Weekly Bulletin

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/25

Sunday, August 25, 2019

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 16/11th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-29
Gospel Reading: Luke 13:10-17

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

We have a limited view of ourselves.  We hang on to that fear that God is not nearer than the next breath.  We hang on to our isolation.  But God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

Jeremiah had to step up and step out.  Jesus stepped up and stepped out.  Jesus stepped into the reign of God when he did not wait for the right day.  Jesus stepped into the reign of God when he did not wait for the woman to ask for help.        

Jesus saw the woman.  Jesus helped her.  Jesus stepped out of the old norms and expectations and stepped into the reign of God where the world was repaired in the healing of the woman.  It was the new possibility and not the old limitation that God brought about in Christ.

It is the way of the cross.  The limitations of the world do not count—it is not the limitations of the world that have the last word.  That last word become the first word in God’s raising up new life from the limitations of the world.  We are that new life in the world.  We are that possibility and through us we can have confidence that God goes before us and God’s word will come through.

God is with us.  In our baptism we have been called, appointed, and consecrated.  We have been set apart and God is with us—before we were formed God was already with us.  When we live into that we are becoming the disciples God calls us to be.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
PTF General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/252019-08-19T17:46:10-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/18

Sunday, August 18, 2019

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time / Proper 15 / 10th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Gospel Reading: Luke 12:49-56

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

This Jesus confronts us with the harsh reality that there is something for us to do.  We are to pay attention.  We are to do more than look to the sky to see if it is clouding up for a rain.  We are to pay attention to our lives. 

To pay attention is to attend to our lives.  We attend to our lives by making decisions constantly about how things will work for us.  We don’t just get up in the morning and wait and see what comes along.

We are to get up.  We are to set our minds on Christ.  We are to determine and discern how God will have us be in the world and what God wants of us in our living.  We are to challenge ourselves and we are to challenge each other to live into the call of God for us.

That will not make for an easy life.  The easy way out is always to do what makes people happy.  The easy way out is to do what makes for peace in the family.  The easy way out is to keep the peace.  But keeping the peace is not the goal—keeping faithful is the way that leads to life.

Living into that faithfulness involves making deliberate decisions.  It involves our putting our whole selves into it.  We cannot make deliberate decisions by just letting life happen.  The Jesus of Luke’s Gospel here is a Jesus that demands we attend to really being a player in determining how we will live.

Hard decisions are always part of the Christ-like life.  We will be called to make hard decisions over and over again.  It won’t be that we make one today and we’re good to go for a year or two.  We are called to make hard decisions over and over again.

Will we go along with the crowd?  Will we speak up when see injustice?  Will we just be quiet and stay in our corner thinking that no one will notice, or at least not notice this time? 

Making hard decisions is done daily.  Will we take the easy way out?  Will we go the hard way?  Will we live with integrity?  Will we do it even when no one is watching? 

God has expectations of us—Jesus does not let us off the hook of paying attention to those expectations.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
PTF General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/182019-08-12T11:07:09-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/11

Sunday, August 11, 2019

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 14/9th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Gospel Reading: Luke 12:32-40

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

Faithfulness.  It is about faith, and it is not about fear.  The consistent message of scripture is that we need not be afraid—oh, how we need that message in a culture rife with anxiety and fear.

We are called to faithfulness.  As such, it is a call to be ready.

How do you get ready?  How do you be prepared?  What is it that you prepare for?

There is so much fear—it is impossible to escape.  “Jesus’ teaching offers an extraordinary word of comfort in an increasingly threatening world: ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’” (v. 32)

The consistent message throughout the passage is not to be ready so that you will avoid punishment, but rather “be ready so that you will receive blessing.”

God’s providence enables a response that runs counter to the human propensity to be afraid…

God’s good pleasure = God’s delightful decision.

Is an invitation to an orientation that life is an abundant gift from a generous God—a gift that can be given away with abandon…

Faithfulness calls for us to be open to God’s delightful decision to be oriented toward us.  In that, the power of fear diminishes. 

May such be “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not (yet) seen.”

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/112019-08-05T11:26:27-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/4

Sunday, August 4, 2019

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 13/8th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Hosea 11:1-11
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

The writer of Colossians says: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Yet, the writer of Colossians here says, in essence, “Picture it…”  “Picture your life not as you are headed toward death.  Picture it, you baptized people you, that you have already died in baptism and you have been raised up to this new life.  That picture is to become a portrait of this life where we set our minds, as he puts it, on ‘seek(ing) the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.’”

