A Service for Trinity Sunday

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HYMN - Father of heaven, whose love profound - Rievaulx

1 Father of heaven, whose love profound
A ransom for our souls hath found,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
To us thy pardoning love extend.

2 Eternal Spirit, by whose breath
The soul is raised from sin and death,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
To us thy quickening power extend.

3 Thrice Holy! Father, Spirit, Son,
Mysterious Godhead, Three in One,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
Grace, pardon, life to us extend.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen

God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.
Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all sander and malice,
and confess our sins to God our redeemer.   cf. Ephesians 4.30,32

You made us to be one family,
yet we have divided humanity.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You were born a Jew to reconcile all peoples,
yet we have brought disharmony amongst the races.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

You rejoice in our differences,
yet we make them a cause of enmity.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

God, the Father of mercies, 
has reconciled the world to himself
through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ,
not counting our trespasses against us,
but sending his Holy Spirit 
to shed abroad his love among us.
By the ministry of reconciliation 
entrusted by Christ to his Church,
receive his pardon and peace
to stand before him in his strength alone,
this day and evermore.  Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God,

you have given us your 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:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

FIRST READING - Isaiah 40.12-17, 27-31

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
or as his counsellor has instructed him?
Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as dust on the scales;
see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,
nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him;
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

HYMN I bind unto myself today - St Patrick

GOSPEL - Matthew 28.16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

E M Forster once wrote “only connect”. This Sunday, Trinity Sunday, is a day to make connections. Christians often regard the doctrine of the Trinity with some embarrassment, all that Greek and all that tiresome theology; it is so much easier to think in simpler terms of just God, or just Jesus.  But that would fail to recognise the unique contribution Christianity has made to the science of God - the understanding that God is not remote, above and beyond all - so far transcendent that he merely sits in judgement, so far apart from us that he can do us no earthly good.  

Belief in the God of three persons - yet sharing one essential substance - is belief in a God who is present both as over arching creator and originator of all things, and as one who is present, united with us in the life and the death and the resurrection of Jesus, and who continues to be present as Holy Spirit to ignite and sustain the love of God in our hearts. 

When Moses stood before the burning bush and was told to go back to his people he dared to ask God who should he say sent him.  The reply he was given is impossible to translate.  One possible translation is that God told Moses to say “say ‘I will be there as I will be there’ sent you.”  God wanted the Israelites to know that the essential fact they should understand about him was that he would be with them.  It is indeed a recurrent theme in the story of the exodus, God continually saying to his people that he will be there, and they continually refusing to believe him, and going their own way - with predictable consequences.

And if this is true of the God of Moses, it is made even clearer of the God we meet in Jesus.  In Jesus God became uniquely united with his creation - he became, in a new way, part of its story.  And that wasn’t lost when Jesus was no longer to be seen.

All the gospel writers tell us Jesus assured his disciples that he would be with them.  We heard it again this morning, “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of time.”

The name we give to this abiding presence is the Holy Spirit -  God continuing to be there, continuing to be available to the world, and present to all who will open their hearts and lives to his influence, and his grace. 

Now practising the presence of God is not easy, and does not necessarily come naturally - like much that is worthwhile in life it comes from our decision, our resolve.  God does not force himself on us.  

Practising the presence of God, finding him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is what we are about every Sunday; usually in our church, our familiar place to seek the living presence of God, the God who always will be there. We find him in the company of others, we find him in our solitary moments. We might even find him through the extraordinary ministry of YouTube and Zoom. But the key is that we find him when we look for him, wherever we look for him. By acknowledging he is with us now we begin to acknowledge that he is with us always and everywhere.  We focus on this moment and this place and bring our world to it.  And we take what we have experienced back into the worlds we inhabit, to begin to transform them. 

And if we manage to fulfil just a part of this calling, if we manage, in some small way to help make the God who comes to us as Father and as Son and as Holy Spirit present to those about us, then we shall be as those who… ‘hope in the Lord, who will renew their strength, and soar like eagles.’  

The full quotation from EM Forster is “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.” On Trinity Sunday when we worship a trinity in unity then we should take those words to heart - ‘Live in fragments no longer’.  I will let you make your own connections to current affairs.

ANTHEM    Alta Trinità beata - 15th C Italian motet

Alta Trinità beata,
da noi sempre adorata,
Trinità gloriosa
unità maravigliosa,
Tu sei manna saporosa
e tutta desiderosa.

High and blessed Trinity,
By us always adored.
Glorious Trinity,
Marvelous unity,
You are savory manna
and all that we can desire.


We proclaim the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ:

We believe and declare that our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, is both divine and human.

God, of the being of the Father,
the only Son from before time began;
human from the being of his mother, born in the world.

Fully God and fully human;

human in both mind and body.

As God he is equal to the Father,
as human he is less than the Father.

Although he is both divine and human
he is not two beings but one Christ.

One, not by turning God into flesh,
but by taking humanity into God.

Truly one, not by mixing humanity with Godhead,
but by being one person.

For as mind and body form one human being
so the one Christ is both divine and human.

The Word became flesh and lived among us;
we have seen his glory,
the glory of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
                                           from the Athanasian Creed

Let us pray.
In your loving kindness, O God
Have mercy and hear our prayer.
We pray for our world, a world troubled by sickness, injustice and natural disasters.
Lord, shine your light on the path of world leaders. Stand alongside them  as they grapple with the pace of change, and shifting social landscapes. Guide them in the ways of justice and peace. We pay for all who care for the sick and distressed worldwide and for all families with missing children.

Lord in your mercy……hear our prayer.

We pray for your church, Lord, you come to meet us, long before we search for you. May we show forth your love in our lives and inspire others to do the same. May we be open in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We pray for Justin, our Archbishop, Tim, our Bishop, and all clergy and laity who minister in your church. We pray for William our Rector and his team whose efforts enable us to share worship at home.

Lord in your mercy………hear our prayer.

We pray for our local community, for all who live and work here. Lord, help and guide us as we emerge from lockdown, businesses begin to reopen and some children are able to return to school. But we remember that some people are still very much confined to their homes. We give thanks for the spirit of generosity and care which is so supportive.

Lord in your mercy……hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for all who are sick or in need of support, at home, in residential care, hospitals and hospices. Lord be with all carers and those whom they care for during these challenging times. We give thanks for all that they do.

Lord in your mercy…..hear our prayer.

Lord, with love and thanksgiving we commend to you all who have died. We pray for those who grieve, sometimes for those they could not be with as their lives drew to a close.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son , our saviour, Jesus Christ.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, 
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, 

hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, 

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive 

those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation 

but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, 

and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
The Lord God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
the holy and undivided Trinity,
guard you, save you,
and bring you to that heavenly city,
where he lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen

HYMN The God of Abraham praise - Leoni

1 The God of Abraham praise
Who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting days,
And God of love:
To him uplift your voice,
At whose supreme command
From earth we rise and seek the joys
At his right hand.

2 There dwells the Lord our King,
The Lord our Righteousness,
Triumphant o'er the world and sin,
The Prince of Peace:
On Sion's sacred height
His kingdom he maintains,
And glorious with his saints in light
For ever reigns.

3 Before the great Three-One
They all exulting stand,
And tell the wonders he has done
Throughout the land:
The listening spheres attend,
And swell the growing fame,
And sing in songs which never end
The wondrous name.

4 The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high:
'Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost'
They ever cry:
Hail, Abraham's God and mine!
(I join the heavenly lays)
All might and majesty are thine,
And endless praise.


Holy Holy Holy - Hymn to the Trinity - Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky