sermon 5/26/13- God Is

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Sermon preached by

The Rev. Fulton Porter,II


St. Thomas Church, Chicago, 5/26/13

Trinity Sunday

Isaiah 6:1-8, Revelation 4:1-11, John 16:(5-11)12-15




God Is



The older I get, the more that I realize that God is so much more than I can fully comprehend.  Mere words cannot express who God is, because God is beyond even language.  Christians have struggled for centuries to express, within the limitations of human language, the unique revelation God makes of his mode of existence.  We struggle because language is a finite means of communication.  Finite minds are trying to express in words the infinite truth of God.  At times we simply cannot “say” what we need to say to get at the grandeur that is our God.


Our language fails us when it comes to expressing who God is.  We do the best we can and we try to use examples to communicate who God is, but this also proves to be inadequate, because there is nothing that can compare to God.  God is incomparable.  God is truly and completely unique.  When children ask us what a new food tastes like, we compare it to something that they know.  “It tastes like chicken,” we might say of something. And although it may not be exactly what it tastes like, it is close enough for them to get the idea.  But with God, one must taste him for yourself.  There is none like God.  That is why the bible declares, “O, taste and see that the Lord is Good.”  And when we have tasted of God, there is no way to fully describe what we have experienced because language is limited when it comes to describing the limitless God.


Our language is based upon time.  And when we consider time, we speak of the past, present and future.  But God is not limited to time.  God is timeless.  God transcends all boundaries of time and we as humans can only think as time based, time limited creatures.  God was when time was not.  God stepped into time and spoke to a nebulous blob of nothingness and created.  This same God is the God who preached to what was not until what was not became what was.  This is the same God who spoke the word “let”, and all legions of possibility started to move.  And all the powers of may be got up rank on rank  Imagine with me for a moment, God said “let” and all the things that might be came rushing to the fore.  And then God said, “Let there be” and all that was not started straining to become.


God defies full description.  And so when we seek to understand God, we must look at how God has revealed himself in time; how God disclosed to humans God’s nature.  And in order to do this we turn first to scripture.  Scripture has revealed God as Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  God as Trinity may be defined as the following:  Within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.


God has revealed himself to us as Trinity.  This doctrine is fundamental to our faith, yet it is to us a mystery.  It is a mystery because we are limited in our understanding of this divine revelation that God made of himself because our understanding is limited by our finite existence.


It is said that Augustine, while puzzling over the doctrine of the trinity, was walking along the beach one day when he observed a young boy with a bucket, running back and forth to pour water into a little hole.  Augustine asked, “What are you doing?”  The boy replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.”  Then Augustine realized that he had been trying to put an infinite God into his finite mind.


God does not fit into our holes.  To understand God as trinity goes beyond the capacity of our minds.  The only way that we can truly understand God and the totality of who God is, is not by our own understanding, but by the unspeakable and indescribable revelation of the Holy Spirit.  Some things that we experience in life are indescribable and we can only communicate their effect on and importance to us by groaning.  Sometimes the only thing that will do is a tear or a shout.  Sometimes that best thing to describe our encounter with the Trinitarian God is to say Thank You Jesus for what you have done.  For how do we express love in words?  How do we express in words what we feel when we behold a majestic sunset or hear a symphony?  How do we express in words what we feel when we love someone?  We talk about our feelings but when we finish we still feel that love is more unsaid than said.  How do we describe our experiences with God?  What does it feel like to truly know that we are loved by God?  We can’t really express what we feel so we come up with words and phrases that are inadequate, but they are the best we can do, with the hope that somebody will get some glimmer of understanding about what we mean.  Sometimes all we can say of our experience of God is “It’s like fire shut up in my bones.”  Sometimes all we can say of our experience with the trinity is that “I feel joy bells ringing in my soul!”


I like to read in scriptures about how others experienced the Trinitarian God.  I heard Ezekiel say that he is a wheel in the middle of a wheel.  What on earth is that?  I believe that Ezekiel is struggling to explain the Trinitarian God in human language.  But I thank God that I can imagine that the wheels represented God’s spirit on the move for us and Jesus as the centering and guiding wheel.  I heard it said of him in the song of Solomon that he is the Lily of the valley.  I thank God that some of us know him as the lily of the valley who will not forsake us as we go through life’s valleys.  Never underestimate the importance of Christ in life’s low valleys.  Somebody said, I almost lost my mind, but I didn’t.  I almost died, but I didn’t.  I almost gave up, but I didn’t.  I almost went back to the bottle, but I didn’t.  What counts in life is what we actually did and not what we almost did.  When we are at the edge, whet kept us from going over?  Some of us know that it was that lily in the Valley.


I can understand when they described him as the Rose of Sharon.  Sharon was an open stretch of land in Palestine where anybody could travel and gather the abundance of roses that grew there.  The roses of Sharon were not shut up behind some Garden wall, but they were accessible to everybody.  We ought to thank God the trinity today that Jesus is ours, available and accessible when we are in need of his power or his comfort or his Joy!


I thank God today that I don’t need to fully understand the doctrine of the trinity to fully experience who God is.  I don’t need to know systematic theology in order to know that once I was blind, but now I see.  I don’t need to know that the Council of Nicea met in 325 to discuss the issue of the nature of God and determined the homoousion,  that God the father and God the Son were of the same substance.  Thank God that I don’t need to know that to know that my God is a way maker.


Thank God that I don’t need to know that rising out of the mist of time was a theologian named Ignatius who asserted that Jesus the Christ was Very God of Very God.  Praise God that I don’t need to know that to understand that it was the Blood shed on Calvary that washed me white as snow!


Yes God is the trinity, but I and you may not fully comprehend the greatness of this revelation.  But what we can comprehend, beloved, on this Trinity Sunday, is who God has been and wants to be in your life.  And we ought to be able to sing with James Cleveland:

God is,
My protection,
God is,
My all and all,
God is,
My light in darkness,
God is,
He is my all and all,
God is,
My joy in the time of sorrow,
God, God is,
My all and all,

God is,
My today and tomorrow,
God, my God is,
My all and all,

God is the joy and the strength of my life,
Removes all pain, misery and strife,
He promised to keep me, never to leave me,
He'll never, never fall short of His word.
I've got to fast and pray,
Stay in that narrow way,
I'll keep my life clean everyday,
I want to go with Him, when He comes back,
I've come so far and I'll never turn back.

God is, God is, God is, God is,
God is my all and all.
God is my all and all.
God is my all and all.


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