Mødested Amager

Fællesskab, tværkulturel dialog og kulturmøde
Mødested Amager på fjerde sal i Kvarterhuset

Sermon for Trinity Sunday, June 7 2009 by Marianne Bach

We have just celebrated Pentecost. Pentecost is the feast that earth and Heaven are forever united. It is the feast that God in his Spirit can be present everywhere and at all times: we are not alone! And it means that God who created life, and who in Christ restored life, will fulfill it in the Spirit. And nothing can stop God at work: it will be fulfilled!

The vine is an image of the unity between Heaven and earth, and it includes us! Jesus uses the vine as an image and says: "I am the vine tree, and you are the branches. Remain united to me and I will remain united to you". I love the image of the vine tree which assures us that we are connected to Christ like branches to the trunk. And that assures us that therefore we will bear fruit. It is so important to hear that we are not alone and that we alone must not uphold ourselves and create the meaning of our lives. God has already given it meaning by making us part of his great work and plan. We were baptized into this unity - in our baptism we hear that we are grafted into Jesus - and baptism is our security that nothing can separate us from him and his love for us.

The Spirit is what holds the tree together in unity: us with Jesus. The Spirit flows through it all and brings the tree to blossom and bear fruit. The Spirit inspires all and makes life intense and real. Spirit is what makes life truly alive. Nature around us in spring is a powerful image of that. When we think of the difference between nature in winter when it is greay and lifeless and then how it in spring bursts into life in all it abundant forms and colors. That is like the difference that the Spirit does to life. A friend of mine once said, that she was sorry that the symbol of Christianity was the dead tree of the croos and not the green, living tree. But the dead cross of Easter becomes the living tree. That is what we celebrate at Pentecost. It is the feast of life revived!

We are one tree with Jesus, and the Spirit causes that. It means that the Spirit overcomes all differences that could separate us. It does not mean that we should become alike, but that we shall become one. That whether we be man or woman, rich or poor, smart or not so smart, pretty or not so pretty we all belong to one tree. And whatever culture and color we are of, we all belong to the same body. It is good that we are different because a living organism lives by is differences and variety. One needs the other, and all are needed. And together we shall bear fruit. Drawing from the vine tree we shall produce fruit. The fruits of the Spirit that are love, joy, peace and patience.

Anf where do we see that happen? One example of the Spirit at work through us is the reconciliation that took place in South Africa after years of apartheid and suppression of the black part of the population. Desmond Tutu was bishop and played a great role in the reconciliation process. Reconciliation was not that the past was forgotten, but that former enemies took the decision together to look to the future and work to make the changes towards a peaceful co-existence. Tutu has written a book called: God has a dream. An important thought for him is that we as people are God's co-workers. That things do not happen without God, but that we must be vehicles for them happening. He has a strong faith that God is at work combined with the conviction that we are workers for God's plan, too. It is a most life affirming event that is was possible to make a united society out of the situation in South Africa.

Another example of how the Spirit unites people is from my time as a pastor in a suburb here in Cph. There was a man in his 80'es in the congregation that I was very fond of. He was a very astute, bright, and interested elderly man. He came faithfully every Sunday for service, and he always came alone. His wife had for the last 30 years been at a rest home, suffering from severe dementia. He also faithfully visited her every afternoon, even though it is questionable that she recognized him. Then I was invited for their golden wedding anniversary. She sat very nicely dressed in a wheel chair beside him. And then he rose and talked with gratitude about what they had had together. He told about their early years and how they had met, and he said: you should have seen her then. And then he said: we can no longer talk together - but we still have the language of the heart to communicate. I was very moved to hear it, and I think about it as an example of what the Spirit can do in people's lives. He still had eye for who she was even though her faculties were gone, and the language of the heart was still alive.

In a similar way the Spirit reminds us of Jesus and what he did. The Spirit keeps J alive for us and present with us. And it secures that we do not forget the language of the heart which is also the language of the Spirit. Should the world forget the language of the hearts, we would be bad off. That is what keeps us alive as human beings, that makes us truly human.

Today is Trinity Sunday. Trinity means the triune God. It means that we believe in one God, who is three-in-one. God as creator, God as redeemer, and God as life-renewing. These three sides of God all will the same, namely bring all creation into loving unity with God. Amen.