Trinity Sunday

Jun 6, 2020 by





Prelude           Prelude and Fugue   Book 1 no. 3                          

J.S. Bach, played by Natalie Schwamova




Lighting of the Christ Candle

(you may wish to light one in your home)



Together, We Come to God



Call to Worship

We gather today in the name of the Creator,
who created the heavens and earth, plants and animals, galaxies, stars and planets.
We gather in the name of Jesus Christ, who was born on this planet Earth,
and in the name of the Spirit who fills our lives with His presence.

As we gather in this time we call ‘now’
in this space we call ‘here’
we come with open hearts for worship today.

Come, Triune God, inspire us that may we recognize again, Your Presence with us.

                ~adapted from posting on Third Space.



Hymn # 299     Holy, Holy, Holy

(lyrics are in the video)



Prayer of Approach

God our Creator, who gives life to all humanity regardless of race, creed or color, we come together before you. We see all the things You have made, the wonderful works of Your hands, and we pause to consider them with awe.

Christ our Saviour, who calls us by name. You invite us to follow, to listen, watch, and pray, and to love others as you have loved us. Teach us a love that sees beyond to the beauty of the heart within, a love that is moved to recognize the moral tension of privilege, a love that will listen with open heart, a love that will stand with all who suffer injustice.

Holy Spirit, breath of life who inspires us and gives us new beginnings, spread your wisdom and the mystery of your Presence among humanity to refresh our lives. We have come, we are here. Restore us into harmony with each other and with You. Bless us with an unwavering faith, enfold us in your Love, and lead us to Truth.




Sung response


Text and music: © 2006, Barbara Bridge. Published by OCP. Reprinted with One License A-722822



God Speaks to Us



Scripture Reading       Genesis 1:1-2:4a

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights–the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.


Psalm Reading:           Psalm 8 

O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!


Hymn # 289     O mystery profound   

Tune:  QUAM DILECTA (I hunger and I thirst)

(intro and 5 vs)


1- O mystery profound, unknowable, but known,

The Godhead hidden, yet by revelation shown.


2- O Singular Triune, eternal, present God.

Who is, was and will be the source and end of all.


3- One truth that reigns supreme, three shining rays of light,

Illuminate our day and lead us through our night.


4- Communion of the soul, O Breather, Breathing, Breath,

Who makes and loves and keeps all through our life and death.


5- O mystery profound, unknowable, but known,

The Godhead hidden, yet by revelation shown.

Text: © 1991, GIA Publications, Inc. reprinted with One License A-722822



Epistle Reading           2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.



Musical Reflection      How can I keep from singing      

NYC Virtual choir and orchestra




Gospel Reading          Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”





The opening words of today’s scriptures are, “In the beginning when God Created the heavens and earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”

The closing words of today’s scriptures are, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So the readings encompass the full sweep of things from beginning to end.  This vast poetic time-space scope seems fitting for Trinity Sunday:  The blue-gem world-stage set for stunning biodiversity, for human steps and stumbles, and for the divine dance that weaves through it all.

When I pondered these texts and Trinity Sunday I kept thinking of Colleen Lashmar, a dear friend and colleague who died a few years ago. Once when I was working at Brantford General Hospital I invited her to do a presentation on Narrative Therapy at a clergy education event. At the beginning of her power-point slide presentation she projected a photo of a beautiful sunset. She said, “in spiritual care, my starting assumption is that we live our lives in a holy mystery.” It struck such a chord when she said it.  Others in attendance later commented on that opening statement. I have often thought what a great premise this is, what a great starting point for any consideration. So as I reflect on Trinity Sunday and the scripture texts, I borrow her premise, a basic assumption that we live in a holy mystery. And since Sister Colleen shared a photo, here is a triptych of photos to support this sacred assumption.



This first photo is Princess Point, September 2018 in the evening, (There is no filter used here by the way – the sky changed stunningly to these remarkable colours)


a wind from God swept over the face of the waters

Princess Point, September 2018








This second photo is from Loyola House, a retreat centre in Guelph.  The walls are the ruins of a mill, now overgrown with trees and foliage.


Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb

John 20








The third photo from May 17 this year is an Oak Tree (my favourite tree) in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area:


Oak Tree, Dundas Valley Conservation Area, May 17, 2020


See I am doing a new thing.  Now it springs forth.  Do you not perceive it?

Isaiah 43:19





So once again I thank Colleen for her opening words to begin a seminar: “We live our lives in a holy mystery.”  I am glad to borrow these words as a starting point for Trinity Sunday.  I try to borrow them every day!  Denise Levertov says something to this effect in her poem Primary Wonder.


Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.

Problems insoluble and problems offering

their own ignored solutions

jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber

along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing

their colored clothes; caps and bells.

And then

once more the quiet mystery

is present to me, the throng’s clamor

recedes:  the mystery

that there is anything, anything at all,

let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,

rather than void: and that, 0 Lord,

Creator, Hallowed one, You still,

hour by hour sustain it.


A vantage point of wonder is of special value to consider the trinitarian mystery, God as relationality. A central focus in my graduate studies was Trinitarian Theology.  The most important thing I took away is this:  the love shared between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the same love poured into the world in divine self-giving.  The world contains staggering beauty and unspeakable suffering, and we are given a promise that the divine life is fully present this heart-rending range of possibility. The Triune God is with us in the astonishing wonder and deep sorrow of the world, enfolding all in love.   

This promise of presence resounds in the last words of Matthew’s gospel. 


Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.


This promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age”, springs from a much earlier promise to Moses.  At the burning bush, Moses fears and falters when God calls him to lead the people out of Egypt.  He says to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God replies, “I will be with you.” (Exodus 3) In our present time, when we are prone to fear and faltering, can these words ring anew for us? Can we hear them inwardly?  “I am with you always”.  

Once when I was talking with a patient she said something that surprised me. I knew her quite well, and had listened over many months to her story of great adversity and some life breakthroughs. One day she told me about spiritual practices and prayers that helped her feel close to God. I responded, “the way you describe things, it seems you have a sense that God is present with you.”

“Oh yes,” she replied. “All the time. All three of them.”

“All three…”  I echoed.

“Yes.  I call one of them the Holy Ghost. I don’t think you are supposed to call it that any more. But I do.”

I was touched and sort of delighted by her comment. I was intrigued to hear that in some sense a “threeness” was in her experience of divine presence. Many of us have a deep sense of alienation.  In the enfolding love of the divine family there is a profound belonging. We are accepted. In the perfection of divine family we are not enmeshed or fused in relation. Our personality is not overwhelmed or stifled. We are welcomed and given strength to become our truest self. The sacred communion of the holy three is not exclusive like a club or clique. It is a joyful, dynamic mutuality that invites the human community – “the image of God” – to a likeminded sharing of power, creativity and love. True friendship is the joy and work of being transformed into a more generous reciprocity.

This divine promise – “I will be with you always” – is ancient and ever new. At every time it resonates differently. In the present, beset with pandem-angst, we are suddenly unable to be with one another in the way we want. And day after day the world discovers new ways to be against one another. I am dismayed by the ever-deepening corruption of political institutions that systematize and cheer on adversity. The entrenched tribalism that ruins public discourse. A people of the trinitarian community is called to create like relational webs of mutuality and generosity.  Called to be re-created as a web of such loving relations.  Diversity is present even within the very being of God. The beginning of transformation into the divine likeness is to perceive and consent to the divine invitation to grace, to belonging, to accept in humility that we are created, finite, gifted and loved..  

And so, may the holy three give us grace to know in our bones that we live our lives in a holy mystery.

May God’s justice, forgiveness and healing empower us towards a restored mutuality. 

And may the Holy Ghost breathe into us the deep truth: “See, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Amen



We Respond to God



Hymn of Response  # 286         Creator God, creating still  

Tune: ST. ANNE (O God our help in ages past)


    1. Creator God, creating still by will and word and deed,

Create a new humanity to meet the present need.


    1. Redeemer God, redeeming still with overflowing grace.

Pour out your love on us, through us; make this a holy place.


    1. Sustainer God, sustaining still with strength for every day,

Empower us now to do your will: correct us when we stray.


    1. Great Trinity, for this new day, we need your presence still.

Create, redeemer, sustain us now to do your work and will.