It is a wonderful picture of our lives—that we have been raised up.  As those raised up ones, we can set our minds, our lives, and our actions on that which is above—we can set ourselves on Christ. 

This is why when the world looks at us, they should be getting a question on their faces.  How is it that we can be so positive, so up-beat, so hopeful in the world that we are in?  How is that possible?  It is possible because we not only have “set our minds on things that are above,” but because we are taking confidence in that which is above. 

The picture of our life that we project to the world is different.  For many in the world it is just a march to the grave.  For us it is a march to victory.  Look at that portrait of your life and see how you have been and have the opportunity to live with the view of life as resurrected and secure.

It is what the writer of Colossians means when he says that your “life is hidden with Christ in God.”  That is about security.  Your life is secure through Christ in God.  We are not held back but can live this full life in Christ with this incredible security that God-so-has-us!!  Picture it…your life with Christ in God.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/42019-07-30T14:19:42-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/28

Sunday, July 28, 2019

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 12/7th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Second Reading: Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Oh, those Colossians!  They needed to come back to their relationship with the living Christ and ask themselves about the vitality of that relationship.  They needed to do that over and over again.

We are the Colossians in our church and our lives.  We can get distracted by many things.  We can get involved in many day-to-day activities that call our attention away from what really matters.  We can get absorbed into success and survival.  In both our lives and our church we will fluctuate between striving for success and then in our moments of desperation striving to survive.

God calls us neither to success nor survival.  God calls us to keep coming back our relationship with God and those whom God loves.  The challenge is to emerge from the success and survival race to the resurrected living of a vibrant relationship in Christ.

Paul’s invitation to “continue” matters much.  The distractions are abundant, yet the task is clear—keep coming back to that which matters.  Remember your baptism and wonderful reality that you are in Christ.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/282019-07-22T13:29:42-04:00

UNRELATED BUSINESS INCOME and a Noodle Company

UNRELATED BUSINESS INCOME
and a Noodle Company

In recent months I have spoken to many churches and written about Unrelated Business Income.  As a reminder, Unrelated Business Income is income from an activity that is a trade or business, is regularly carried on, and is not substantially related to furthering the exempt purpose of the church.  For example, renting parking spaces for special events; renting space on the church property to a for-profit school; a bookstore which sells more than just bibles, crosses, Christian education books.  Unrelated Business Income is based on how the income is EARNED and not on how the income is USED.

Now, why do we have to worry about this income?  Well it is because of a noodle factory. 

In 1947 a couple of wealthy alumni donated the Mueller Pasta Co. to the NYU School of Law.  The profits from the noodle company were used successfully to refurbish and expand the Law School and the funds became so important that the main hall on the campus was nicknamed “Noodle Hall”.

Controversy appeared when it was discovered that NYU was attempting to maximize profits by extending it own tax-exempt status over the pasta business.  Finally, in 1950 the Congress passed a law limiting the extension of tax exemption only to organizations that were relevant to the original tax-exempt body.

So, our churches have to pay unrelated business income tax because of noodles.

Because of this noodle tangle the policy of the Presbytery is that all lease with FOR-PROFIT organizations must be approved by the Presbytery prior to a lease being signed.  And just remember that just because an organization is named something that sounds NOT-FOR-PROFITy does not mean that it is.  Before signing any lease please ask the renter for a copy of non-profit status and check on the status of the corporation on the Florida Sunbiz.org website (http://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/).

 

 

This information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

UNRELATED BUSINESS INCOME and a Noodle Company2019-07-15T18:34:28-04:00

EMPLOYER AGREEMENT – The Board of Pensions

EMPLOYER AGREEMENT
The Board of Pensions

The Annual Employer Agreement for 2020 will be available on Benefits Connect July 15 through October 11, 2019.

This is the annual opportunity for you to review, select, and change the benefits offered to your employees.  The 2020 Employer Agreement must be completed by 10/11/2019 even if your church is not changing any of the selections.

The benefits offered are:

  • Medical Plan (PPO, EPO, and HDHP options)
  • Dental Coverage
  • Vision Eyewear Coverage
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Retirement Savings Plan
  • Pension Plan
  • Death and Disability Coverage
  • Group Term Life Coverage

There will be a live webinar from The Board of Pensions on Monday, July 22, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET regarding the benefits available, how to access Benefits Connect and your Employer Agreement, how the Employer Services team can assist you, and how to use the flexibility of the benefits offerings to support your church’s staff.  The webinar is already closed but will be recorded and made available on The Board of Pensions website after the live event.

