‘Participation with the one who saves all Creation’?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Romans 8:17
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if perhaps we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

            To participate with the Trinity, to have a relationship with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that is what it is to be a Christian. It’s similar to any other relationship, I’m a Woolies customer if I shop at Woolies, and I fail as a Woolies customer if I go to IGA. If I never take time to spend with my wife I hurt our relationship, if I neglect to teach my children I fail as a father, if I insult my father I sin. This is part of what Paul is getting at today, and Isaiah certainly felt his failure, ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ So a question on this Trinity Sunday is, how is your relationship with our Triune God?

            Do you fail to care for our Father’s creation? To follow in His steps, to create beauty like the sunset and cultivate life in the world around you; to take charge of what God has put under your care, like the Garden to Adam? Do you look to the work of God’s hands to save you, your mind, wealth, government, medicine, all these good gifts. Do you look to them to save you instead of our Father who created them? Child of God, how is your relationship with God our Father?

            And with His Son? Jesus came down from heaven, conceived, born of Mary, escaped to Egypt, grew up in a poor, rough area, saw His adoptive father die, preached, healed, brought light to this dark world, yet rejected by His people, family and friends, flogged, crucified and died for you; then rose to glory and now rules for your salvation. Every breath He breaths for you, and how do you receive it? Do you thank Him for His love, praise His Almighty work of salvation every moment He lives for you? He freed you from slavery to sin, and the desires of your body; do you live in that freedom, or do you run back to the cage?

            My dad had a budgie before I was born, it lived in a cage. This budgie was so used to the cage, felt so safe there, even when dad took him out and put him on top, he’d fly straight back in. Good for a bird owner, good for a slave owner, but also too often a sad reflection of our relationship with Jesus who freed us.

            As Paul wrote, if you live according to the flesh, the old sinful ways, you die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practises/habits of the body, you will live. And so how is your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Do you breath together with Him, do you walk in step? Or do you walk your own way, following after some other goal, some other god? You know the gifts the Spirit brings, forgiveness/separation from your sin, your guilt and the peace that comes with, love not just of God, also from us, the truth of this broken world, the truth of you and of God’s work for you. How The Triune God relates to you, as we confess as one in the Creed, simplistically in creating, saving and transforming you. And that wonderful transformation from a slave to sin, to a child of God, it is not painless, like hard exercise, like puberty, like pregnancy, we suffer when we change.

            We suffer as we leave the way of life under sin, as we die daily to our flesh and rise to new Life to God in Christ. To kill those desires and thoughts that lead us astray, those habits, those hurtful reactions. Yes we suffer from others too, from those who don’t understand, those who hate Jesus, and those who have been hurt by the sins of the Church. And we also suffer in ourselves. It hurts to reject the desires of our bodies for the sake of others, and yet the Holy Spirit rewards us with peace and contentment, knowing we showed God’s love to another and walked in step with Jesus. It hurts to break old habits and form new ones, especially when we fail; yet we hear Jesus again declare, ‘I forgive you’ the Holy Spirit giving us strength to live our New Life and our Father smiling on us and sustaining us. It hurts to let God be God, in charge of my life, to give and take all things; to rely fully on the mercy of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit. And yet as we do, living in this wonderful relationship with our Triune God, we have life.

            That life created by the Father, won by the Son, and given by the Holy Spirit; so that I can say with Him, you are children of God, co-heirs with Jesus, and have received the Holy Spirit. Live with Him together, suffer with Him together in this broken world, so that we may all be glorified with Him together in the Revelation of the New Creation.

            The peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now unto His glorious Coming. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.