Vaya Con Dios 5-22-16

In this sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday, I explore Romans 5:1-5. God has chosen to be revealed to the world in many different ways, but all because of the love that God has for us and the rest of creation.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ever since last week, which of course was the day of Pentecost, I’ve been thinking about how the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples, and at least in that moment, gives them the ability to speak in different languages…I’ve been thinking about it, because I think that particular Spirit-given gift would be a really great one to receive…but if my own linguistic abilities are any indication…the Spirit passed me with that particular gift.

Because I am pretty much the poster boy for being mono-linguistic…aka, I know one language. Anything beyond my knowledge of the English language is minimal at best.  I can insult someone in German, which I learned from an exchange student…and I know just enough Spanish to survive…and barely at that…What little I know is all based on the same phrase…so see if you recognize any of these.
Donde esta es el banjo….Where is the bathroom? How about this one…Donde esta es agua…Yep, where is water? Then there’s this one that would have possibly been helpful in my days of being single…Donde esta es la senioritas…yep, where are the girls?  And finally, my personal favorite. Donde esta es el cervesas?  Some of you recognize that one…and if you don’t know, ask the people laughing now…they’ll tip you off. (pause)

Now beyond that, there is one more phrase in Spanish that I do know and I think its pretty cool. Vaya con dios…Now this phrase serves as a farewell…and actually means “go with God.” It’s a way for individuals who are parting from one another to offer a brief blessing in their departure…as you go, may God be with you…that’s really the basic gist of this phrase.
I bring it up because today it seems sorta fitting. Today is Holy Trinity Sunday…which always falls the first Sunday after Pentecost…Today serves as a time when we focus on the Trinity…one God in three persons…and its fitting to do so now because as we move through the church year, we have now reached the point where all three members of the trinity have really been on display. We’ve encountered the God of creation…we’ve been through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our Pascal Lamb…and now following Pentecost, we celebrated the arrival of the Holy Spirit which empowers us as the church…as the body of Christ here on Earth until such time as Jesus returns. (pause)
This is where we find ourselves today…kicking off the long season of Pentecost as we continue to recall and remember the ongoing growth of the church throughout the centuries which ultimately will culminate in the return of Christ in the last days…and over the course of our history, we have come to an understanding of the Trinity…or the Triune God…this notion of One God in Three persons…one God who has been revealed to humanity in three specific ways.

But admittedly, as I’ve said before…the notion of the trinity is really hard to wrap our heads around. It tends to be one of those teachings here in the church that we accept to be true but can’t really put into words…and yet, year after year, in countless settings, pastors stand in pulpits in front of their congregations, and many attempt to offer insight and descriptions to shed some light on the truth of the trinity.

And most of them…in fact probably all them…fail. Because the trinity is not something that we can describe…its not something that we can explain…it is only evidence of the truth that we have a God who has chosen different ways to be revealed to us.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a close look at the three stain glassed windows that are out in the narthex…they were placed there during the last building expansion but used to be at the back end of this sanctuary…but if you think about it, take a look when you walk out today…because at the center of each window is an image that represents one of the trinity…there’s the all seeing eye that depicts our all seeing God overlooking all of creation…and then there’s the image of a lamb representing Christ who is the ultimate Passover sacrifice…and finally the image of the dove representing the Spirit descending at Jesus’ baptism. (pause)

These are simply 3 images…and yet they remind us of the truth that we have a God who WILL be revealed to us…and there is no limit and nothing that hinders God from being revealed…Have you ever noticed how different individuals share their vastly different ways of having experienced the presence of God? Each one is vastly different than the one that came before, but if they have anything in common, it’s the notion that the presence of God is revealed to the person in some way that is personal and meaningful to them…a way that reminds them that God is with them in that moment, and every moment…that regardless of what goes on they go with God…they vaya con dios. (pause)

Now perhaps this raises the question of why? Why does God do this? Or what is God’s motivation for being revealed to us? And if we refer back to Paul’s words from Romans that we heard earlier, we see that in all things, God works to reveal his divine love for us…because we are a part of his creation…God made it…and God takes delight in it…joy, love for all that he has made…including us…but since the powers of sin and death have entered this world, creating a rift that our Good God cannot tolerate…God continued to reveal his love for us…his desire to be with us…by taking on flesh and dwelling among us as one of us…and in the end, through the death and resurrection of Christ…our price is paid…and whatever sense of justice needed to be filled…we hear that we are justified through our faith in Christ…and we have peace with our Creator…and what is faith? Well, its simply believing that God will do what God promises…and we receive the promise that God claims us as his own, drawing us to himself through the power of the Holy Spirit…and why? For the exact same reason…simply because he loves us. Not because of anything that we do, or say or think…but simply because of who we are…his beloved creation.

The Trinity exists in such a way that we can begins to see that we have a God who exists to be in relationship…and already was before our reality became reality…and likewise, as we are created in the image of God, we also exist to be in relationship with one another and with the one that created us in the first place….and nothing, not even our foul ups are going to hinder God from that relationship. (pause)

Perhaps you’ve heard of the idea of an elevator pitch…the notion that if you had the amount of time it takes to go a few floors in an elevator, what would you say to another individual to peak their interest…and I’ve shared it before…my elevator pitch for the gospel…God made it, we messed it up, Christ redeemed it, and through the Spirit we are invited to join with God in the work of reconciliation.

What a blessing to be invited into this work…and even more so to realize that God intends that we join in this work in the midst of our day to day lives…we don’t need special training…we don’t need to go around the world…we simply recognize that we are empowered to share our story of what God has done…of what we have seen and heard.

But all that being said…we also know that this life as believers…this life that we live, having already been justified in the eyes of God through Jesus Christ…this life is not easy. We are not excused from suffering, or hardships, or troubles…and in fact if the Apostle Paul is to be believed…our life as believers tends to ramp up the troubles that we experience.

But the blessing of all of this…of knowing that our Triune God has many ways to reveal to us the simple fact that we are not alone…then we realize that there is something that we can cling to in the midst of these hardships…and in the long run…as difficult as it may be…God can and does use the hardships of our past to work in the future.

No one knows better than you what hardships lie in your life…in your existence…but rest assured that you are not alone in it…and God will find a way to reveal himself to you…may our eyes be opened to recognize His presence in whatever way we need to…whether its in the peaceful feeling of the sun shining on our face…or the joy in hearing just the right song and just the right time…or the presence of a caring person who is willing to sit there in silence with you in the midst of your pain…not trying to take it away…but just to sit there with you while it is experienced…God is present in the pain.

And so may you know today that no matter where you go when you walk outside of this room today, you will go with God…because God is already with you, whether you are looking for him or not…Vaya con dios my friends…Amen.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Teresa on May 23, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Donde esta es el cervesas?
    So what does it mean ? The last 3 sermons have been great. Keep up the good work. Have a great day & enjoy the rain!! LOL


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