Text: © 1980, Presbyterian Publishing/Westminster John Knox/Geneva Press. Reprinted with One License A-7228



The Offering of Gifts  Prelude opus 28 no. 3 in G Major        

F. Chopin



Sung Response


Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise God all creatures here below.

Praise God above ye heavenly hosts.

Creator, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Text: © 1989, Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted with One License A-722822



Prayers of the People

            Let us pray

            Compassionate God, we gather this day in prayer to celebrate your goodness and love, and to open ourselves to the infusion of the life-giving, indwelling of your Spirit.

            We honour the majesty and mystery of your name. You are infinite and intimate, known and unknowable. You escape our feeble attempts to capture you in words, but you hold us always in your heart. Open our ears to discern the whisper of your Spirit, open our eyes to see Christ in our neighbour, and open our hearts to make room for all your creatures.

            Ground of all being, our very existence is an expression of your life. Our human diversity is an expression of your eternal delight in change and growth. As we claim our place within the web of life, make us a blessing to others.

            Word of life, who calls us from darkness into light, may the character of Christ be formed in us so that we may truly be your hands, your feet and your compassion in this broken and divided world.

            Spirit of holiness, move gently but irresistibly through our lives, our homes, our communities, our nation. Raise up what has collapsed, heal what is broken, reinvigorate what has become tired, and renew the face of the earth. Draw us beyond ourselves so we can spend our lives for others and for you.

            Righteous One, the racial tensions of the past weeks have been painful reminders that racism is present in our society and throughout time has revealed itself in many forms. We ask you to forgive us for our role in keeping racism alive through our language and in our structures. Racism exists, and it challenges the gospel message. We proclaim Emmanuel, God-with-us, knowing that to you, God, every life matters. Give us the courage, strength and perseverance needed to challenge the systems of racism that often make it clear that some lives matter more than others. Help us to understand how racism finds life in our hearts and then may we commit ourselves to be people of your way. Make us to be instruments of your peace, acknowledging peace cannot exist without justice, equity, compassion and grace for all people. 

            Gracious God, we remember before you all whose lives have been touched by tragedy, whether by accident or a deliberate act. For those who mourn: enfold them in your love and lead them through this darkness into your arms, and light. For those who comfort: be in both the words they use and all that is left unspoken; fill each heart with love.  

            We pray for those who share our life, for the ones who care for us, and for the ones who need our care. We pray for their wholeness and health.

            We remember those who are sick, at home or in hospital. We pray for Bev’s friend, Carol, who has broken her hip and must remain in hospital, isolated from family and friends. God, may there be a speedy recovery . Grant her comfort. We pray for Gini’s friend, Jim, in hospital, undergoing chemotherapy and for Nancy, a friend in the community, who is also undergoing chemotherapy. Be a healing, comforting presence to them and to those who love them during this time of pain and anxiety.

            We remember those directly affected by COVID-19 – health care providers, essential workers, the sick and their families, those who are burdened by feelings of insecurity, and those frightened by what lies ahead of them. Grant to each your peace and strengthening presence

            We pray for peace in our world. May the day soon come when all peoples everywhere can live in security and know the comforts of plenty of food, water and shelter. We ask you to pour your Spirit upon our yearning, fearful world.

            Gracious God, help us to be light to our neighbours that they might know your love and peace, and that all may know that in quietness and in trust we find our strength. We ask these things in the name of Christ Jesus who taught his disciples to pray saying,

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen



Hymn  # 290    Immortal, Invisible 

lyrics in video







Sung Dismissal



Tune and Text © 1995, Desert Flower Music/Jim and Jean Strathdee. Reprinted with One License A-722822



Postlude         Jazz Etude no. 3       

composed by Oscar Peterson


News and Notes for June 7 2020    


Please join us for a Zoom Coffee Hour at noon today.  The meeting link is in your email.


       With appreciation to Bob Tees for our reflection today, Terry Dempsey for our pastoral prayer, Leanne Tees (as always) for her musical selections, Brian Anderson for his video assistance, and to Bev Leslie who makes this service available on our website.

~Jennifer Nettleton, Coordinator of Worship

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