Sermon preached at Mattins on Trinity Sunday (16th June 2019) by the Revd Helen O'Sullivan, Chaplain

Today at the Cathedral View More
12:00pm Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Evening Prayer
5:30pm Cathedral closes

Sermon preached at Mattins on Trinity Sunday (16th June 2019) by the Revd Helen O'Sullivan, Chaplain

On Trinity Sunday, the Chaplain reflects on the mystery of the Trinity and the love in which we are held.

This Sunday, Trinity Sunday, celebrates the ineffable, unutterable, incomprehensible, reality that is God. God that we dare to call Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

And there is, in my opinion, no better place in the world to hear this morning’s readings than here at St Paul’s, as we grapple with the notion of a power on which all creation depends, and in which, all creation finds - both it’s source - and its destination. And in which, we discover the desire to know us, and to be known by us.

The monumental scope of St Paul’s, its space, and its capacity to hold us (each and all) in the here and now, and simultaneously to draw us (each and all) into an encounter - with something beyond time and space - is just what is needed when we pause to give honour to The Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

The authors of our readings Isaiah and John are amongst the prophets and evangelists, depicted high up there in the arches around the dome, and they are depicted with angels around them. Men in time - but glimpsing - that their story is part of a greater cosmic reality. And something of the visions of this other reality, the bigger picture they saw are to be found in the mosaics that we see towards the east end.

Perhaps you can just see for yourself the Lord sitting high and lofty at the east end, surrounded by angels and archangels. 

Our finest churches and cathedrals are of course designed to help us to experience something of the reality that our story is part of a bigger ‘other’ reality through worship which seeks to lift our hearts and broaden our vision of what that which is, and was, and ever shall be. 

We have already experienced the rumble of the voice of the organ and the vibrations in the air as the voice of the choir travels through the length of this great cathedral, as our canticles and psalms give voice to the glory of the one; 
who is our strength and our salvation, 
that maketh the thunder and ruleth the sea, 
the one to whom cherubim and seraphim continually do cry.

And we see the seraphim and cherubim holding up the saucer domes in the quire and keeping watch like sentinels over the congregation and (if you were here at 6 o’clock this evening), clouds of incense would fill the dome. 

And we see in the quire the sun and the moon and the stars, depicted with the creatures of the earth and sea and sky; all giving glory to God by virtue of their being. Splendour, beauty, and something like or at least suggesting creation perfected is all around us.

Oh woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 

It is no wonder that in John’s vision the people call on the mountains and the rocks to ‘fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne’. So completely unworthy are we to be the object of divine love and grace - and yet - because we are part of the created order, we are created precisely to be the object of that love and grace. 

And so in an hour’s time we (the unworthy) will join in that heavenly Holy Holy Holy as we give thanks in our Eucharist.

You are worthy our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power for you created all things and by your will they existed ad were created.

How do we - when we manage to capture something of this awesome mystery - of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Almighty, and the wonder that this God calls us in love - to know and be known, - how do inhabit it - or rather let it inhabit us, and find expression in our being, changing us, transforming us - to the glory of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Goodness I find it difficult and most difficult with myself and with other people. It’s somehow easier to be brought to awe and wonder at the glory of creation in the rest of nature - we relatively rarely glory in our own or anyone else being! We are - I am - just too quick to judge and to criticise ourselves or others when I should always first and foremost simply marvel and give thanks.

But when I talk about us being unworthy, I don’t want us to be downhearted or to feel bad about ourselves, because we are after all only human, but it is an awesome thing, a thing most wonderful (as the hymn puts it) that the Lord of all creation, that we know worship today as the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, loves me and loves you. Loves us with a love that cannot be measured, or equalled because it is boundless, bottomless, unending and unconditional.

Trinity Sunday does this for me, it brings me face to face with that reality; that a power greater than anything I could possibly imagine, has me - and you - in its sights, and wants us to comprehend the love in which we are held. 

And when we finally, perhaps after a lifetime of Trinity Sundays, have the grace to comprehend ourselves in this way, as precious to the Lord of All Creation, then perhaps we can begin to transmit that joy to others in a way that will draw us, each and all, into the vision of creation perfected that we have before us today.

Let us pray;

We praise you O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord, all the earth worships you, all powerful Lord, and saviour, Spirit of Love. You reveal yourself in the depths of our being, drawing us to share in your life and your love. One God, three persons, be near to the people you formed in your image, close to the world your love brings to life, and may the grace, love, and fellowship, of the glorious and blessed Trinity be with us all evermore. Amen.