Pastoral Message for Trinity Sunday (7th June)

Dear friends

One of the things that has really struck me during this period of lockdown, is just how much more time there has been to appreciate the beauty and the wonder of the creation around us.  In life before lockdown I would often spend several hours each day rushing from place to place across the District in the car.  Much of that time would be spent on our motorways but there were often occasions where I was driving through beautiful countryside, but with no time or opportunity it seemed, to stop and enjoy my surroundings.

In these days of working from home and only getting in the car once a week to travel to the supermarket, I, like many of you, have been none the less busy but nevertheless there has been ample time to take some exercise each day and that has often meant a walk around the village where we live in York.  It’s been wonderful to become aware of some of the surrounding area that I had never had time to visit before and to be able to stop and appreciate the views, the trees, the flowers and of course the wonderful bird-song that is no longer drowned out by all the traffic usually trundling through our village on the way into York.

This slowing down and paying attention gives us more time to think and to ponder and to ask questions; questions like those asked by the writer of the psalm in today’s lectionary readings – Psalm 8.  Who am I?  Who are we as human beings in relation to the wonder and the beauty of the creation around us?  Who are we in relation to God?

The response to that question which the Psalmist penned is one which comes through loud and clear – we have been made a little lower than God and the angels and we have been crowned with glory and honour.  So in a few brief sentences we move from a sense of insignificance in the face of the creation around us to a recognition of our place in the created world.  These verses remind us that our relationship with God is not one in which we are on equal terms, but neither are we merely servants.

So, on this Trinity Sunday, this Psalm helps us to see that we can grow in our understanding of ourselves and of our awesome, mysterious God through revelation and through relationship.  One of the ways in which God chooses to communicate with us and reveal himself to us is through his glorious creation.  This psalm reminds us that as we pay attention to the creation around us the proper response is awe and wonder at what we see and experience but also at the one who created all things.

Recognising our place in the creation helps us to catch a glimpse of our Creator, but in the creation we not only see great beauty, but also much brokenness, much of which has occurred because of the way in which we human beings have treated that creation.  Thankfully in these lockdown days, we are seeing how some of that brokenness is being restored as our reduced travel and movement has given us less opportunity to inflict damage upon the beautiful world around us.

But God himself doesn’t want to see his creation come to harm and so in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh, he came to live among us and reveal something of himself to us.  He came to restore and reconcile us and the whole world to himself.  In Jesus, we come to know and understand that the God who made us and everything around us is also the God who wants to draw us back into a relationship with him and with his creation over which he has given us responsibility.

So, we experience God our creator as he reveals himself to us in creation and in the person of Jesus, and we also experience and know God through our relationship with Jesus, made possible by the Holy Spirit.  We are Trinity people!

We come to know God the Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Creator, Saviour and Sustainer through revelation and relationship.  And in response to all that we experience and know of God, he calls us to love him and also to care for his creation and one another.  In these days, as lockdown continues in some measure, may the time we have to pay attention to all that is around us, prompt us to care more deeply for all those around us and for every part of your creation.

So, as God’s Trinity people, may we all rejoice to be among those who know and show “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Every blessing,

Gill Newton, District Chair