Happy Trinity Sunday… a day of curiosity and questions! One God… Three persons?
- There is a special online service live on YouTube at 9am with the Archbishop of York
- Many of us are praying at 10am every Sunday
- BBC1 10:45am: The Rev Canon Leigh Richardson leads a service for Trinity Sunday from St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. With hymns sung by a Songs of Praise congregation recorded in July 2019
- Songs of Praise (1:15pm)
- Revd Graeme Holdsworth takes Holy Communion at 6pm, in his study on behalf of our community
- Morning Prayer is said every day
The Archbishop of York is to be joined by representatives of charities he founded in the weekly online service for the Church of England marking his last day as Archbishop of York.
For those who prefer something more local, David Fisher has recorded the Bible Reading and Collect and further down this page is an audio recording of my sermon, which I’ve printed and taken to all those who are unable to access the internet.
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The fear of dead cats…
A transcription of the Sermon for those who prefer to read…
Have you heard curiosity killed the cat? Not the pop-band from the 1980s, but the folk saying which tells you to not ask questions.
I wholeheartedly disagree with this folk saying. The Bible is full of people asking questions, being curious and trying to understand God.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of the handIsaiah 40:12
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
And I’m asking you, who hasn’t?
- Have you ever watched Blue Planet and been stunned by the size of the oceans, surprised by the life found there? Have you stood in the sea and cupped the water between your fingers?
- Do you gaze at the stars on a dark night and just soak it all up? Not really able to absorb just how many stars there are or the distances between them?
- Do you love to work in the garden and as you backfill a new plant, crumble the earth through your fingers?
- Have you reached the end of a long day walking in the moors and hills, and felt the weight of them in your tired legs?
There is a curiosity in humanity. Scientific discovery is driven by a healthy curiosity. And the development of our spiritual self requires a healthy curiosity. I think therefore I am… but why? Why do I think?
Phrases like ‘curiosity killed the cat’ undermine our confidence to explore the world around us. And yet everything we know, whether it is how to change a light bulb, bake a loaf of bread, or write a poem started with us not knowing, experimenting, trying, being curious and learning.
No one in the Church is born with an understanding of God. Today is Trinity Sunday… and I doubt there are more than a handful of people who can explain the trinity: One God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
If fear holds us back from asking questions. So does embarrassment. As though we are afraid of other people discovering we are unsure, lack confidence, can’t explain… faith is one of those areas where it is easy to be afraid of looking weak or of being embarrassed that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
I didn’t always have faith. When I first came to faith, I discovered I believed in God… but I didn’t know what it was I believed. My learning journey began with me being curious, perhaps I was lucky that, being a scientist, I naturally ask questions.
Over the last few sermons I have been asking you these questions.
Who are you?
Who is Jesus?
What is the Church?
I’m asking because I don’t want to be patronising in my preaching – I don’t want my sermons to be boring and irrelevant. You generously give me some of your time when you listen, and I want to honour that with something worth listening to. Unlike normal Sundays, you can go back and listen to any of these sermons again:
Who am I: link
What do I know about Jesus: link
Who is in charge of the Church: link
My desire is to help you grow in your faith, to grow in the knowledge and love of God – and to give you permission, if you need it, to ask questions. Talk to me about what you have thought… this is no test. There are no prizes for having the best questions… the best questions are the ones you really want the answers to. Why does God allow suffering? Why does God allow black and minority ethic people to die from coronavirus disproportionally? Why does God let bad things happen to good people?
Or maybe these are not your questions… what are your questions?
I have questions that will help me to understand what the churches in Marsden, Slaithwaite and Shred think. I’ve asked them in my previous sermons and I come back to them again…
- Jesus said he loves us… which begs the question “who is the you Jesus loves?”
- Jesus asked, “do you love me”… which begs the question “who is Jesus?”
- At Pentecost, the church was born – so what is the church and who is in charge?
These are my questions for you – and if you have questions for me, I would love to hear them. I leave the closing questions to the prophet Isaiah…
Have you not known? Have you not heard?Isaiah 40:27-28
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.