Trinity Sunday 2021

Services posts

Morning Service for Trinity Sunday

HYMN Father of heaven, whose love profound NEH 358- 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.

3 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.

4 Thrice Holy! Father, Spirit, Son,

Mysterious Godhead, Three in One,

Before thy throne we sinners bend:

Grace, pardon, life to us extend.

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PRAYER OF PREPARATION
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


PRAYERS OF PENITENCE 

We recall our Lord’s command to love and in a moment of silence we confess 

the many ways we fail to keep his command:

Most merciful God, 

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.   Amen

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE COLLECT

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.  Amen.

FIRST READING – Isaiah 6.1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

HYMN I bind unto myself today NEH 159- St Patrick

1 I bind unto myself today

the strong name of the Trinity

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in Three.

2 I bind this day to me forever,

by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation,

his baptism in the Jordan river,

his death on cross for my salvation,

his bursting from the spicèd tomb,

his riding up the heavenly way,

his coming at the day of doom,

I bind unto myself today.

3 I bind unto myself today

the virtues of the starlit heaven,

the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea

around the old eternal rocks.

4 I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay,

God’s ear to hearken to my need,

the wisdom of my God to teach,

God’s hand to guide, God’s shield to ward,

the word of God to give me speech,

God’s heavenly host to be my guard.

6 I bind unto myself the name,

the strong name of the Trinity

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in Three,

of whom all nature has creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word.

Praise to the Lord of my salvation;

salvation is of Christ the Lord!

GOSPEL – John 3.1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

SERMON

Today we heard about two religious professionals, powerful and important men both in crisis. But they are both living in troubled times where to be at the heart of power is to be in a dangerous place, to carry dangerous responsibilities, and to feel distinctly insecure. 

Isaiah was about to live through troubled times. King Uzziah died around 742 BC after a long and reasonably successful reign. The death of a strong experienced man was bound to lead to a time of instability, in fact the kingdom of Judah was about to be invaded in 735 by Israel and Syria, and the wholesale destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel was only 20 years off. Troubled times indeed. But things were about to get worse for Isaiah. 

Let’s face it, there is one thing you want to do when stones start to fly is to keep your head down. If that was what he was planning to do then he was about to be very disappointed. There he was sitting in the temple, about his duties perhaps as a priest, and then he sees a vision, a vision so clear he could touch it, or rather be touched by it. 

It was an awesome vision of the very throne-room of God and not unreasonably Isaiah is frightened for his life, for he knows that in the presence of the infinitely holy he has no place. There then follows an act of pure grace, an act of pure forgiveness, of pure acceptance, all guilt, all residue of the sin we cannot leave behind, the constant sins of doing and not doing, the constant awareness that we are less than we could be, much less than we should be, all of that taken away, cleansed by fire, made fit to stand in the presence of God. All this is provided freely, there are no strings attached, only the need of the man standing before his God. And there is no command, no quid pro quo, only a question, God shares a problem – “whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” 

Isaiah simply responds, in the words of the prophets of Israel over the centuries found by God and asked the same question, they replied “here I am, send me!” and life would never be the same again for the Isaiah who learnt that in suffering would come salvation. 

Things for Nicodemus were not quite so dramatic. There was no blinding revelation, no astonishing vision, and no seraphim for him. Here was a man learnéd in his tradition, respected by his community, a man of influence, a man of substance, and a man with much to lose. He had clearly seen something in Jesus, something he thought could only come from God, he believed in the signs, the extraordinary things Jesus did, perhaps if he listened to his words he would have known a little more what Jesus was about. 

He comes to Jesus as a theologian, as a man of religion and Jesus calls him to mysticism. Jesus challenges his entire life of faith. Nicodemus knows every law in the book, understands every ritual performed, but has never found God . If he had he would have understood that the spiritual life exists on a different dimension, has a different timescale to a physical life. We can be mature in years but infantile in spirit, and vice-versa. We can be mature in years and not even begun to comprehend the life of the spirit. Our physical life and a spiritual life are not divorced, the one challenges and stirs the other, but it is possible to so ignore the spirit that we are as if stillborn. And this is the life that needs salvation, that needs breath to be blown into it. This is the life Jesus came to kindle, to inspire. He did not come to judge but to bring new life. 

Two meetings with God, are meetings with grace, meetings that demanded a response, a challenge in a moment of crisis, on each occasion, in each case the next step was out of God’s hands, all God could do was wait for an answer – from the one challenged. 

Isaiah became the foreteller, the profit of hope after hopeless times, the profit of salvation through a suffering servant. Nicodemus became the provider of spices for the same suffering servant. 

Strange readings for Trinity Sunday, and yet here is the majesty of the creator God, here it is the teaching and the fate of the son of God, and here too is our hope for life, the spirit of God.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

HYMN Holy Holy holy, Lord God Almighty NEH 146- Nicaea

1 Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

2 Holy, Holy, Holy! all the saints adore thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

3 Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide thee,
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
Only thou art holy, there is none beside thee
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

4 Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

On this Trinity Sunday we bring our hopes,  fears and concerns to Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Dear Father we first of all lift your worldwide church – we think of all Bishops, priests and missionaries working around the Anglican Communion spreading the power of your Gospel message, very often in difficult and dangerous circumstances.   We pray for this Diocese of Winchester and the strategic work currently being undertaken to maintain its future, and we pray for this Benefice, with its  three parishes all overseen by William and his team.  We pray for William especially at this time when he is shouldering a heavy burden of care on behalf of all of us.

Lord in your Mercy Hear our prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, we bring to mind this wonderful world in which we all have a part to play. We delight in the beauty of your creation, the sunshine, the moonlight and the seasons in their glory. Alongside the magnificence we witness the horrors of war, famine and disease and the injustice that so many of your people endure.  We pray for the people of Syria and the Yemen, Myanmar,  and especially we pray for the peace of Jerusalem that the fragile ceasefire will hold for the benefit of all.  We pray for all the leaders of the nations, our own Queen and government and all those in authority who can use their influence for good. Thank you for the success of the vaccination programme and our optimism that life will return to normal very soon.

Lord in your Mercy Hear our prayer

Lord we pray for and give you thanks for our families and friends, our school children as they enjoy half term, those in  our residential homes, and those without a roof over their head. Keep us mindful of the needs of others and an appreciation that everyone is carrying their own burden of care, and give us your spirit of patience and understanding to help and support them.

Lord in your Mercy Hear our prayer

Lord we lift to you those who are on our hearts because they are sick in body, mind or spirit, praying your healing especially for Lindsay and your comfort to Cressida and her three young children following the sudden death of Will, such a young husband and father. For those known personally to us who really need to know the power of your love today.

Lord in your Mercy Hear our prayer

And we commend to your eternal care, Will Davis – and any others known to us who have recently died, knowing they are safe now, in your arms.

Lord in your Mercy Hear our prayer

So Lord, we venture out again on another week in the power of your Holy Spirit, your precious gift to us, knowing that you walk alongside us every step of the way.

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.

BLESSING
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 NEH 148 – 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.

4 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.

6 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.

8 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.

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