 

This information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

EMPLOYER AGREEMENT – The Board of Pensions2019-07-15T18:27:17-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Out Hearts for Sunday 7/21

Sunday, July 21, 2019

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 11/6th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-28
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

There is a way to read this story that Martha is active, and Mary is learning.  It becomes a dichotomy of action over intellect.  While that is a way to read the story, it may miss the point that Jesus wants to make with Martha.  It is not that study and learning are preferred over action.  Faithfulness involves both learning and doing.  Faith is more than a noun it is also a verb—it is active—it involves both sitting at the feet of Jesus and attending to the needs of others.

The real issue is seen in the unsettled nature of Martha.  In the story she is about as unsettled as can be while Mary is settled.  Mary is not only settled she is intentional.  She has made an intentional choice.  Mary’s intentional choice is to be taking in this moment when Jesus is there and learn all she can from him.

Martha has not made intentional choices—she has just been going on with the flow of how things happen.  She has been the unintentional victim of “life happens.”  And the unsettledness of that comes out in the clear hostility she demonstrates towards her sister.  Hey, we always demonstrate our deepest frustrations on those closest to us.

You see, the intentional choice that Mary has made is all about Jesus.  The unintentional choice that Martha has made is that this is all about Martha. 

The words of Jesus to his disciples are clear: “Follow me.”  We are told that James and John left their nets and followed.  They made an active choice.  They did not just let life happen they made an active choice—it was an intentional choice.  May we make intentional choices in our life in Christ.  

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Out Hearts for Sunday 7/212019-07-15T10:05:37-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/14

Sunday, July 14, 2019

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 10/5th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Amos 7:7-17
Psalm 52
Second Reading: Colossians 1:1-14
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

Jesus turns to the lawyer and asks him, “Which of the three was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of the robbers?  The lawyer responds, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Yes.  The right answer.  Jesus tells him, “Go and do likewise.”

We are not the lawyer.  We are that one on the road.  We are that one who has been left there.  And God is the one who comes along in Christ and through the cross binds up our wounds and takes us in to care for us.  God is the one who saves us.  God is the one who meets us on the road when the rest pass us by and pass us over.

We are the ones who have been rescued.  As such the challenge to the lawyer is the challenge to us too.  “Go and do likewise.”  We are to be that neighbor.

Of such is the call of God.  Of such is the makings of our apostleship in Christ.  It is what it means to be baptized and to be called into faithfulness.  It is what it means to be Christian.

For Amos there was that prophecy of the plumb line.  Things were literally crocked and that which is crocked will not endure.  A structure that is built out of plumb or out of “true” is one that will not last.  We find our “true” not by drawing the line but by realizing that God has so drawn us in that we are rescued on the road.  We are the saved.  We have been drawn on the God side of the plumb line.

Our mission…our opportunity is to “go and do likewise.”

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/142019-07-05T15:18:06-04:00

ADA Compliance and the Church

ADA Compliance and the Church

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which took effect on January 26th, 1992, is a federal law aimed at providing “a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities”.  

The two basic areas covered by the ADA are in employment and construction of and access to buildings and transportation.   With respect to construction, the ADA exemption of religious organizations and religious entities controlled by religious organizations is very broad, encompassing a wide variety of situations.  Religious organization are not exempt when it comes to employment.

Employment

Churches may be required to comply with the ADA in the employment context if it (1) has 15 or more employees and (2) affects interstate commerce.  The 15 or more relates to the number of people on payroll as opposed to those actually working on a given day.  The interstate commerce can be minimal, and the ADA is triggered.  Thus, activities such as using interstate communications, soliciting out-of-state employee applicants, or receiving out-of-state donations can be considered sufficient.

A church subject to the ADA should not take comfort in dismissing the law as having little relevance to it as long as the church does not engage in what it considers to be discrimination.  This could be a grave mistake.  In addition, employers have a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s disability, and a duty to engage in a good-faith interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations.

Construction

All facilities, programs, and activities of a church, whether they are religious or secular, are exempt.  If a church holds an event or program , which is open to the public, it is exempt.  The religious entity’s exemption does not extend to a non-religious tenant.    If the church leases space to a for-profit entity the for-profit entity will be covered by the ADA and subject to all its requirements.

