Genesis 1: 1-2:4a
2 Corinthians 12 11-13
Matthew 28: 16-20
Exodus. 34:4b-6, 8-9
SECTION ONE: NOTES ON THE READING
The Bible is opened with the creation story that presented who God is – the almighty and compassionate creator of everything. Paying attention to creating what else could complement each created being, God created everything considering the inter-relatedness and interconnectedness of the whole creation. God created everything by simply saying – through God’s words with the exception of human beings as God, as they were formed from the dust and breathed life into (2:7). God created human beings in God’s own image and charged them to be fill the earth and rule over the animals. Human beings were created with special attention and intricacy – fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet, does this make us better and holding more power than the rest of God’s creation? How are we supposed to read this where nature and the created beings are not devalued and does not need to be ruled over by human beings? How should we read this text in the lens of ecological justice and healing?
This Psalm, also believed to have been written by David, proclaims praise to God for God’s power shown by the majesty of the stars and moon as well as God’s favour and love to human beings. Using the imagery of war and kingly reign, the psalmist expressed his thanksgiving for God’s protection and deliverance. The psalmist lifts up humankind in saying that God made human beings little less than a god, crowning our head with glory and honour, and master of over all creation. This psalm however, rings of toxic masculinity, superiority and pride. Reading this text in this time of war and violence, how could we preach and witness justice, reconciliation, and peace? How has our crowns, glory, and pride contributed to the violence and destruction that we are experiencing today?
As Jesus was about to leave the disciples and ascend to the heavens, Jesus spoke to them telling them to preach what he had taught them – spread the good news of God’s love, extend the invitation to learning together and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In saying this, Jesus acknowledged the diverse characteristic of God, the trinity.
SECTION TWO: DRAFT SERMON/SERMON OUTLINE
Subdue. Rule over. Dominion. Why were these words used? It’s as if the rest of the creation is subject to us, putting humankind above them and having power over them. And this has what we, the humankind has been doing. We have been ruling and having dominion over the rest of the creation and look at what has become of our rule. We have become greedy and has exploited God’s creation. We have killed animals and drove them to extinction. We have taken more than what we can consume.
Subdue. Rule over. Dominion. Why these? How about: Love. Take care. Respect. If these words were used, would our behaviour towards the rest of the creation be any different?
Interconnectedness. Interrelatedness. Interdependency. There is a need for us not remember Jesus’ life and teachings which is love. Jesus came to this world to remind us of this. We were so preoccupied with subduing, ruling over and having dominion over others not just the animals and plants but we also tried to do so with our fellow human beings.
This interconnectedness, interrelatedness and interdependency is also exhibited by God’s characteristic. God is a community in Godself – Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. They all have distinct personhood and characteristics and yet are one.
In Andrey Rublev’s artistic interpretation of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Trinity is depicted as three distinct persons wearing distinct clothes occupying space and having space in between them. This space implies that each holds a distinct identity to which were made known to us, throughout history – God the Father in the Old Testament, God the Son in the person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and God the Holy Spirit who was with the early church and with us today. Three distinct personhoods yet are one, sharing the image of love, justice and peace. Three distinct persons and yet are interconnected, interrelated and interdependent.
In this time of internet and easy and fast connection to the rest of the world, our way of life has been disconnected from and apathetic towards our neighbours and the rest of the creation. COVID-19 has forced us to stop moving and with this, the earth was able to breathe. COVID-19 does not pose such a threat to us anymore, but many are still suffering and dying, many are still losing their jobs, are still hungry and are still worried for themselves and their families. It’s as if the pandemic has not killed enough of our fellow human beings that we have decided to wage war against each other. In this age of connectivity, we are ironically disconnected to the realities that divide human beings as well as our disconnection with the nature. In this age of connectivity, we only see ourselves and how we can better our lives. In this age of connectivity, we only think about our survival at the expense of others. In this age of connectivity, our idea of progress and development is killing animals, cutting trees and exploiting the nature. It’s not COVID that kills us, it’s our greed and apathy.
As we celebrate the Trinity Sunday, celebrating the diversity and unity of Godself, let us assess ourselves and find the connection that we have with others – fellow human beings and the whole of creation. Let us not exempt ourselves from the web of life, for we are part of it. We are affected if we distort and disrespect this web, as we are experiencing now.
Let us recognize the space that we occupy and the space that we share with the rest of the creation. In recognizing this space, let us become mindful of our fellow creation and not become greedy and take more than what we can consume leaving others with less and the rest with nothing. In recognizing this space and becoming mindful of others in everything that we do incarnates the love of God and becomes the realization of the fullness of life for all. Let us recognize this space and work towards healing.
SECTION THREE: ADDITIONAL MATERIAL
Adiprasetya, J. and Sasongko, N. (2019), A Compassionate Space Making: Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Friendship, http://repository.stftjakarta.ac.id/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Joas-Adiprasetya-Uji-Similarity-Ecumenical-Review-2019.pdf accessed May 29, 2020.
Rev. Niza Joy Santiago
Rev. Niza Joy Santiago, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, doctoral candidate and scholar of Missionsakademie, Hamburg (Germany).