The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
The Apostle Paul ends his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church with these words, which we hear almost every Sunday in worship; but do we ever stop and consider what they really mean for us?
Every time we celebrate the wonderful joy of Baptism, we do so using beautiful words we also repeat often in worship—blessing and baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…but how often do we really pause to deeply reflect on how One God showing up in three different ways has an impact at all in our daily existence?
Today, I would like to do something a little different, which is to invite you to reflect on some of your own experiences. You can jot a few notes on your bulletin insert as we move along.
We will begin by remembering a time when you had a meaningful experience in nature—it could have been on vacation or at a camp or in your own backyard. Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see? How did you feel—peace, awe, humility, wonder—? Once you have captured that moment, pick any circle on your insert and jot down a few words about the experience and how you felt. Dale is going to play some background music for a minute to give you time to ponder (Morning has Broken)
Now I encourage you to think about a time when you were down and out, struggling in some way, needing help, and someone showed up for you. It could have been soup when you were sick, words of support that came at just the right time, or even financial help. What did you need and who showed up to help bring you through to a better day? Pick another circle and jot down a few notes, and how you felt receiving what you needed—maybe you felt seen, heard, loved, or a sense of relief. (Background music, What A Friend we Have in Jesus).
Before we do our last circle, I want to say that if you have a circle where you cannot remember an experience right now, that’s ok—one might occur to you later. It just means you did not use this language to describe your experience. This are designed for you to continue to reflect on how when throughout the day we notice these moments.
In the last circle, I invite you to think about time when you experienced an Aha moment—a time of insight, clarity, when the pieces suddenly all fit together. It could have been a new idea, an inspiration or relationship giving you a surge of energy, new life, hobby, or a new love. What was happening in one of these inspired moments and how did you feel?—perhaps passionate, excited, renewed. (Background music, Spirit of the Living God).
It is easy to forget that all of us every day are experiencing God—we just have not been taught to name our daily experiences as sacred. In the circle with your experience of nature, write Creator—God the Creator is in all your experiences of nature—the creation itself is God’s first Incarnation. One of my spiritual mentors in St. Louis, Darlene, who is now in the company of saints, used to say to me, God is creating you moment by moment, breath by breath. Every breath is God with you, choosing to recreate you momently, as God is doing in all things.
In the circle where someone showed up when you need help, support, or encouragement—write Jesus who is God with skin on. God is always showing up for us in the hands, the feet, and the faces of other people.
That leaves the third circle of inspiration, energy, clarity, imagination, where you can write, Holy Spirit. Jesus promises in Matthew that he is with us always to the end of age—he does this through the Spirit living inside each of us and binding us together in community.
It is not just in these bigger moments, which are easier to identity, but God is with us in these same ways in every moment— watching the cardinal outside our window, bedtime stories, a conversation with a friend, deciding to let it go after a disagreement.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ through other people, the love of God which surrounds us in Creation, the Communion of the Holy Spirit who is in constant communion within our own heart and soul and binds us together as a community is with you all, now and always. God as three persons is not so much a doctrine as it is our human experience.
Today, dedicate our new playground—
• it is a gift of being blessed by God in creation
• a gift of playing with friends and family who are Jesus to us, and we are Jesus to them
• and it is a gift where the Holy Spirit moves to build community, energy, imagination, and joy in life together.
I invite you, not just this week, but this summer, as schedules open up, and trips are planned, to pay closer attention to these God moments—
• How do you experience the Creator in your backyard, in your garden,walking your dog in the neighborhood, on your vacation?
• How do you see Jesus in your family members, the people you meet on your trips, and in your friends, children, or grandchildren?
• When do you notice inspiration, energy, peace, community, and newness of life?
Then share what you notice—with each other, with your family members or spiritual friends, so we can also see and experience God how you do. In fact you can try it today at our potluck and share with each other one moment on your insert if want to—I personally would love to hear about every single circle you have!
Sharing our faith stories builds everybody’s faith that our Trinitarian God is alive and active everywhere, in all of our lives. And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.