This morning we got out times muddled up. We are staying home on Sundays because I take enough risks at work with the COVID. Kea worries. Son one, who has been looking after his grandfather through this season, tells me that it’s probably no longer floating around NZ — but we agreed this has just been tested by the BLM protests that smashed eight weeks of social distancing to smithereens.
Our church is meeting by hundreds with the first service at 09:30, but the service is online at 09:00. So I started the morning by switching on to what I thought was the beginning of the service to find the sermon in full flight, looking at Paul’s visit to the Ephesians, where the public act of exorcism caused a riot.
As could this in the Christian calendar. For it is Trinity Sunday, where we celebrate that God ins one, but three persons. This offends all Muslims and Jews, who say God is one: it offends all woke ant atheists, who say there is no God, and all Hindus, who say there are many Gods, and you are one.
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.
Nicene Creed, Christian Reformed Church
I said a couple of days ago that if a priest or politician claims to be speaking the word of God, asking him to affirm a sentence from the creed will help you discern the wolves from the flock.
Not that one will be without doubt. Here we old Anglican divines have us pray for understanding, for the mystery of the Trinity should make your head hurt. We have difficulty describing our mind: we cannot describe the mind of God.
Almighty and everlasting God,
who hast given unto us thy servants grace
by the confession of a true faith
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity,
and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity;
We beseech thee,
that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith,
and evermore defend us from all adversities,
who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
Church of Ireland, Collect 1, Trinity Sunday
We were created. We were designed. There have been many who mock the first chapters of Genesis, saying that it could not be one day, or that there could not have been something from nothing. We are making linear projections from what we can see, though we know the nature of growth curves and population dynamics — and that they are not linear.
We were created. We were given a place. The animals know this, and are content. So should we be: there are things that are beyond our understanding, for we were created by God: we did not create him.
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
English Standard Version
(I forgot, this offends the feminists, because it correctly uses the masculine as the collective noun. It offends the transgender activists, because there are only two sexes. Perhaps that is why our rulers still regulate the church but give progressive protestors a pass).
The command to be fruitful is itself offensive, for the elite of this time preach instead retraction, retreat, apology and sterility, for the sake of an imagined earth where all was good that was gone with the fall of Adam. Again, we canot obtain it.
Because we cannot obtain it God became man, as Christ, and redeemed us. Because we are not wise enough to keep the church without error he sent his Spirit to Guide us and purify his church. He is still working at this time, in this season of COVID. He has taken some of our elders to him. to spare them the conflict now starting.
And his work is completed: for the end has been written, but not the hour. The delay is a mercy for a fallen humanity, so that all may repent and turn to him. For this we praise him, though the times are hard. There is better to come.