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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Homily

Trinity, Year A
South Sydney Uniting Church
June 19, 2011

Genesis 1:1-2:4a; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Live in harmony and peace’

Today is a day of mourning for us. Our brother and friend, Trevor, is not in his pew. Something’s not right. We feel it in our bodies and spirits. We feel the burden and the void because we have loved, and because we have experienced love. We feel the force of love. We have experienced a genuine, a divine love in our life together – the most humanising thing that can ever happen to us.

And so, in time, we will be all right. I say this with a keen awareness of grief, a personal, private and particular grief that to some extent wants to be alone and quiet. In time, we will be all right. We are being made fully human, and, as we have prayed, human destiny is eternally linked to the divine. Jesus says, “I am committing myself to you”.

Yesterday, I experienced a peace I hadn’t known since hearing of Trevor’s death. I started to believe (faith is always a beginning) that I/we will be all right. That God is love, and that love is inextinguishable. That humanity, that flesh-and-spirit human being, human loving … that Trevor Edward Davies participates in the inextinguishable love that is God, who is God ... Language breaks down under the pressure of love – and yet continues to speak, to signify anew …

“And now, sisters and brothers, I must say goodbye. Mend your ways. Encourage one another. Live in harmony and peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones send greetings to you” (2 Corinthians 13:11-13). These words from Paul would be eerie if not inspired by the Holy Spirit – if not heard in a Spirit of holy assurance, holy security, holy comfort.

Trinity Sunday is about this love. As one commentator says: “[A]lthough God exists in perfect reciprocal love, it is not a closed relationship. … [W]ithout any disintegration of God, God became human, walking among us, and invited us into that love relationship. Jesus didn’t come to suggest that we try to be loving, or to command us to act lovingly, or to condemn our lack of love. Jesus came as the [genuine] lover, as one who lives within the experience of [genuine] love”, to invite us into the Spirit of it (Nathan Nettleton).

What’s the difference? Well, you don’t have to measure up to some standard of love before you can approach God. You don’t have to earn your way by your loving into the experience of God’s love. You just have to respond to the invitation and enter into the experience of genuine love and you will be transformed by it. All the rest will follow. “All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life” (Bill Gather).

When you enter into the experience of love (between Creator, Saviour and Guiding Presence; between Father-Mother, Faithful Child, Spirit of Holiness and Goodness; between Lover, Beloved and Spirit of Love) you will begin to dance with God in the ongoing work of creation, and re-creation. … [Y]ou will work beside God like a skilled artist, delighting and rejoicing with God and in God and in all the works of God’s hands (Proverbs 8:30).

If we want to be a people of light and truth in the world, a people that brings hope and creative change to a world in desperate need, then we must begin by journeying into the welcoming heart of the only power that offers that hope and change, the power of love that blazes in God. In other words, in Trevor’s words: “Jesus loves you.”

That’s why we come to this table. The God whose love lights the universe is the same God who says, “Take and eat. This is my body”. If you would take the next step on that journey into the love of God, the next step is here at this table. Here is love. Here is nourishment for the journey. Here heaven and earth kiss, divinity and humanity kiss.

The classical Communion prayer, known as the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, has three key elements. The first is a prayer of thanksgiving to the Parent-Creator (eucharistia) for everything that has been done to save us from our broken selves and make us whole once more. The second is a remembering of Christ (anamnesis) and the loving sacrifice for the sake of the world. This part culminates in the narrative of the last supper that Jesus shared with his disciples. The final part invokes the creativity of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis) to make real the presence of Christ in the bread and wine, and make that presence real and effective in the mission and discipleship of the people of God, which goes out from the feast as the newly constituted body of Christ (Gary Deverell).

Here is love. The good news and power of God. “Jesus came forward and addressed them in these words: ‘All authority has been given me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptise them in the name of Abba God, and of the Only Begotten, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, even until the end of the world!’”

Let’s complete the homily, in prayer. How have you experienced, how are you experiencing genuine love, divine love?

… Amen.