May 31, 2015 – Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday May 31,2015 (Ps 29, Romans 8:12-17) Acts 2:14a, 22-41 ************************************************************* Things happen in threes. The church calendar serves up three big Sundays in a row at this time of year. First Ascension, with Jesus rising into the heavens. Then Pentecost, last week, with the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven. Now today we’re in Trinity Sunday, hardest of the three to explain… Since the Trinity is God, not an event. So… Preparing for Trinity Sunday, I’ve been trying to envision God in triplicate – trying to see beyond a stick-figure-two-dimensional-God – to God who comes in holy splendor as Creator of the universe – and – the down-with-us-in-the-dust-God who takes on human flesh and lives in our neighborhood – and – the wondrously mysterious God who comes to us as Holy Breath, Wind, Fire, Advocate, Comforter… and all the words finally give up…as we’re simultaneously celebrating God the Trinity… and… Back on the Day of Pentecost where we left off last week… The apostle Peter’s preaching, and the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit are blowing and burning, and everyone’s catching fire with the Spirit. Peter indicts the gathered crowd for complicity in the murder of Jesus, and the whole crowd actually pleads guilty to the charges, asking together-as-if-with-one-voice, “what should we do?” Peter says “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Repent means literally turning. And repentance rolls out together with release from sins and receiving the gift of the Spirit, “For the promise (of the Spirit) is for you – for your children – and for all…”) Last week we heard Peter explaining to the gathered crowd that the sound of disciples speaking in many languages all at once was due to the coming of the Holy Spirit – a happening Peter explains first with a quote from the prophet Joel, who foretold God’s outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh, with visions and dreams and sons and daughters prophesying….and – Last week some of us were speaking, not in the language of first century Parthians, Medes, Elamites and Mesopotamians – but in French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Korean, Tagalog – all spoken simultaneously in our attempt to replicate the sounds of Pentecost. (This probably worked at least somewhat, as I could see people looking amazed…Wondering what was in the coffee that morning…) Now Peter’s preaching repentance – laying blame for Jesus’ death on those assembled. Yet at the same time inviting one and all to repent – turn to God – be baptized – receive the Holy Spirit. Naming the need of repentance, and inviting all to receive Jesus, at the same time… And wonder of wonders… All who welcome the message are baptized… Three thousand-some are added to the number of the church (which had numbered just 120 a few days earlier). The message is heard thanks to the Holy Spirit. The message is heard also because Peter can preach repentance from experience. Peter knows he has denied he even knew Jesus, three times in one night, just seven weeks ago. He remembers Jesus reminding him of his denial after his resurrection, asking three times, “Peter...

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