Welcome, Cheviot churches. I trust everyone is keeping well. We worship together on this Trinity Sunday
Call to Worship
Let us worship God, who spoke in the beginning
and created something out of nothing.
Let us worship God who took on the clothing of humanity
to set those who were oppressed free.
Let us worship God whose Spirit rests continually upon us,
calling us to bright new beginnings
Let us worship the Triune God.
Hymn 111 – Holy, holy, holy
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
God of Mystery and Mercy,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we meet you in wonder as the Blessed Trinity.
You are the Ancient of Days, eternal and unchanging;
yet you are the Source of each new day, renewing all things.
In Christ, you encounter us in whatever each day brings with a heart that beats in love for us.
Through the Spirit, you breathe life into what is growing older, energizing us to serve you in good times and hard times.
In the mystery of the Trinity, you are always with us
and so we bring you our worship and praise
to join in your dance of life and love,
Holy One and Holy Three, now and ever more.
Holy and Healing God,
slow to anger and swift to forgive,
you have shown us the depth of your love day by day,
yet we are reluctant to love others even a little.
You have shown us compassion and forgiveness,
yet we turn away from one another for even small slights.
We save our concern for those most like us.
Create in us clean hearts and a desire to begin again
with you and with one another.
Give us the courage to forgive each other and know your healing grace.
In repentance and in faith, receive the promise of grace and the assurance of pardon: To all who turn to him, Jesus says: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Thanks be to God. Amen
Readings – Isaiah 6: 1-8
John 3: 1-17
Hymn 251 -I, the Lord of sea and sky
Father God, Son, and Holy Spirit we pray for our Cheviot churches and our role in the community. We remember before you all those who live, work and visit here as the restrictions are lifted. Speak your word of peace in our midst, and help us to serve one another as Christ has served us. Thank you, that you so loved the world that you gave your one and only son Jesus, whose life, death, and resurrection we now celebrate in our communion. Amen.
In Egypt there are apparently many Muslims who believe in Jesus, but who keep their faith secret. For to say that they were Christian would be to be ostracised from their family and their community. It can be hard to be a Christian in many countries.
I am reminded of them when hearing again the story of Nicodemus, who came by night to see Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of the Jews. He was part of the establishment. But something in the radical message of Jesus attracted him, so he came secretly, away from the public gaze, to meet him. But this learned, theologically-aware leader felt out of his depth by what Jesus said, as Jesus talked about being born again and the Spirit blowing where it will.
Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday named after a church doctrine. We will affirm the Trinity later when we say the Apostle’s Creed, but it is a doctrine over which many church councils agonised and over which many church leaders have felt out of depth. Yet it presents a wonderful picture of God in community, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one God.
The idea of God that Nicodemus would have held would have been one who created the world and led the Israelites from oppression to freedom; the God whom Isaiah described in our reading today. In the Temple, Isaiah was filled with an overwhelming sense of God’s holiness and, in contrast, his own unworthiness. He fell to his knees in sheer awe. Yet God still reached out to call him, and Isaiah answered, ‘Here I am. Send me’.
I think we often lack a sense of awe in God’s presence. Yet this is the God who became personal, who, we are told in the famous verses of John 3: 16/17, loved the world so much that God wanted to save it, and so Jesus was born as a human to show us God’s love in action. He didn’t come to condemn, but to love and redeem us. Through the Spirit, God still is working with and through us today.
Nicodemus is tentative at first though curious, coming secretly to Jesus. However, we meet him twice more in John’s Gospel, beginning to speak out for Jesus and latterly helping Joseph of Arimathea to bury him. His faith seems to grow as we continue through the Gospel. For some of us faith doesn’t come easily, but like Nicodemus, two steps forward and one step back. But in the end Nicodemus seems to get there.
This week, the General Assembly of the Church has been meeting and tackling important issues. Issues like climate change, but also the future shape of the church, and some of these discussions were quite bruising. We are all affected. We will be part of bigger presbyteries, the number of ministries will drop, there will be an emphasis on being more missional. But that can be something positive, as it will involve enabling all God’s people. Yet the overwhelming impression of the Assembly is a sense of together ness with people from all over the country and indeed over the world. It is that sense of togetherness we celebrate at Trinity Sunday.
As God’s people we are enfolded in the love of the triune God, and so we come at communion, in awe at God’s holiness that we cry ‘have mercy on us’, but redeemed by the Son who out of love came into this world and sustained by the Spirit, who leads us on, so we cry out ‘Here am I. Send me’.
Prayers of Dedication & Intercession
Lord God, we bring to you the ordinary things of life – food and drink and money – and with them we bring ourselves. Take us, and our gifts of money, to do your work in the world. Take this bread and wine and feed us from your table with your love. Accept our sacrifice of praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We thank you for the small steps of recovery from Covid in our land, but continue to remember those suffering still – from the affects of the Indian variant and long Covid, for the many throughout the world with Covid and with little chance of the vaccine.
We pray for the Church throughout the world, that we might be faithful, but pray especially for our Church of Scotland, as we face the challenges of the day.
Be with those who mourn the loss of loved ones, for the sick in hospital and at home. For those who struggle and those who are downcast and those who are ostracized.
Hymn 666 – Let all mortal flesh
As we come to share in Holy Communion, we bring the bread and wine that we prepared earlier and pause as we prepare to share in this meal with one another.
In our own homes, at our own tables, we meet with Jesus. At our own tables, Jesus calls us to meet him. He welcomes us without the need for show, without the need to be what others expect us to be, without any baggage that might be weighing us down.
We hear again the story of that night: While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body’. Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I tell you, I will never again drink the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ (Mark 14: 22-24)
Let us pray:
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise
Thank you, loving God, for these gifts which we share and for the love that you give to us. We meet with you here filled with your promise of welcome and community. So, we gather here as we are, as you need us to be and as you have called. Long ago, you welcomed your people to you and made known your greatness and glory; you sought out the outcast, you welcomed the stranger, you reached outside society’s expectations and beyond tradition.
Therefore with all your people, past present and to come, and with the whole company of heaven we sing the hymn of your unending glory:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit
To bless us and these your gifts of bread and wine,
That in communion with Christ our Lord
We may receive his life and remain his glad and faithful people until we feast with him in glory.
As we share in the body and blood of Christ,
may we become a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for your acceptance, through Jesus Christ our Lord
Breaking of bread
The Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, ‘this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me’.
In the same way he took the cup, saying ‘ This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink of it, do so in memory of me’
Jesus, Lamb of God: have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world: grant us your peace.
As we follow the example of Jesus, I invite you to hold the bread. This is the Christ’s body, broken for you. Take and eat in memory of him.
I invite you to take the wine. This is the blood of Christ poured out for each one of us. Take and drink in memory of him.
The disciples were together behind locked doors, and Jesus came and stood among them and he said. Peace be with you.
And so I say to you, The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Loving God, we praise you for what you have given and for what you have promised us here today. You have made us one with all your people in heaven and in earth. You have fed us with the bread of life and renewed us for your service.
Now we give ourselves to you and ask that our daily living may be part of the life of your kingdom and that our love may be your love reaching out into the life of the world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Hymn 622 – We sing a love that sets all people free
Just as God’s Word was sent into the world
to heal and redeem,
so God sends you into the world this day
to be light and love, healing and hope.
Go now to be light for the world!
And may the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and those whom you love, now and forevermore. Amen.