God’s Children Can Bake A Cake

Romans 8:12-17

Today is Trinity Sunday. If I am honest, I have to confess that it is not my favorite Sunday on the Christian Calendar. In fact, it is the one I look forward to the least. It reminds me of how little I know about God and how ill equipped I am to speak about. It shows up every year and every year I take my swing at it. Rarely do I make contact. Rarely do I say something about God in three persons, blessed Trinity, that actually seems substantive and worth hanging on to.

It comforts me a little to know that I am not the only one. A pastor friend told me this week, “We don’t do Trinity.” I said, “really, why?” “It’s cliché,” she said. Interesting, even tempting, but playing the cliché card just did not seem right to me.

As much as I complain about it and dread it, there is something satisfying about Trinity Sunday for me. If nothing else, it reminds that God is large and mysterious, really large and really mysterious. Imagine if I could answer all your questions about God. That would not mean that somehow I had been transformed into a theological wiz. No, it would mean that I was talking about something decidedly smaller than God, someone not nearly so complex as the one who separated the light from dark and named one day and the night. No, if I am explaining God to everyone’s satisfaction, we are talking about one who reach is not able to hang the stars in the sky and to set the planets in motion. No, if I am giving definitive answers about God, then we can’t be talking about the one who loves all of us as she loves each of us and loves each of us as he loves all of us.

All of that to say, that God is mysteriously complex. Anyone who tells you otherwise, has likely gotten comfortable with a scaled down, compact version. A God, as Anne Lamont reminds us, probably hates all the same people they do.

I can always count on Trinity Sunday to remind me just how far beyond my ability to explain God is. That inability is comforting. Not so much that I am incapable, but that God is so unexplainable. It is comforting to be reminded that at the end of all my questions and yours, all my words and yours, all my thoughts about God and all of yours, God is more. God is more than we can say about God. God is more than we think about God. God is more than we can dream about God.

Nevertheless, being human, we try anyway to do what cannot be done. Hoping and trusting that God, the Holy Spirit shows up and helps us to make sense of what is clearly beyond our understanding. One of the reasons we try is because, in the church, we have such a long history of trying to speak about the triune God. The list is long of the ways that we have gotten it wrong, or decided we had it wrong, or thought we had it wrong. Monarchianism, Subordinationism and Tritheism, just mention a few, led to and provided a framework for all sorts of misguided thinking about God.

Yet, the church kept at it. Generation after generation, from the first one on, the church has endeavored to put words to the idea of one God who is distinctly three.  For that reason, among others, I keep at it and encourage you to do so as well. For by doing so, we are connected to that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before. In their seeking to know God and in their being know by God, they have not been able to let go of this idea of trinity. So it is their legacy to us, their testimony of who they have known God to be.

“The traditional language for the Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For many, however, the traditional language is a hindrance to the intimacy of their relationship with God.  They note in particular that the tradition incorporates only male language for God, and seek to incorporate other images which point to broader understandings of the substance and characteristics of the Holy Mystery which is our Triune God. “Giver, Gift, and Holy Spirit”;  “Maker, Lover, Keeper”; “Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, Mother of All”; “ Creator, Christ and Companion are ways that Christian continue to explore new ways of expressing who we have experienced God to be.

In Exodus chapter 33, we read about an encounter between Moses and God. Moses wants to see God’s face. God decides that would be too much for Moses. However, God does allow Moses to catch a glimpse of God’s back. I am reminded of the privilege God granted Moses when our read our text from Romans this morning. It is nowhere near a full blown explanation of trinity, but it is a glimpse. It is a glimpse of God who loves us. The God who made us can’t stop loving us and cant bear to be separated from us. So that God takes on flesh and comes to dwell among us, live us, die for us, ascend from us to intercede for us. Yet, that God, refusing to leave us alone comes to us as comforter, guide, teacher, companion. Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit.

For what purpose, to make us God’s own. Nothing delights the heart of God like being with us, being connected to us.

Quinton William Farmer- Story.

Will posted this invitation on Facebook yesterday:

Let’s all pretend we’re at the dinner table together… I want to hear the most positive part of your day.

I’ll start… I got to use the forklift for my tractor, cut rafters for the chicken coop, and ate pizza with my crew!

His father replied with this:

I got a great phone call from my son! It made my heart smile!

So it is with God, our heavenly parent. Nothing delights the heart of God like being connected to us, all of us.

Which reminds me that sometime during the current term of the United States Supreme Court a decision will be handed down in the Masterpiece Cake vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Do businesses that serve the public have to serve all the public? Seems simple doesn’t it. Of course they should. Then again, it is a thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides. Jack Phillips is the owner and cake artist at Masterpiece Cake. To hear Jack tell it, he welcomes everyone in his shop and is happy to sell whatever is on the shelves to whoever wants to buy it. BUT, the wedding cakes are different to him anyway. To him, they works of art that come from his heart. Because Jack believes that marriage is for opposite sex folks only, he thinks he would be being dishonest if he tried to create a cake for a same-sex couple.

One way or the other a decision will come down. The court will decide either that if you serve the public you have to serve all the public or the court will decide that there will be some sort of religious exemption. That is what it will be called if the court rules in favor of Jack, a religious exemption. Businesses will be able to refuse service to those who do not want to serve on religious grounds.

What a cruel irony. Cruel and ironic because God never claimed such an exemption for Godself. God looks at each of us and all of us, made in the image of God, and God says again and again I so love you, I so love you I am sending my son for you and my spirit to lead you. Led by the Spirit of God we are children of God. If children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. How could God turn one of us away? When God made us, fearfully and wonderfully knitted us together.

I miss being able to see our boys regularly. I miss having them around. But there are advantages. I would never have done what I am about to do, if they were not 16 hours away. I am going to share three pictures with you. Just pass them around. Only one them is a picture of a person who is in the room with you today. As you look at them, I think you will see that each of them bear some resemblance to the other two.

Now I do not know what it is about us human beings that causes God to say “Can you see the resemblance? Can you tell that she is my daughter, that he is my son?” However, I do believe that is exactly what God says about each of us. I believe God longs for us just as Mothers and Fathers long for their sons and daughters. I believe that God demonstrated that most fully and completely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I believe that the Spirit of God is with us in this very moment so that we might know that love and more to the point that we might know that God would never refuse us that love.

1450- Missing Children. God is longing for each of them because each of them bears the image of God. Each is beloved of God.

That is the God the world needs to hear about. That is the God we worship, celebrate and share.

We have our work cut out for us. Depending on how the Court rules in the Masterpiece Cake case it may get even harder for us. If the SCOTUS grants a religious exemption to businesses that will be just one more occurrence of being of being discounted for those already are discounted, of being rejected for those who already are rejected, of being excluded for those who already are excluded.

So if the court does grant a religious exemption for bakeries that do not want to serve everyone, then we are left with no choice but to start baking cakes. How else will the world know that our God is a God who has no exemptions, That our God, no exclusions, longs for each of us. That our God, no exceptions, loves us all.

I would not make such a bold proposal, but there is a rumor going around that one of you made the cake for coffee hour when we celebrated Marion’s birthday. That was good cake.  All that was missing was “live happily ever after” and it would have been a perfect wedding cake. So, I know we have the cake baking skills. I also know that you know and are known by the God who neither excludes nor exempts. I can see the resemblance.