Going Deeper 6-17-19

Hear again these words from our Gospel for this Trinity Sunday, selected because it refers to all three persons of the one God: Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  All that the Father has is mine.”  Thus far our text.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
I’m guessing you are all very excited that it’s Trinity Sunday.  I mean, who doesn’t look forward to hearing preachers try to explain something that’s beyond our ability to understand... even if the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be a core truth of the Christian faith?
Well, I’m not going to try to explain the doctrine.  What I am going to focus on is something I had not really heard or focused on until recently, and that is how the doctrine of the Trinity can help us understand how important relationship has always been in relating to our God.
Do you know what you are looking at here? This is one of the largest living organisms on earth, known as Pando (Latin for “I spread”).  Outwardly, Pando appears to be a large forest of quaking aspen trees occupying 4300 acres in Utah’s Fishlake National Forest.  But, in fact, it is an single organism comprised of about 47,000 above-ground stems connected by one single massive root system weighing about 6 thousand tons.  It is, if you will, a forest of one tree.
There is another organism that rivals Pando, which others claim to be the largest living organism on earth.  It is a humongous fungus in the Blue Mountains in Oregon, measuring 2.4 miles across.  The large clumps of sweet yellow-brown mushrooms that appear above ground are the fruiting bodies of a much larger single organism connected via underground filaments.
But I am here today to tell you about what is truly the largest living organism in the world.  There are an estimated 2.2 billion above ground segments to this organism.  Each and every part of this organism is unique in many ways, coming in a large variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and other traits, yet all sharing not only common design and elements.  Each and every individual is supernaturally connected to a single vine. 
Does anyone know what I am referring to?  Here’s a big hint: you can see it from where you are seated.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m speaking of the Church.  And I’m not speaking allegorically.  St. Paul described the Church as the “body of Christ.”  He did not say it is kind of like a body.  He said that the church is the body of Christ, and that each person is a member of that one body.  It is a living organism.  Along the same lines, Jesus described the parts of this living organism, this unified body, as being branches all connected to a single vine.  He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
There are tremendous implications of this truth.  This largest of all organisms is incredibly powerful, even capable of bringing healing to this fractured world.  The Church is truly the only organism which has the potential to bring about the kind of necessary and enduring change that is needed… in our lives, in our nation, in our world, and yet our collective failure to recognize our unity and to tap into the potential healing and transforming energy which the vine has made accessible to each of us and to all of us is, tragically, crippling our effectiveness.
We could spend a whole lot of time considering and talking about this reality.  But this morning I would like to bring it closer to home.  I would like each of us to look at the people gathered here in this place on this morning and contemplate what this means right here and right now.
Although there is not nearly as much variety of color as there ought to be, there is a lot of variation in terms of ages, sizes, shapes, gifts and talents represented here.  And how amazing and important is it to realize we’re a single living organism, all mysteriously and miraculously linked to one another, and organically connected to the same vine?!
Think of the implications!  We are here for each other.  We are here to take care of each other, to support one another through good times and bad.  When one part suffers, we all suffer, and when one part celebrates, we all celebrate.  We need to ponder this truth much more deeply.
And think of the potential we have together!  Given our varied collection of gifts, talents, abilities, and resources, this living organism which goes by the name of Zion Lutheran Church has the potential to do truly amazing things… especially as we recognize the infinite power of the Vine to which we are all intimately connected.  We need to ponder this truth much more deeply.
You see, our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is a truly amazing Being… three unique and distinctive persons so intimately connected that they are truly a single God.  (Perhaps this brings even more meaning to the description of marriage as being two becoming one.)  Created in the image of God, we are created for relationship and in relationship.  We are one with God and one with one another.
And you know what… that makes all the difference in the world.  At least it has the potential to!  The bottom line is this: the more each of us and all of us are strengthened in our relationship with our Triune God, the more we will be strengthened in our relationships with one another.  And the stronger our relationships become, the greater our potential for changing the world—starting right here and extending to the ends of the earth—becomes. That is why we’re here.  Amen.