30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #12: Sunday 7th June 2020 – Trinity Sunday
From the Minister – Celebrating, not Explaining
Many preachers are breathing a sigh of relief this Sunday because they are not going to have to preach a sermon to explain the doctrine of the Trinity – what Christians believe about God’s three-in-oneness.* I think that gets things the wrong way around: the doctrine is the explanation, not the thing to be explained. We Christians see God everywhere in all creation, yet at the same time, we think we have met him in one person in one place at one time: Jesus Christ. Yet again, whilst Jesus is gone from earth, we still experience his presence – God’s presence – in the here and now (Spiritually). The doctrine of the Trinity is the Church’s attempt to explain that. So, I’ve (mostly) given up trying to explain the doctrine itself. I just celebrate the experience of God it points towards, and I invite you to do the same.
*Click herefor a cartoon video of Saint Patrick deploying bad analogies to explain this doctrine (probably not suitable for young children)
Image: Fr. A. J. Thamburaj, SJ (Indian, 1939–), The Holy Trinity, before 1982. Oil painting, 23 × 33 in.
O God our mystery,
You bring us to life,
Call us to freedom,
And move between us with love.
May we so participate
In the dance of your trinity,
That our lives may resonate with you,
Now and forever. Amen.
Janet Morley, “All Desires Known”, 1988.
Worship on Pentecost Sunday
Image by Cindy Caldwell – UMC.org
Thirty-five households came together for St Columba’s Pentecost worship on Sunday 31st May. People connected online or by telephone to see and/or hear hymns, readings, prayers, and a reflection. We also shared together in an online communion. Plans are being made for offering more services. Please contact Trevor by email or phone to let him know how well (or not) Pentecost worship worked for you, and how frequently you would like such services to happen.
‘The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ But I was expecting ‘fellowship’! ‘Communion’ is how the New Revised Standard Version renders the last verse of Paul’s letter. (It also offers the alternative of ‘sharing in’, but that’s not ‘fellowship’ either.) ‘Fellowship’ is what most translations offer. But the NRSV is not on its own, for ‘communion’ is what appears in the Authorised Version. (In The Message it’s ‘intimate fellowship’ that’s on offer.) I wonder if familiarity means I take ‘fellowship’ a bit for granted when I say ‘The Grace’. Maybe I’ll try a few of the alternatives: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the God and communion/sharing in/intimate fellowship [delete as applicable] of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
For further reflections and prayers relating to these readings, click here.
A Sonnet for Trinity Sunday
Last week’s Weekly Update included a poem by Malcolm Guite on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. This week, here’s his poem for Trinity Sunday, also taken from his book, Sounding the Seasons.
In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.
Rediscovering Rowland is a newly released, short video about the life of Rowland Lishman – businessman, philanthropist, social activist, member of St Columba’s, and much more. The video, made for Local History Month, includes references and images featuring North Shields, the Square Building Trust, and our church. To view the video, click here.
St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation – Saturdays at
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