Monday, June 04, 2007

The Trinity

Preaching on Trinity Sunday is always fun and I have a feeling that, given another twenty-five years, I'll eventually have a good sermon to preach on the subject. Courtesy of the 85 or so good people of Christ Church, Nailsea and St Quiricus and St Julietta (yes honestly) Tickenham I had three goes yesterday.

I don't particularly want to reproduce my sermon. Firstly because, not having written a word of it down, I couldn't guarantee that it would be identical and secondly because my point is somewhat different.

I like preaching from a passage. You can't do that easily on Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the trinity is deduced from the totality of scripture. It was three centuries of Church Councils before it became normative.

I found myself preaching on a broad sweep of scripture including Genesis 1, the rise of monotheistic Israel, Isaiah 52 and 53 and John the Baptist's baptism of Jesus. It was a fairly well-rehearsed sermon since I worked as curate with a couple of vicars who always got their curates to preach on Trinity Sunday and it was the only college essay on which I ever received more than faint praise from a tutor. Well rehearsed but noteless. Thing is, I held a Bible throughout.

Anyone else noticed that as evangelicals we can find the Bible being more a comfort blanket than a source of life? You don't have to hold a book physically to understand it. A biblical sermon doesn't mean a sermon with a Bible in your hand.


Andy said...

Good work St! I fell victim to the 'graveyard' slot yesterday too, but chose to go with the lectionary readings (particularly John 16:12-15) - and it was an all-age service too. Nice.

Think I just about managed it without people a). nodding off, or b). bleeding from the ears, or without c). descending into pre-council-of-Nicea heresy (or at least that's what one now-retired vicar complemented me on).

And all in 10 mins too, with a clip from the Office. A good all-round Anglican effort.


Matthew McMurray said...


Even though, I am not an Evangelical, I like your thought about the Bible being a comfort blanket.

Mine are:
1) at chapel - the lectern to hold onto in case I get so distracted by speaking that I forget to stand up properly or something and

2) at Lancaster Priory - the pulpit because it is quite high (the pulpit that is - well, the church is too as it happens but...) and is made of strong oak so it won't be easy for people to attack me while I am still in it.

3) at Lancaster Priory again - wearing an alb. This one is slightly less important than the ones above but somehow it helps me to know in my head that "I am allowed to do this".

Do you think all of these and your Bible holding might all be down to how naked and vulnerable preaching makes us all feel?

Mike Peatman said...

Best dedication for a church since St Elizabeth of Hungary (in the unlikely location of a new estate in Newton Aycliffe!)

dmk said...

Andy: A clip from the Office? how did you manage to work that into Trinity Sunday?

St said...

Yes Andy. Do tell.

Mike Peatman said...

I have the same question. Trinity & the Office? Now I'm intrigued

Andy said...


It may disappoint slightly to know that I didn't use it *directly* to talk about the Trinity - but heck, I'll tell the story anyway.

The sermon started off with a bit of preamble about how the trinity was a) very important in the grand scheme of things and b) the kind of thing that makes most people's eyes glaze over when you talk to them about it.

So after a refresher course on what the doctrine states, and how it came about (various councils and the like) - I played the clip from the second series of the Offic, where "big Keith" is having his appraisal but blatantly not getting the whole form thing.


I used this to show how we too, if we don't really "get" something, are fairly happy to just ignore it.

I then went for the pay off and tried to show how other aspects of our faith are held together by the Trinity.

Kinda worked too, which was a bonus!