Sunday, June 9, 2019

Trinity Sunday C Readings & Commentaries

1st Reading:  Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
The Book of Proverbs proclaims that a reasonable God has made a reasonable world.  It makes that case sometimes in logical prose, but sometimes, like in our reading this morning, in poetry.  In later ancient Israel’s life, “Wisdom” came to be a personification of the divine will. The word “wisdom” is a feminine word in Hebrew, so this figure is usually referred to as “she.”  Many of her attributes are picked up in the New Testament to speak of the eternal Son and his work, particularly in creation.

8:1 Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out:  “To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. 22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. 23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—26 when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world's first bits of soil. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.

Canticle 13:  Song of the Three Jews 29-34
In place of a psalm today we have a passage from the Apocrypha which serves as one of the canticles in The Book of Common Prayer.  “The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men” are additions to the book of Daniel (a section that appears in Greek versions of the text, but not in the original Hebrew).  This passage is the beginning of a long song that the three men sing (Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael), from inside the fiery furnace, where they are unharmed. The final verse is a doxology added to the canticle.

Glory to you, Lord God of our forebears; *
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; *
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you, beholding the depths; *
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
              we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Or this

Psalm 8
Psalm 8 is the first hymn of praise in the psalter.  It follows four psalms of lament (4-7), each of which call on people to praise. Psalm 8 is that praise. It begins and ends with a refrain.  “Governor” could be translated “ruler” or “sovereign.”  The primary reason given for praise is God’s creative work, including the making of humankind.

1 O Lord our Governor, *
              how exalted is your Name in all the world!
2 Out of the mouths of infants and children *
              your majesty is praised above the heavens.
3 You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries, *
              to quell the enemy and the avenger.
4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, *
              the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
5 What is man that you should be mindful of him? *
              the son of man that you should seek him out?
6 You have made him but little lower than the angels; *
              you adorn him with glory and honor;
7 You give him mastery over the works of your hands; *
              you put all things under his feet:
8 All sheep and oxen, *
              even the wild beasts of the field,
9 The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, *
              and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
10 O Lord our Governor, *
              how exalted is your Name in all the world!

2nd Reading:  Romans 5:1-5
Paul has just finished arguing that we are justified by faith. In chapter 5 he begins to explore what it means to be so justified.  A new life is the result, one characterized by “peace.”  We are also able to live in hope despite our sufferings.  This is a reading for Trinity Sunday because all three persons of the Trinity are present in this short passage.  The Trinity is not proved by Scripture, but is evident in it.

5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Gospel Reading:  John 16:12-15
In this brief passage from John, a picture of the Trinity emerges:  The Father, creator and giver; Jesus, the interceder and sender; the Holy Spirit, glorifier and teacher.  This passage is important in that it suggests that divine revelation is not finished with Jesus’ time on earth, nor with the Scriptures.  The Holy Spirit is always leading us into truth, which the Gospel writer John understands to be living and personified in Jesus, not in any way static.

16:12 [Jesus said to the disciples,] “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 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. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.  The Psalm translation is from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2019 Epiphany ESources, 67. E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for congregational use.  Bulletin inserts are available. Go to our website for more information.

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