entertainment too. It´s value does not stem from the amount of likes or hits, but rather from God´s holy presence. Therefore, it´s also much more than just a good and maybe even effective lecture – profound and rhetorically sound. In the divine service God himself deals with us – effectively, really and – that´s crucial – lovingly in His Son IX. That´s much more than a hermeneutical problem or communicative exercise. It´s meeting up with God himself – personal and close. It doesn´t get more awesome than that. Heaven is wide open – and God himself is in our midst. Right there in the divine Liturgy. We can´t ask for more. It´s heaven on earth. Well, that´s why, we´ve got more than just some good lines, quips and even more than just passing fellowship and friendships to hope and look forward to, because our good God actually does effectively bless us through His performative words – now and for good and always. When He speaks, it happens. When He says something, it´s true and real. That´s His creative power. That´s His almighty purpose and good will in action – from the start until the very end. That´s what today´s gospel from John 3,1-15 underlines, when it points to the actions of the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism. God himself is in action. He´s the doer in this process – much more and far beyond anything the recipient of His blessings could ever match. That´s why our faith is a might thing. Not because we´re so great, but because the one on which we focus – God himself – is almighty and does great things to us. He´s the one, who moves mountains. He´s the one, who creates and gives life. He´s the one, from whom all blessings flow!

We´re expecting great things – and rightly so, because like prophet Isaiah we´re in the very presence of the living Lord (Isaiah 6:1-13). That´s why, we kneel down at the beginning of the service and confess our sins – asking God for forgiveness and permission to stand in His holy audience: Kyrie eleison + Christe eleison + Kyrie eleison +  He talks to us in His Holy Word – and we respond in psalms, hymns, Christian songs, prayers and confessions. He feeds us. He hears us. He blesses us richly.

Example: Today we´ve got a young couple in our midst, which is planning to get married soon. Well, there we can see it too. We believe, that God himself joins this willing couple – who express their desire to get married before God and the congregation – as man and wife, so that whatever God has joined together, man should not pull asunder. These are not just empty words, but rather effective ones, which do, what they say.  

That´s why today´s Trinity Sunday has us rejoice and sing with great joy and thankfulness, because our God has done great things to us (cf. Magnificat). We will recap this in the “Te Deum”, just as in the Athanasian Creed after we have heard the holy apostle St. Paul´s jubilant exultation:

 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has first given to God,
that God needs to repay him?

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

Here is an outline of <a href="http://&lt;!– wp:file {"id":20312,"href":"https://wilhelmweber.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/20200607-trinitatis-nm622-24-als.pdf&quot;} –> <div class="wp-block-file"><a href="https://wilhelmweber.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/20200607-trinitatis-nm622-24-als.pdf">20200607-trinitatis-nm622-24-als</a><a href="https://wilhelmweber.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/20200607-trinitatis-nm622-24-als.pdf&quot; class="wp-block-file__button" download>Download</a></div> our German service. So, please join me in singing His praises – praising the one and only God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

1 Father most holy, merciful, and tender;
Jesus our Savior, with the Father reigning;
Spirit of mercy, Advocate, Defender,
Light never waning;

2 Trinity blessed, Unity unshaken;
Deity perfect, giving and forgiving;
Light of the angels, Life of the forsaken,
Hope of all living;

3 Maker of all things, all Thy creatures praise Thee;
lo, all things serve Thee, through Thy whole creation:
hear us, Almighty, hear us as we raise Thee,
heart’s adoration.

4 To the almighty triune God be glory:
highest and greatest, help Thou our endeavor;
we, too, would praise Thee, giving honor worthy,
now and forever.

Hymns to the Living God #2

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This entry was posted in Lutheran Order of service, Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Sunday, Trinity (The church season after Pentecost), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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