The Ground of our Being (May 26)

The Feast of the Holy Trinity, Year C
May 26, 2013


The Prayer of the Day for Holy Trinity

O God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
of Moses and Miriam
of Ruth and David
of Mary and Joseph;
God wrapped in mystery and wonder
who breathed life into our first parents
and your Holy Spirit into all creation;
God who loves and fathers and sends
and is loved and begotten and sent;
Help us to praise you rightly,
love you fully
and walk with you faithfully.

Some of the Texts for Holy Trinity

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

22“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
23Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth–
26when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
27When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.”

John 3:1-17:  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The Sermon

Grace to you and Peace, from God our Father and our Lord and savior, Jesus the Christ.

The Ground beneath us

I would like to ask you to do something as we begin the sermon this morning.  I would like you to close your eyes and put your feet flat on the floor if you can.  If you can’t reach the floor you can stand or use your imagination that you feet are flat against the floor.

I want you to feel the floor.  I want you to become aware that your feet are on the ground.

Now I want you to imagine that you are not in this building, but you are someplace where your feet are touching the ground.  The floor beneath your feet has become grass or dirt or rock.

I want you to be aware of that ground beneath your feet.  I want you to become aware that the ground stretches out in every direction around you.  That same ground stretches out over the hills and up and over the coastal mountains; it passes beneath groves of redwood trees with their ancient roots reaching down into the soil.  And this same ground beneath your feet stretches to the ocean where the surf has pounded it into sand.  And then that soil beneath your feet plunges down into the sea to become the sea floor, until it drops off the continental shelf and out into the ocean depths, all the way to the Marianas Trench where that rock is being pushed up from the deep.

And I want you to become aware that that ground beneath your feet stretches down into that rich farmland between Gilroy and Monterey.  That it stretches out across the east bay hills and across the valley up into the Sierra’s and from there across the desert and the Rockies and the Great Plains with the corn and wheat growing.  That earth beneath your feet rises into the Appalachians and the Smokies and the Adirondacks and down underneath the Atlantic.

And that ground beneath your feet stretches up the coast into Oregon and Washington, beneath Puget Sound and up into British Columbia and over to the Tetons and Yellowstone and Banff.  And up into Alaska where it is part of Denali.  And beneath the Bering sea and across the Aleutians and across the Russian Steppes and down through the Gobi Desert and over the Himalayas and down beneath the jungles of southeast Asia, out across Australia and New Zealand and beneath the great ice sheets of the Antarctic.  And further west across the land of the Tigris and Euphrates and the great desert of Arabia and the Sahara and down beneath the great rainforests of the Congo and the dry lands of the Namib to the horn of Africa and beneath the Atlantic to the rainforests of Brazil and the heights of the Andes.

It’s all connected with the land beneath your feet.

I want you to imagine that vastness and wonder and beauty of the earth that is all connected with that small spot upon which your feet rest.

The Life around us

Now I need you to imagine all the life that is thriving in all those places.  All the plants that are growing with their roots in that land, and all the insects that are buzzing around their blossoms, and all the creatures that are feeding on the nuts and roots and berries, and gazelle that are springing across the savannas and the cats that are stalking in the forests and the vast herd of caribou in the tundra, and the people that are digging their crops in the soil, and the children that are playing in the sand at the shore.  Feel the immensity of life vibrating through the soil.  And feel the life in yourself. And your breath going in and out, and be aware that the breath you breathe out the tress breathe in, and the oxygen the trees breathe out you breathe in.

God: the ground of our being

Now if you haven’t fallen asleep, I want you to come back here and become aware of the pew in which you are seated and the people around you and the altar that is before you and the bread and wine that are upon it.  I want you to see that it is all connected.  What happens to my neighbor happens to me.  What I do to my neighbor I do to myself.  And I want you to think about God as the ground of our being.

David says in the psalms “The Lord is my rock.” (Psalm 18 and many other places)

In Acts, Luke has Paul acknowledge that in God “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

The first chapter of John says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God…  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”  (John 1:1,3)

The psalms say that “the rivers clap their hands” and the mountains sing in praise of God, that the fields exult and “the trees of the forest sing for joy.” (98:8, 96:12)

Paul says if one suffers all suffer.  If one is honored all are honored.  (1 Corinthians 12:26)

And Paul says that the earth is groaning as in childbirth waiting for the revelation of the children of God – waiting for God’s world to be made whole, waiting for humanity’s final redemption.  (Romans 8:22, 19)

Worshiping the Triune God

We are not here this morning to talk about the Trinity; we are here to remember the Triune God.  We are here to worship this God who is the ground of our being and the life-breath within us who has revealed himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And we are here to listen.  For this God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit speaks.  He has spoken not only in the wonder of creation, but he has spoken in the words and deeds of Moses – in the act of freeing slaves, and guiding a people, and teaching them a way of justice and compassion, and giving them a land.  And this God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit has spoke through prophets to remind us of the character of God as a God who creates, who breathes life into all, who sets slaves free and feeds the hungry, and who promise to bring the earth to its redemption.  And this God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit has spoken in Jesus – again in feeding the hungry and gathering the lost and healing the broken, and in offering his life for the world.  And this God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit speaks through the Spirit who abides in us and around us, whose work it to bear Christ to us and to remind us of all that he has said.

We are here to give praise and honor and thanksgiving to this reality that gives us birth and calls us into his redemption.  That calls us into his peace, his shalom.  That calls us into his life, into harmony with him and into harmony with all creation.

Remembering the ground beneath us

What I find fascinating is that unless the sand is very hot at the beach or we are wiggling our toes in the grass at the end of a long day in the urban landscape, we are not even aware of the ground as we walk upon it.

And most of us are not aware of the ground of our being or the life-force at work within and around us.  To use the metaphor: we come here each Sunday morning to take off our shoes and remember the ground.


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