Sermon for Holy Trinity Sunday 2018: “The Holy Tri-Bond”

Isaiah 6:1-8
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Sermon: “The Holy Tri-Bond”
How many of you have ever heard of a game called Tri-Bond?
TriBond is a board game that requires players to determine a common bond between three subjects,
Let’s do some examples so you can understand the game.
What do these three things have in common?

Easy one: picnic, card, pool (all have tables)
Easy one: a truck, a golf ball, a nail (things you drive)
Harder one: the planets, tires, and crops (things that rotate or are rotated)
Harder one: Ford Motor Company, Nebraska, and the $5 bill (all have Lincolns)

Let’s get back to an easy one:
What do these three persons have in common?
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
The answer is GOD.
The Holy Trinity.
Or
The Holy Tri-Bond.
This morning we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday.

During the church year we celebrate big Sundays like
Easter Sunday
Pentecost Sunday
But what makes Holy Trinity Sunday unique is while those days celebrate an event,
Holy Trinity celebrates a Church Doctrine.

Now I believe we are doing more than celebrating a doctrine.

We are celebrating and giving thanks to a God who wants us.
A God who wants us
to know him,
to love him,
and be in relationship with him.

And it is through the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit that God reveals just how much God wants us.

These three persons,
these three expressions of the one and only God,
reveal something very personal and intimate about God:

Our God has a deep desire to be known by us.

And just like in our reality today,
if you want to be known,
you need to be in relationship.

And God is inviting us to that same type of relationship.

We see the beginnings of this type of relationship-building in the first lesson from Isaiah.
In chapter 6 Isaiah has a vision.
This vision helps answer a very important question for the people of Isaiah’s time:
Who is going to lead the people?
Their king, King Uzziah, has died.
King Uzziah was considered a very good king.
Now he was gone,
so who is going to take over and lead?

So Isaiah has this vision of an awe-inspiring and very scary God.
And Isaiah believes he sees God’s face.
But why would Isaiah be so scared of God’s face?
Because it was a long held belief that if you saw God’s face, you were going to die.
This belief can be found in Exodus 33:20 “For no one could see God’s face and live.”
So, Isaiah believes he is done for.
He claims he is unclean.
But what Isaiah is describing is not a hygiene issue.
It is a relational issue.
Isaiah is describing a separation from God that he shares with all humanity.
Sin equaled separation.

But one thing we know is that God is not going to let US decide when the relationship is over.

So God sends a seraph which, by the way, is not your normal looking angel.
A seraph is pictured as a heavenly winged snake!

And it places a hot coal on Isaiah’s mouth.
This was not a rite of pain and punishment.
This was a rite of forgiveness.

The seraph- “Your guilt has DEPARTED. Your sin is BLOTTED OUT.”
Which sounds a lot like what God says and promises in Jeremiah 31: “I (God) will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.”

But the giving of Grace is not the end of the origin story for Isaiah.
In that forgiveness,
In that Grace,
comes the call
and the sending into the world.

And it comes in the form of a BIG question that God asks:
“Whom shall I send?”

And Isaiah answers…actually if you look at the sentence, you have the feeling that Isaiah YELLS, “Me! Send Me!”
And with that response, Isaiah joins a group I like to call:
The “HereAmIs”
The “HereAmIs” are the people who are addressed by God throughout the Old Testament and then answered God:
• Abraham (Gen 22:1)
• Jacob (Gen 31:11)
• Moses (Exo 3:4)
• Samuel (1 Sam 3:4)

Now there is one BIG difference between Isaiah and these other four:
While Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Samuel all responded “Here I am” to God’s calling them,

Isaiah volunteers.

Isaiah is ready for action!
What Isaiah is doing is using God’s grace for the sake of the people around him.
The people need a new leader.
And look who steps up: Isaiah.
God made God known to Isaiah so that Isaiah can find relief and release for his sins
AND to be a part of the greatest job in the world:
Telling the people about God.
Preaching
Teaching
Comforting
and (when the time rises) Warning them.

Now I’m going to bring back Tri-Bond
Because in this lesson from Isaiah
We get God doing the Tri-Bonding:
In this lesson God is made known to Isaiah through:
Creating (Here’s God right in front of you, Isaiah!)
Saving (The gift of Grace)
Sustaining (The sending out)

Well that worked for Isaiah.
What about you?
What about me?

Does God do the same things today?
And the answer is ABSOLUTELY!

Let me share with you three quick examples of how God does this in my life:
The Creating.
All I have to do is look at Paul and Maddie and see God’s creative hands.
The first time I laid eyes on my children and they opened their beautiful blue eyes I honestly saw “Creation.”
And I was in awe.

The Saving.
Whenever I am around a baptism, or I participate in the Holy Supper, I can hear, see, feel, and (when it comes to Communion) taste the saving act of Jesus.
There is something about how the water cleans me.
There is something about the how meal fills me up.
And knowing both are right there whenever I need to be reminded of Jesus and what he did for me.

Staying
To me staying is God’s reminder that He is right here with me.
And to me the staying comes in:
The hugs I get from family and friends
The phone calls I get from the members of this church
The emails and notes I get from social media from friends all over the world

But that is a lot about me,
and the point of the Gospel not about me,
but I hope maybe one of those images clicked something in your head or heart and can make you see and hear how God is working in your lives.

And how God is calling you to something that can only be called the greatest relationship you will ever have:

A relationship with God.

Maybe some of you have come today, and even after hearing me talk, are saying to yourselves, “Yeah, but what would God want to do with me?
Doesn’t He know what I DID this week?
Doesn’t He know the many times I have sinned against him and others?
Doesn’t He know the ways I have placed my own interests above others INCLUDING MY OWN FAMILY?”

The answer to all those questions is YES!
God DOES know all those things.
But let me refer you to Isaiah.
Isaiah had those same questions.
Isaiah had those same issues.
And when he says, “I am unclean”

The Lord responds…

“SO. WHAT?”

People, you can come up with all the reasons you call yourselves unworthy of God’s grace and call,

And God says, “SO. WHAT?

You may be all those things (and the list can be long)
But the one thing that trumps all of the bad is this:
We are God’s children.

You know that mark of the cross that is placed on your forehead at your baptism?
That doesn’t come off!
And more importantly, YOU or…I…can’t take it off!
It’s there from now until…
Well…
There is no until…
It’s there for good!

That means:
God finds you worthy.
God finds you loveable.
God FINDS you!

You know, I’m getting good at these lists of three!

Today we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday.
And on this day, I want you to think and pause and remember that the next time you pray to God to complain how unworthy you are…

God says, “So. What?
So what, child of mine?

I am still the God:
Who created you
Who saves you
And who stays with you.”

And THAT is a tri-bond that will never be broken.