Worship at COS
Posted on 2021-05-30 12:00:00 in Spirituality
Most weeks for the past six years, I have been at Christ Our Savior. Today, though, I am watching from home. To keep myself from letting my mind wander, I am keeping these notes. I also am chatting with other worshipers. It is true that we can think about other things, and when we are not present in worship, this is a stronger tendency.
Pastor Ely is doing the announcements. He is recalling many of the veterans who are and were members of Christ Our Savior. Ely is asking for his prayers on his call.
Thoughts on Trinity Sunday
I've preached many Trinity Sundays. It is a celebration of a doctrine. The Trinity is a self-defining teaching of the Christian church, and yet, the Trinity is not ever spelled out in a single verse or passage of Scripture. So, in a sense, this Sunday (and the Trinity) validates the interpretive principle of looking at multiple passages and drawing conclusions from their logical combination. This is perhaps not immediately obvious.
The Athanasian Creed
I remember reading somewhere that some scholars believe that the earliest uses of this creed were chanted or sung, rather than spoken. It is an interesting reflection of Christianity's dependence on its doctrine that the church would sing something like this.
Many people who read this creed look at the almost pedantic repetition of "is" and "is not". For myself, though, the thing that stands out is that the Athanasian, alone of the historic creeds, reviews and asserts the conclusions from the Council of Chalcedon on the nature of Christ. Many people say that they "believe in Jesus," but Christians have come to believe that you must understand Him and who He is before that statement has much meaning.
Children's Sermon: Baptism
Pastor Ely went over the children he has baptized through the years and spoke about how the Trinity is the central teaching of baptism as it is practiced. It is a central part of the Lutheran life to remember baptism daily.
Ely begins by talking about how the Trinity cannot be explained. It is not a matter of understanding, but faith. Indeed, while we use the word "trinity" in popular culture as any group of three, the original word was designed to be nonsensical. It came from combining 3 and 1. And of course, two numbers were different.
From this, Ely turns to the Gospel (John 3, the dialogue with Nicodemus) to speak. He leads up to Nicodemus's question: "how can these things be?" Ely then turns to say that we, too, find things in Scripture that we find hard to understand. In Nicodemus's case, Jesus is right there beside him physically, but in our case, God is also with us, through His Spirit.
For myself, I wonder at Jesus' explanation to Nicodemus. Jesus points out that the snake on the cross was a "type" of himself. We have learned, in the succeeding centuries, that not everyone should just make types on their own. There is no end of it. So I'll leave for another time the idea about how Jesus can use something to explain Scripture that the church should now limit itself to.
In John 3:16ff, Jesus shows not only who God is, but what God does. Pieces of the Trinity are there, but also the action of the Father loving the world, and giving His Son. Nicodemus responds to this doing. John shows Nicodemus growing in faith. He does not appear in this chapter again, but he becomes a special character later.
We do not need to understand God to have a relationship with Him. Like Nicodemus, we do not need to "get" everything. This is an important point in our "scientific" age, which refuses to accept anything without "proof". This skepticism may serve us well sometimes, but it serves us well as we walk with Him.