First Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Ordinary Time
Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1–5; Doctrine and Covenants 165:1c–d, 2d–f
Sharing of Congregational Joys and Concerns
Pray over concerns and joys expressed.
Welcome and Invitation to Worship
Leader: Our Lord is magnificent over all the earth!
People: Above the heavens God is glorified!
Leader: Out of the mouths of children you have founded a barricade, a secure and safe place.
People: When we look to the heavens, we see the work of your fingers,
Leader: The moon and stars are in their places;
People: When we look at ourselves, we wonder why you are mindful of us.
Leader: You have made us a little lower than God,
People: And put us in charge of your world.
All: How majestic is your name in all the earth!
—Psalm 8, adapted
“Come, Holy Spirit, Come” (sing twice) CCS 154
“Santo, santo, santo /Holy, Holy, Holy” CCS 159
Encourage people to sing in languages other than their own.
OR “Spirit Fill Us” CCS 160
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 165:1c–d
May we continue to hear your voice calling us to be a people of peace, may we listen for you with open minds and hearts for opportunities to be the beacon of peace in our communities and families. May we act in faith as we step into action to live lives as peacemakers, may we serve humbly and reflect Christ’s mission in our day-to-day encounters with others. Amen.
For more ideas, the Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn of Peace
“Lord, Make Us Instruments” CCS 364
OR “Let Justice Roll like a River” CCS 288
OR “Let There Be Peace on Earth” CCS 307
Spend time in silent prayer reflecting on the following questions and statements which should be projected or printed:
- What do I need to confess?
- What do I need to let go of?
- Lovingly forgive yourself of what needs to be forgiven.
- Humbly accept God’s forgiveness.
Triune God, the psalms said that we were created a little lower than God, but it feels much lower than that. We come before you today confessing that we have created a greater distance.
Please guide us as we try to turn things around again. Help us to once again praise your name for all to hear. Forgive us, we pray, for not being who you created us to be. Amen.
Scripture Reading: John 16:13
Read the book, Zip, Zip...Homework by Nancy Poydar (Holiday House, 2008, ISBN 9780823420902). Just as the scripture told us that the Spirit of truth will guide us into the truth, Violet found people to guide her in telling the truth. Violet also experiences grace when she tells her teacher a lie.
- Why did Violet tell a lie?
- Who guided her into telling the truth?
- How did Violet experience grace?
OR Choose several persons to demonstrate the game, “Two Truths and One Lie.”
How to Play the Game
This game can be played with any number of participants, doesn’t need any supplies, and is very easy for all ages to play. Choose any method to determine who goes first such as the oldest, the youngest, the one who has the nearest birthday or the one who traveled the farthest to get to church today. Follow these simple directions:
The first player shares three statements about themself with the group. Two of the statements will be true and one will be a lie. Each player determines the order of their statements—two truths, then the lie; or truth, lie, truth; or a lie followed by two truths. Ask each of the other players to vote on which statement they believe is false. The player then reveals which one was the lie.
How did it feel to intentionally tell a lie?
Did it feel any different to speak the truth?
Were there any telltale signs that someone was lying?
Were there any giveaway signs that someone was telling the truth?
In our daily living, how might we be guided to recognize the truth?
Hymn of Reflection
“Spirit of Christ, Remember Me” CCS 221
OR “Lord, Lead Me by Your Spirit” CCS 209
OR “Christ Be in Your Senses” CCS 579
Based on John 16:12–15
Disciples’ Generous Response
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2d–f
Stewardship Principle 6: Spend Responsibly
Responsible spending is a commitment to live a healthy, happy life together with God and others. The teachings of Jesus challenge us to make lifestyle choices that are often countercultural.
Needs and Wants
Prophetic counsel guides us in making choices: Avoiding items we don’t really need is in harmony with whole-life stewardship and helps us become living testimonies (paraphrasing of Doctrine and Covenants 147:5b). Our spending should focus on meeting our needs and satisfying our wants in moderation. A need is required to sustain life. A want is something extra that we can live without.
The cultural pressures to live a certain way and own certain items can create insatiable wants. In contrast, God does not expect disciples to live austere existences, giving up all earthly pleasures. God wants us to benefit from both the material and spiritual gifts in the world.
Responsible spending allows us to take part in Christ’s mission. We can uphold Community of Christ identity, message, mission, and beliefs by making wise buying choices while engaging with companies that reflect the values we uphold. Being an informed consumer is an important part of whole-life stewardship.
—excerpted from Stassi Cramm, ed., Choose Generosity, (Herald Publishing House, forthcoming).
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.
Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Hymn of Guidance
“Touch Me, Lord, with Thy Spirit Eternal” CCS 574
OR “Church of Christ Now Poised Anew” CCS 373
OR “Holy Spirit, Teacher, Friend” CCS 181
We have faith in you.
We witness the peace of Jesus Christ through your forgiveness.
We have access to your grace and stand in your presence again.
You gave us your Spirit, your wisdom, and your love.
We stand in awe, grateful for such gifts, because your love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
With hope, we ask for your Spirit’s continued guidance. Amen.
—Romans 5:1–5, adapted
“Go with Us, Lord” CCS 612
OR “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” CCS 664
OR “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” CCS 554
First Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Sunday, Ordinary Time
Exploring the Scripture
This passage takes place in the upper room where Jesus is with his disciples for the Last Supper before his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus says in John 16:12, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” We see his compassion for the overwhelming emotions his words have brought to these much-loved companions around the table. With the perspective of time we have as readers of scripture today, we may wish Jesus had continued to speak! However, the promise of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is comfort both to those first disciples and to us today.
