2 Cor 13:11-13
by Rev. Niza Joy Santiago, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, doctoral candidate and scholar of Missionsakademie, Hamburg (Germany)
SECTION ONE: NOTES ON THE READINGS
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 to what God has created. 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.
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.
As Jesus was about to leave the disciples and ascend to the heavens, Jesus commissioned them to preach what he had taught them – spread the good news of God’s love, make disciples and baptizing 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 were these words used? 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 the rest of the creation. But now that COVID-19 has stopped humankind from moving, the earth was able to breathe. In this pandemic, many people suffered and died, many have lost their jobs, are hungry and are worried for themselves and their families. This pandemic has shown us how imbalanced the world has become. 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.
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.
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.
by Rev Niza Joy Santiago, Philippines / Hamburg (Germany)