June 12, 2022 John 16:12-15, Psalm 8 A Reflection Elizabeth Escamilla
Thank you for inviting me to speak today. I want to say that these last few weeks that we can be with you are very special to me. Even though Paul chose to retire rather than the bishop moving him doesn’t make it any less sad to leave. I will miss you all.
Let’s begin. Today is Trinity Sunday. You have probably heard the words “in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.” – the traditional Trinity. Today’s scripture readings are not stories, but rather descriptions — one is about God, another Jesus. One reading is about the Holy Spirit and the Old Testament passage is about Wisdom, Sophia. I believe Trinity Sunday is about imagining God as wonderfully complex, as more than just one idea.
For today’s sharing, I’m going to share just a few of my own experiences from the last four years in light of Trinity Sunday.
First let’s think about God. Often, when I think about God — I think of creator. We used Psalm 8 in our opening call to worship today. During these last few years, I have learned to cherish God’s creation each and every day in my own neighborhood. The redbud trees outside the church, the grand bald cypress trees that line the River Walk, a red cardinal at the birdfeeder, the morning light on the leaves as the breeze blows, an evening sunset. God created the earth and saw that it was good. Wow! When I feel far away from the God I can look at the good earth and take a deep breath. Then, I am ready to draw near to God.
Then, of course, besides all those wonderful things there’s the babies. New life. Not just my Grandbabies. In the last four years, each child at Laurel Heights has been a great gift to Paul and I and to this church. Thank you to the Moms and Dads for sharing that new life with us and with the community.
God as creator means that God is creative. Not just in the past tense, but today God creates and is creative. Judy Davis had a favorite song with the phrase, You make beautiful things out of the dust. In the past few years sometimes I felt like dust – not wonderful fertile soil with compost and lady bugs and worms, but just dry dust.
Like in the song I wonder if a garden could come out from this ground of me, the ground of the church, yet God makes beautiful things out of dust and out of us. Here at Laurel Heights, I have seen the beauty that God has made out of you, out of me, out of my husband, Paul and out of us together as church. Alleluia! Thanks be to God, the creator.
Next is Jesus, the Son of God. The person that walked this earth. What does that mean, that God walked the earth and knew all that was human. This morning, I want to remember Jesus as brother and friend. He was like me. These past four years, I’ve had some grief. A close friend died to Covid. My mother died. Other people close to me had crisis with their own griefs. My heart was heavy. In our faith, we are not alone. Jesus has been there.
As Christ’s followers we also are in fellowship together. You, too, have been there and many of you stood by me especially when I was grieving Mom. This is our God. The same God that is so creative he gave each little baby 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, that God is Jesus who gets it, when we are hurting.
Sometimes we refer to Jesus as redeemer. Once there was someone who said such amazing things and did such wonderful things that people began to follow him. One day when they asked him he said, “I am the Light”. In these past four years or even four weeks, our society has had some dark times – mass shootingss, war, refugees, a pandemic, racism, violence, winter storms and wild fires. Yet, Jesus, our redeemer, says in John 8:12 that if we follow Jesus we won’t walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Thank you God for always being brighter than the darkness. Thank you, Laurel Heights for being that light of life for me when the darkness seems vast. I have seen you greet immigrants at the bus station. Pray, write notes and visit the sick and those in need in this congregation. Teach our youth the best ways to live and that they are beloved. I’ve seen you show up in the parking lot or at church under the bridge to feed hungry folks. I’ve seen you read books to wiggly children. So much light. Each of you individually shines that light also in your families and neighborhoods and workplaces. I will carry these memories with me.
The last person of the trinity is the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I think of the Holy Spirit as the spirit of God that is in each of us, the God we feel as calm presence, as peace or comfort. Last week on Pentecost, Paul told us that the Holy Spirit could be a comforting fire. I also think of Holy spirit as power. When I feel small, afraid, or not enough, the Spirit comes with all the power of the resurrection to give me strength.
But today’s scripture shows a different view of the Holy Spirit. The gospel lesson talks about the Holy Spirit as truth and in the old testament lesson we read about Sophia – wisdom. Listen.
From John 16 – “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” and from Proverbs 8 –
Doesn’t Wisdom cry out and Understanding shout? Atop the heights along the path, at the crossroads she takes her stand. “Listen, for I speak things that are correct, my mouth utters the truth.” Wisdom is better than pearls; nothing is more delightful than she.
The bible says the Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth. I like that phrase guide you into truth. Some things are not black and white but need the Holy Spirit to guide us through. Like many of you I had many life changes in the last few years. While in San Antonio I had three different jobs teaching English to speakers of other languages. I needed that wisdom to be a teacher.
Our family had changes – Our children and are parents had various challenges. We needed the Holy Spirit’s wisdom.
At Laurel Heights we weathered Covid and we needed that deep and holy guidance.
Now, that Spirit of truth is also the Spirit of power and the comforting Spirit as we both move forward. The Spirit of truth that has been with God since the beginning will guide you and Lisa and Laurel Heights Church in your next chapter to be alive and vibrant, full of light and love. The Spirit of truth that has been with God since the beginning will guide Paul and I in our next chapter, also to be alive and vibrant, full of light and love.
Finally, there is a thread the weaves through the triune that I haven’t addressed yet. In I John chapter 4 it says God is love, and that we love because God first loved us. Each of the triune – God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are love. So as we draw near to God, as we expand how we imagine God, we draw near to love.
It is in this love that we go. We love because God first loved us.