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This I Believe

On this holy day, when we are encouraged to be in awe of God- the 3-in-one and 1-in-3, I am going to engage in a double prerogative- the prerogative of the preacher to stray from the texts and the prerogative of the birthday celebrant to do what she wants. Explaining the scriptures is very important to me, and I also believe our testimonies are significant as well. 

I cannot explain the how of the Trinity to you. The only answer to how is, “I don’t know.” 

As for why, I can either say- God’s business is God’s business or I can tell you that God is bigger than our understanding, our comprehension, our imagination and can only be glimpsed- ever so fleetingly- through awe. 

Yet, I believe in God and how God chooses to show God’s self. Theology, studying God, is only useful if it actually helps us in our daily lives. I want to share aspects of my testimony, my theology, and what I believe with you today.

Here is my statement of faith for this Holy Trinity Sunday on the occasion of my 41st completed trip around the sun. 

I trust in God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. The source and ground of my being. The Rock of Ages, the Healer of our Every Ill, the Everlasting Arms. 

I believe in the God who loves people who drink beverages brewed from roasted beans, which are gross, and loves people who drink beverages made from dried leaves, herbs, and spices, which are vastly superior. 

I have seen the Lord in summer camps I have worked in and supported: Camp Mundo Vista, Agape/Kure Beach Lutheran Ministries, Camp Koinonia, Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, and Christikon. 

I rest in the Lord I saw this week when my child played on a playground in Denver with another little girl wearing a hijab, a head scarf, and a different little girl who only spoke Spanish as they all three laughed and laughed, spinning on the equipment. 

I believe in God who has given vocations to neurosurgeons, nurses, administrators, and the people in the cafeteria, especially the person who makes the really good zucchini bread with the cinnamon sugar crumble on top. 

I experience the height and depth and breadth of the love of God when I go on silent retreat, and everything is still, and I hold my breath, so the silence is even bigger. 

I experience the height and depth and breadth of the love of God when I am in the packed house of a Broadway show and we all wait for the first note of the overture and then the curtain rises, and the silence gets bigger as the audience waits in anticipation. 

God is there in the community garden when we try to get things to grow on purpose and there when we need to clean out the refrigerator and get rid of things that we grew on accident. 

I believe in the God who told Moses to take off his sandals, who wrestled with Jacob, who told Jonah, “Should I not care about Nineveh, that great city, with more than 300,000 people who do not know their right hand from their left and also many animals”. 

I believe in a God who loves those with no doubts and who loves those who are nothing but doubt. 

I believe God helps me to believe and forgives my unbelief. 

I believe in the God who heard Hannah’s prayers, who gave courage to Abigail to stand up to David, who appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden and called her by name. 

I believe in the God who blesses the vocations of morticians, plumbers, mechanics, fishermen, linemen, garbage collectors, road graders, bakers, and waiters and waitresses. 

I believe in the God who was once a refugee in Egypt and has compassion and seeks justice for the homeless, the persecuted, and the disenfranchised. 

I believe God’s holy presence in every sick person, every imprisoned person, every underclothed person, and every hungry person. 

I believe in the God of sheep, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and who hears what is said when stitches are dropped. 

I trust in the God of completed chords and the God present in jazz. 

The Lord is my shepherd, my shield, my hope, my mechanic, my resting place, and my launching pad. 

I believe in the God who made me fearfully and wonderfully and who also made Lexapro so that my brain chemistry can be what it was intended to be for my own sake and the sake of everyone else. 

I hear the voice of the Divine in the New Revised Standard Version, the Common English Bible, the King James Version, and in The Message. 

I feel holy joy when I sing ‘I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and “Do-do-do-do- feelin’ groovy”. 

I believe in the God of the Yellowstone, the Boulder, the Missouri, Clark’s Fork, the Jefferson, and Flathead Lake. 

I believe in a God who is as present in birth as in death and everything in between. 

I believe in God who gifted Michaelangelo the talent to paint the Sistine Chapel and that the same God who helps people find one or two pieces that fit in the community puzzle in the library or on a table in the parish hall. 

I believe God-inspired documents like the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, and the 95 Theses and that God grieves when we make idols of these things, rather than seeking the freedom, justice, peace, and wholeness that they inspire. 

I believe God knows how much I love books and God also knows that I will likely never read all the books I have, and God knows that I will not stop buying new ones. 

I believe “What a Friend we have in Jesus” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord”. 

I believe that the aspects seen in cults and cultish communities- secrecy, inequality, closed doors, hidden information, and hierarchical knowledge are not of God, not in keeping with God’s will, and are very harmful. 

I believe that, in this world, there is enough for everyone if we are all willing to ask for God’s help in releasing our desires for control. And I believe God hears and answers that earnest prayer. 

I believe that we are helped to pray. 

I believe that God revealed God’s self in the person and ministry of Jesus the Christ, the eternal Word with skin on, but also that God has and does reveal God’s self in other ways. I have been given the gift of faith to trust in and follow Jesus in whom I have confidence as the Savior of the world. 

I do believe the words of Paul that the love of Christ has been poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and it is through that love that we can withstand suffering and help others to do the same, that we can endure the pain of the world and help others to do the same, that we can share our testimony and help others to do the same, and that we can have hope and help others to do the same. 

I believe that the same God who is present to us in communion today is present in every bunker, closed house, and refugee shelter holding Ukrainians who are praying together for freedom and a future. 

I believe in little c catholicism- the universality of the Holy Spirit and her power to bring creation out of chaos and prayerful communities together in the most adverse circumstances. 

I believe that we are lucky that God’s economy of self only has three expression- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that we are blessed that those three expressions pour forth in love in so many ways. 

I believe each of you could write an essay like this, and should, and we would still not cover the fullness of God’s nature. 

I believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who made us, loves us, and guides us, who draws us together here, increases our faith, and goes with us out into the world to help us witness in word and deed to all we believe is true.  

This I believe.

 Holy Trinity 

12 June 2022

Big Timber, Montana


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