Website or App

There has been a recent trend in lawsuits targeting websites and apps for their failure to comply with the ADA.  In 2016 – 240 lawsuits, 2017 – 814 lawsuits, 2018 – 2,258 lawsuits.  Many of these are settled quickly for cash.  Churches are EXEMPT from compliance with the public accommodations of the ADA. 

So, enough said.

No, not really.  Religious entities are not required to comply with the Federal ADA rules but there are state and local codes which might apply.  And, we may want to accommodate people with disabilities and allow them access to the church.

Call The National Organization on Disability – Religion and Disability Program at 202-293-5960 for more information.

 

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

ADA Compliance and the Church2019-07-01T15:06:57-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/7

Sunday, July 7, 2019

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 9/4th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Psalm 30
Second Reading: Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

Freedom from and freedom to.  The July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence is a statement of radical freedom from the powers of tyranny.  It is freedom from Britain.  But it is also freedom to…it is freedom to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Naaman’s story is a story about freedom from and freedom to.  Yes, he was freed of his leprosy, but such was not the freedom of the story.

Once Naaman lets go of his sense of entitlement he’s free to see who God really is.  The God who restores his life.

It says in Luke that Jesus sent the seventy ahead to the places he intended to go.  Where you go…God sends you there ahead.  You go ahead of Christ with the love of God in you: “Peace be to this place.”  “The presence of God has come near you.”

In the cross of Christ, we are the sent ones.  Our freedom is not merely a freedom from but a freedom to.  We are freed to be the people of God.  We are freed to be the presence of Christ.  We are freed to inhabit the world with love.

We are even free, in the words we hold dear: to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

We are, in Christ, free at last.  Free form our sense of entitlement and free to be in this relationship with God.  In God, in Christ, we are “Free at last, free at last.  Thank God, Almighty, free at last.”

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 7/72019-07-01T14:27:45-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/30

Sunday, June 30, 2019

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 8/3rd Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
Second Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Gospel Reading: Luke 9:51-62

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

We long for the days of Elijah, when the Word of the Lord was clear and strong and vivid.  We want leaders—we want elders and deacons and pastors who are the new Elijahs.  And leaders in the church want other members to be Elijahs too.  Filled with clear, strong, vivid Word of the Lord.

But here we are.  Here we are on the other side of the whirlwind.  Here we are on this side of the fiery chariot.  And Elijah is gone, and we are left.  Who are we?  We are Elisha.

We are Elisha.

We are not quite sure how we got here.  We are never quite sure that we know where we are going next or that anyone knows where we are going next.

We are Elisha.

We have been on this journey from our own version of Gilgal to our own version of Bethel and then on to our own Jerichos and the Jordan too.  Here we are over here and then there we are over there.  We are Elisha.  We are not quite sure how we got here and not quite sure where we will go next.

But, BUT…in the Spirit there is enough in us to know that we pick up that mantle and we dress ourselves in it.  That mantle is the presence of Christ, and when we are taken up with that, we do not miss…we follow.

That mantle is Christ, and when we are taken up with him, we are, “fit for the Kingdom of God.”

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/302019-06-24T19:15:26-04:00

Housing Allowance

For now, the clergy housing allowance is safe!

For those of you who have been following the fight by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to invalidate Section 107(3) of the tax code provision permitting clergy to receive an annual housing allowance – THE FIGHT IS OVER FOR NOW.    At this time the FFRF has decided not to appeal the Seventh Circuit ruling to the US Supreme Court because they do not feel the Court would rule in their favour.   The FFRF hopes to preserve their ability to bring future legal challenges to a more sympathetic Supreme Court. 

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the 65-year-old benefit is worth a combined $ 700 million annually.  At the local level, the housing allowance is the single-most valuable benefit to clergy.

With this in mind, all pastors with a housing allowance should review their 2019 housing allowance designation.  If the housing allowance is clearly below actual housing expenses, the pastor should consider asking the session to declare a larger portion of the his/her remaining compensation as a housing allowance.

Housing Allowance2019-06-21T15:25:57-04:00

Church Loans or Loan Guarantees with the Presbytery

Thank you to those churches who have sent documentation regarding your insurance – commercial, flood, and windstorm – your 2018 annual financial reports and your pledge to the ministry of the Presbytery.  Your prompt attention to this requirement is much appreciated.