What follows is a declaration of continuing revelation. Jesus tells us he will continue to communicate. The Holy Spirit will come and speak what is heard from Jesus. This Spirit, referred to as “Spirit of truth” (v. 13), will guide the disciples. This passage expresses the intimacy of the Trinity. Jesus reminds us everything that belongs to the Father belongs to Jesus. And the Spirit will declare that which belongs to Jesus belongs to disciples.
Interpretation of this passage, with John 15:26, is also one of the sources of a controversy that divided the early church. The question concerned the source of the Holy Spirit. The Council of Nicaea, in 325 CE stated the Spirit “proceeded” from God alone. But in the eleventh century a council revised this to read that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father and the Son.” The disagreement over the doctrine of the Holy Spirit divided the church into the Eastern Orthodox (from God alone) and Western Roman Catholic (from God and Jesus) churches. Human words are frail containers for our understanding of God. Perhaps ambiguity and questioning are more important than our ability to be certain.
Shining through this text is the loving intimacy of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit which is extended to us through the presence and witness of the Spirit. We have lived to experience the work and witness of the Holy Spirit throughout generations of disciples just as Christ promised. We are not alone to discern truth. Continuing revelation has been and will be witness to and hope in the journey as disciples.
- The promise of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is comfort to the first disciples and to us today.
- God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit form a community in loving relationship that is extended to us through the continual presence and work of the Holy Spirit.
- The Spirit’s work of witness to truth fulfills the Christ’s promise of continuing revelation to each generation of disciples.
Questions to Consider
- How has the Holy Spirit witnessed to you of the invitation to know the triune God in deep and loving relationship?
- When has the Spirit’s work of continuing revelation affected your life? Your congregation? The worldwide Community of Christ denomination?
- How does the promise of the Spirit bring you hope?
- What is your understanding of the Trinity? In what ways does the description of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as a community in loving relationship expand your understanding?
Small-group Worship Suggestions
John 16:12–15 NRSV
The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.
The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.
Trinity Sunday is observed the Sunday following Pentecost. Christian tradition celebrates the doctrine of the Trinity, God who is experienced in three persons. God is Creator (traditionally identified as the Father), Jesus Christ is the Redeemer (the Son), and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter or Sustainer. In other words, God is one and three. From Community of Christ Basic Beliefs:
We believe in one living God who meets us in the testimony of Israel, is revealed in Jesus Christ, and moves through all creation as the Holy Spirit. We affirm the Trinity—God who is a community of three persons (www.CofChrist.org/basic-beliefs).
Prayer for Peace
Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.
May we continue to hear your voice calling us to be a people of peace.
May we listen for you with open minds and hearts.
May we seek opportunities to be the beacon of peace in our communities and families.
May we act in faith as we step into action to live as peacemakers.
May we serve humbly and reflect Christ’s mission in our day-to-day encounters with others.
Dwelling in the Word
Read the following aloud:
This excerpt from the book, Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich tries to encompass the meaning of the Trinity. Julian of Norwich was a Christian theologian who lived in the 14th century.
I will read the excerpt from Revelations of Divine Love aloud. As you listen, allow words, images, or phrases to come to your mind. Try not to focus on them. Simply allow them to rest in you.
After a moment of silence, I will read the excerpt a second time. As you hear the excerpt again, listen for how God’s Spirit calls you or captures your attention.
And I saw no difference between God and our substance, but as it were, all God; and still my understanding accepted that our substance is in God, that God is God, and our substance is a creature in God. For the almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us, and he keeps us in him. And the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we are enclosed. And the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. And the Father is enclosed in us, the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Spirit is enclosed in us, almighty, all wisdom and goodness, one God, one Lord.
—Julian of Norwich,
Revelations of Divine Love, chapter 49
Pause and then say: As I read the passage again, consider the question, “How does God’s Spirit call to you or capture your attention?”
Read the excerpt a second time.
Invite group members to share responses to these questions:
1. What words, phrases, or images came into your mind?
2. How do you sense God’s Spirit calling you?
Sharing Around the Table
John 16:12–15 NRSV
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Sometimes, we reach information overload. Though all the information we need may be right in front of us, sometimes we simply cannot process it all. This seems to be the case with today’s passage. For the writer of the Gospel of John, God is fully and completely revealed in and through Jesus (1:1). Also in John, Jesus told the disciples that he had “made known to [them] everything that [he] had heard from God” (15:15 NRSV). Yet, in this passage he says he still has many things to say to them that they cannot currently “bear.” It’s just too much to absorb. We see his compassion for the overwhelming emotions his words have brought to these much-loved companions around the table.
For this reason, Jesus again assures the disciples that the “Spirit of Truth” will come and guide them into deeper understanding over time. Jesus is clear that the Spirit will not speak anything new. Just as Jesus has shared all that (and only that) he has heard from God (8:26; 12:29; 14:10; 15:13), so will the Spirit (16:13). The promise of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is comfort to those first disciples and to us today. We need not understand everything all at once. Our growing understanding of God is a journey, one for which God has provided a guide and companion.
As we read this on the first Sunday after Pentecost, also known as Trinity Sunday, we should note that the loving intimacy of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit shine through. This intimate relationship is extended to us through the presence and witness of the Spirit, and it is brought to life in the relationships we build with one another as co-journeyers in the body of Christ. We do not discern truth alone. Continuing Revelation has been and will be witness to hope in our journey as disciples.
- When have you experienced information overload in your life? On your faith journey?
- How does the promise of the Spirit’s continued presence bring you hope in times of “overload”?
- How does the description of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as a community in loving relationship inform your faith journey?
“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.
Pray with me:
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Three who are one, may we offer our resources to you that they may be used to share loving community with those seeking respite, connection, purpose, and love. May our generosity bring blessing and further the mission of Christ. Amen.
Invitation to Next Meeting
CCS 62, “Womb of Life and Source of Being”