Trinity, Year B

Musical Reflection
You and the Father by Radar Brothers

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Invocation

Enfolding God,
Trinity of love,
you are our source, our goal, our life:
may we be born again in you
no more to live
alone and unconnected,
but sharing in the Spirit’s breath
and carried to your heart;
through Jesus Christ, who lifts us up.
Amen.
First Reading
The African Burial Ground
by Yusef Komunyakaa
They came as Congo, Guinea, & Angola,
   feet tuned to rhythms of a thumb piano.

      They came to work fields of barley & flax,

livestock, stone & slab, brick & mortar,
   to make wooden barrels, some going

      from slave to servant & half-freeman.

They built tongue & groove— wedged
   into their place in New Amsterdam.

      Decades of seasons changed the city

from Dutch to York, & dream-footed
   hard work rattled their bones.

      They danced Ashanti. They lived

& died. Shrouded in cloth, in cedar
   & pine coffins, Trinity Church

      owned them in six & a half acres

of sloping soil. Before speculators
   arrived grass & weeds overtook

      what was most easily forgotten,

& tannery shops drained there.
   Did descendants & newcomers

      shoulder rock & heave loose gravel

into the landfill before building crews
   came, their guitars & harmonicas

      chasing away ghosts at lunch break?

Soon, footsteps of lower Manhattan
   strutted overhead, back & forth

      between old denials & new arrivals,

going from major to minor pieties,
   always on the go. The click of heels
      the tap of a drum awaking the dead.

Second Reading
Healers
by Sophie Collins
I encountered a scaffold
outside the Holy Trinity Church in Vladimir, Russia.
At first I didn’t notice her
slumped against the side of the church —
she was pretty small for a scaffold, pretty un-
assuming. Her safety mesh
was torn in places and sun-bleached all over
and threatened to dislodge
due to a forceful wind that was typical
of the season. She was shaking.
She was fundamentally insecure.
She told me that good foundations are essential
and that the men who had put her together
hadn’t taken advantage of the right opportunities.
Now, each day, someone came by
called her “unsafe” and also “a liability”
then left, failing to initiate the dismantling process
that yes would have been painful
and slow, but kinder.
International visitors to the church
blamed her for the mess of tools and rags
on the grounds and for the fact
that they could no longer see
the church’s celebrated mural
depicting Saint Artemy of Verkola
unusually pious
highly venerated
child saint killed by lightning.
His dead body radiated light
never showed signs of decay
and was in fact said to have effected
multiple miracles of healing.
I said comforting things to the scaffold
but she only seemed to lean more heavily
against the side of the church.
We are rarely independent structures she said
before she dropped a bolt pin
which released a long section of tube
which released another bolt pin
which released several wooden boards
that scraped another tube
and made an unbearable sound.

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Gospel Reading
John 3:1-17

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with them.”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kindom.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter my mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kindom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”

Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up so that everyone who believes in the Human One will have eternal life. Yes, God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One, that whoever believes may not die, but have eternal life. God sent the Only Begotten into the world not to condemn the world, but that through the Only Begotten the world might be saved.”

Musical Reflection
Son of a Preacher Man by Janis Joplin

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Trinity Prayer
by N.T. Wright, adapted

Abba almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
set up your kingdom in our midst.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God:
have mercy on me, a sinner.

Holy Spirit, breath of the living God:
Renew me and all the world.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Thou, The Breathing Life of all,
In the roar and whisper, in the breeze and the whirlwind, we hear your name.

Help us let go, clear the space inside,
Creating a holy place within for your light to shine.

Unite our “I can” to yours,
So that we walk as kings and queens with every creature.

Your heart’s fervent desire then acts with ours.
As in all sound and light, so in all creatures on the earth.

Give us the food we need to grow through each new day.
Produce in us the wisdom and understanding we need at each new stage of our lives.

Help us to let go of our past, the hidden guilt of our failures,
Just as we consistently release others of the knots of their guilt.

Let us not become lost in busyness, in the surface appearance of things. But free us from what holds us back.

May abundance, fertile power, and glorious harmony return again and again, in each new age. May this be the ground from which all our actions grow. Amen.

 

Musical Reflection
Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum


Blessing

May the Spirit be the storm
that shakes the foundations,
the leap of new fire,
which turns oppression to ash;
may her wildness seduce us
with holy desire;

and the blessing of God,
the Lover, the Beloved and the Love,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Roy Lichtenstein

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection You and the Father by Radar Bros

Poem The African Burial Ground by Yusef Komunyakaa

Poem Healers by Sophie Collins

Musical Reflection Son of a Preacher Man by Janis Joplin

Prayer by N.T. Wright

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, transliteration by Neil Douglas-Klotz, personalized by Virginia Melroy

Musical Reflection Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum

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