Just about every week we say “We believe…” Perhaps Trinity Sunday is an opportunity so unwrap what we mean.
Perhaps the place to start is in the book of beginnings. Genesis paints a picture of God calling Creation into being. I don’t know what you make of that narrative, but at least this much is true – behind everything in nature – every living thing and all of humankind, there is God the Creator. My world comes from God; my life comes from God; all that I touch and handle and own – it all comes from God. Every breath I take; every ability or gift, and every possession, comes ultimately from God. In Jeremiah God says, “I have called you by name; you belong to me”
Again in Genesis God commissions humankind – the man and the woman together – the Adam and Eve of the story – to manage Creation. God trusts humans to care for it. We are trusted servants, and the word for “trusted servant” is steward. If we take God seriously, and if we take our place in Creation seriously, then we are accountable to God for everything entrusted to us. At no point does God abdicate ownership.
We believe in God who created us and all the world.
We believe that we have been entrusted with Creation.
W believe we are accountable for what God has entrusted.
That is where stewardship begins.
We believe in God the Son
We also believe that something went wrong. The close relationship with God and those entrusted with creation was stretched to breaking point. Jesus came on the scene and said, “Follow me! Learn about the way God’s world is meant to work. Learn about the Kingdom – the Reign of God.” And as his followers watched what he does; as they listened to what he says; as they saw how he touched lives, they discovered his priorities, his concerns, his passions. If they follow closely they will gradually come to understand that he is showing them what it means to be trusted servants of God.
Jesus repeats the Genesis theme. He talked about servants entrusted with their master’s goods. They were to work with what was entrusted for the benefit of the master. He showed them they were called to be faithful with what was entrusted.
When they complained about their limited resources, he showed them that no matter how limited those resources, if they brought what they had to him, miracles would happen.
So they followed and they learned – sometimes very slowly, but they learned. They saw broken, lives changed. They saw the despised; the nobodies given dignity and treated with respect; the outcasts welcomed.
Gradually it dawned on them; they were being prepared to take on his work – to do what he did, and they were afraid. They looked out over a hostile city and a hostile world and they were so afraid, they met behind locked doors. There Jesus met them with the greeting of peace and promised a gift.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit
Jesus promised that in their fear and in their weakness and timidity, the Holy Spirit would be given to strengthen, to teach, to enable them to be the trusted servants God intended them to be. And they realised that gift at Pentecost. They lost their fear; they came out from behind closed doors, and began to work with what God had entrusted them. They touched broken lives as Jesus had; they shared good news with the poor as Jesus had; they talked about the Kingdom as Jesus had. It was said of them that they “turned the world upside down”. They made a difference. They suffered for it; they died for it, but they made a difference…just as trusted servants – just as stewards – always do.
We believe in that same Holy Spirit.
We are not merely celebrating all this on Trinity Sunday. We are part of that same story. We when we say “We believe”, we are acknowledging that all we have and all we are, is entrusted by God. We know we are entrusted with building the Kingdom – reaching out into the world we live in – to touch and change hurting, broken and marginalised lives. And as followers – as disciples – as stewards – we know that our skills and energies, our time and all our resources will have this same focus.
But this is beyond us. Even with all our discussions and our committees; with all our plans, strategies and good ideas, our hope for success is limited. Jesus said to his disciples, “Bring what you have to me!”
Look again at the world around; see the brokenness; the pains; hear the cries for help, from right here in Kerrisdale; from El Salvador and from every corner of society.
Of course all this is beyond us. Jesus said, “Receive Holy Spirit”- be strengthened – be enabled.
The faith community says: “We believe in God – Creator, Restorer, Enabler”. Our response to that declaration of faith is our life as stewards.
+Douglas Hambidge~ May 2013