As a reminder to all churches with loans/loan guarantees –

The terms of the loan/loan guarantee is that the Presbytery will receive annually:

  • Year End Reports
  • Documentation showing insurance on the property – commercial, flood, and windstorm
  • Tithe for Shared Ministry work done by the Presbytery

The documentation for insurance can be easily obtained by calling your insurance agent and asking for a Certificate of Insurance.  If the Presbytery is listed as a certificate holder the insurance company will automatically send this form every year at the time your insurance renews.  As a matter of your own convenience, we suggest adding the Presbytery as a certificate holder.

If you are not sure if your church has sent this information, please contact me at susanc@tfpby.org or 954-785-2220 x 4.

Please call me with any questions about this and about any other way in which we can help your church.

Susan Carpenter, Financial Administrator

Church Loans or Loan Guarantees with the Presbytery2019-06-25T11:21:11-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/23

Sunday, June 23, 2019

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 7/2nd Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: I Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a
Psalm 42 and 43
Second Reading: Galatians 3:23-29
Gospel Reading: Luke 8:26-39

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

The Sunday following Trinity Sunday begins the long stretch of time that extends to Christ the King Sunday (this year November 24) where the liturgical color is green, and the time is referred to as “ordinary.”  Yet, it is not “ordinary” as in humdrum, but ordinary in the sense that it is normal.  During this normal time in the life of the church, we live into the mission of God and grow the church.  Green is the symbolic color for the growth of the church.

This week there is that wonderful text from I Kings 19.  In Elijah, we see ourselves and the church.  As one reads this chapter it is as if one could replace Elijah with The Church Where We Serve.

Elijah (The Church) may be frustrated, tired, worn out, BUT he (The Church) is not done.   God still has a plan and a job for Elijah to do.  Elijah may be frustrated for sure, and he does not have to give up that frustration, BUT he is not allowed to give into it.  God will not let him give into his frustration.  There is work to be done. 

Run away from it all.  Sure Elijah, sure—not too bad of an idea.  We so often want to just run away from it all.  Enough already!  We can want to, but we do not have to.  We can run, but God will not let the work that God has called us to do go.

God has called you to a specific task.  And God has called The Church to a specific task.  And God has called us together to a specific task (go, baptize, heal, reconcile, forgive, love, feed, nurture, clothe, serve, give…).  There is no running away from it.  That task is all about building community.  That task is loving each other.  That task is keeping with each other and lifting each other up so that we together can stand tall.  That task is not done.  God calls us to come together, God calls us to serve the needs, and God calls us be in each other’s lives.

There is work to be done…and Christ sets us to it.  “Follow me,“ he bids us.  And so, like Elijah, we get back up and GO!

 

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

 

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/232019-06-17T15:04:03-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/16

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Trinity Sunday

First Reading: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5
Gospel Reading: John 16:12-15

The liturgical color for the day is: White

With the Day of Pentecost last Sunday, we now encounter another liturgical fest day—Trinity Sunday.  It is the last festival day prior to Christ the King Sunday in November.  The celebration of the Sacraments is appropriate on Trinity Sunday.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a human construct.  It is an attempt to describe the indescribable.  It is a way of trying to make sense of the incredible mystery which is the divine/human encounter.  All our understandings of God seek some sort of classification, some sort of clarity, some sort of pigeon hole that will satisfy our thirst for clarity.

There is something false about such making sense when it comes to describing God.  God is always beyond.

Trinity is a way of opening up the consideration and conversation about God.  God is always beyond.  God is way more—well more beyond our considerations, imaginations, boundaries, more…

The text from Proverbs invites us to ask what the role of Wisdom is—Holy Wisdom—another way to frame an essence of God.  The Second Reading from Romans is a description of the reconciled life that we receive by grace alone that characterized by peace and hope even through suffering.  In the gospel reading from John, issue of revelation and truth are at hand, yet those who chose texts for the lectionary like selected this text because of the trinitarian nature of the passage.

The new Connection Commentary (I highly recommend it, Westminster John Knox Press, 2019) says of the lection from John: “What is pronounced in this brief passage is the sense that the triune God is a living God who is an active agent.  God is the subject of active verbs!  The triune God sends, comes, teaches, acts, speaks, chooses, intends, and promises.”

On Trinity Sunday, we might preach about the doctrine of the Trinity, but the text warrants that we preach more on the God who is the active verbs among us giving us life.  This God sends, comes, teaches, acts, speaks, chooses, intends, and promises.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/162019-06-10T11:48:38-04:00