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Sunday, June 15, 2014

06152014 Holy Trinity Sunday

Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

All of us love stories.  Simple stories that uplift us, tell of an action that has had a lasting effect upon us or just give us ‘warm fuzzies’ in our heart, soul and spirit.  There is an organization, “One Spark Foundation” that lives and thrives upon these stories for sharing with others.  Ironically, the stories are not told to ‘hold people up’ or ‘put them on a pedestal’, but they have a different purpose.  The main reason these stories are published and passed around is that people want to have an impact upon others and Facebook and email provide the means to sharing how we can and do impact one another in a really positive and loving way.  There was a movie about this called, “Pay it Forward”.  The premise of the movie, just like the “One Spark Foundation” was that everyone has the opportunity to have an impact, in a positive way upon others they meet.  And this will have a lasting effect upon countless other people for years to come.  Whether the one action turned someone’s life around from a life of crime to a life of passion, to enabling a person to leave the ‘old person’ they were behind and be the person God had created, or a much clearer impact of saving someone’s life because they were in the right place at the right time.  This is the idea that we the church here at Emmanuel can have and share with one another and our community.  One of the ways the generations of church members here at Emmanuel that have gone before us share with us like this ‘One Spark’ is by our use of the Athanasian Creed.

Today we the church here in Goodland, Kansas and throughout the world remember the importance of the Trinity shared with us by our ancestors.  Unlike most Sundays where the Creed that is confessed is either the Apostle’s in remembrance of our baptism, or the Nicene in our common confession of faith around the altar in our receipt of the Lord’s Supper, today we confess the Athanasian Creed.  Yes this is the longer of the three creeds, but this is the one time during the year when we can sit as we confess our faith.  This Creed has as its main emphasis the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Since today is Holy Trinity Sunday, the phrase, Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is the mantra of the day.

The faith of the people of God of those who have gone before us, like Lee, Russell, Edna and Etta, is something that is not only shared, but expressed clearly whether by painters and artists like Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, or even by farmers who daily do their chores and make their land the best for yielding crops.  Faith is something that is an action of both the individual and the collective.  For those who were in the military you remember having to keep the barracks clean and tidy, for kids in school who always had to pick up your toys after having play time.  We the people of God with our using the Athanasian Creed clearly and with joy confess our faith, not only as individuals, but also and especially as a church, believing in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

When we confess our faith, we stand with Luther, who boldly stated, “Here I Stand, I can do no other”.  We stand with the Apostles’ and Martyrs of the church who even with their death, to the very end confessed their faith in Jesus Christ.  And we stand with our forefather’s who built this very church, educational wing and insured the spread of the Gospel.  We remember this, not only because it is our history, but because we are the fruit of their labor, we not only remember the stories, but we tell the stories of their sacrifice for each of us.  We are the result of the “One Spark” that can and should be told of their effort.

As we sit today in the pew and confess the Athanasian Creed, we not only confess Jesus Christ and what He did on Calvary that sets us free, but we also stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm and heart to heart confessing the faith which frees us.  We use this tool, the Athanasian Creed as our confession.  It is not just a conviction, but today here in this church we are filled with the Holy Spirit given on Pentecost that we celebrated last week that this banner reminds us of and we are enabled to be the people of God here in Goodland, Kansas.  To be the “One Spark” that can ‘Pay It Forward’ and we can be known not as individuals, but as God’s children from Emmanuel for Goodland and the entire world.

Recently, I was reading through the history of Emmanuel and ran across a letter that was written by Rev. Clifton Osborn in celebration of the Educational Wing Completion and Dedication.  He wrote the following about the educational wing, “These classrooms and offices are the tools—tools in the hands of men who are in the hands of God—the tools of instruction and faith.”  Clearly Rev. Osborn not only believed in the power of you the people of God, but he believed the faith being shared was the most important aspect of our sharing our faith and being the “One Spark”.  Last week we emulated this with our Ice Cream Social put on by the ladies of the congregation.  Yesterday we lived this out with serving as we always do the funeral dinner for Lee Tubbs family.  A week from today our church will be prepared for a week of Vacation Bible School with the counselors from Sky Ranch of the spread of the Gospel message.  Today we celebrate Fathers and their role in each of our lives.  These are the “Sparks” that we have here at Emmanuel that are a result of God working through each of us.

And today we use one of the tools of the church to confess our faith and allow it to be a match or a “Spark” in and for each of us.  This is not just a confession, but it is a tool for our use like the classrooms and offices of the Educational wing for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We can as we confess our faith, use the tools given to us by our ancestors and impact Goodland and the world.  We are their fruit.  We now can plant our seeds, our stories and our ‘Sparks’ and see the harvest of God’s watering and caring for us.  May we today as we confess our faith not only listen to the words, believe in the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but also be the church that our forefathers believed in by giving us the tool, not only of the Athanasian Creed, but also and especially the Educational Wing for the spread of the Gospel.  For the Gospel is for all of mankind, but especially including all of us saints gathered here for this Trinity Sunday.  AMEN.

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