First Lesson: Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31
Responsive Reading: Psalm 8
Second Lesson: Romans 5: 1-5
Gospel Lesson: John 16: 12-15
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Jimmy Durante was one of the most famous American entertainers in the first half of the 20th Century. His career began as a Piano player who eventually added to his act singing and joke-telling leading him to be a Vaudeville, Radio, Theater, Movie, and finally Television star.
One night stood out as perhaps the most remarkable evening of Jimmy Durante’s fifty plus year career. In the middle of the Second World War, Ed Sullivan who would soon become a famous T.V. star in his own right was organizing a variety show for soldiers at a hospital in Staten Island, New York City.
Word was received that the great Jimmy Durante was in town for other obligations, so Sullivan invited Durante to perform. Durante agreed, but he let Sullivan know he needed to keep a tight schedule to fulfill his radio obligations that day. Durante let Sullivan know his schedule would only allow him to perform one song. Sullivan agrees to the request.
Durante goes on stage for a surprise performance; the soldiers go wild with applause after hearing Durante’s jokes and songs. Jimmy Durante begins exiting to leave for his other obligations. Ed Sullivan takes the stage to explain why Durante needed to go. Jimmy Durante though surprised everyone by returning to the stage for an encore. Durante performed number after number from within his act. For many of the wounded soldiers, this was the greatest night of their lives.
Durante finally ends his performance; Ed Sullivan goes backstage worried that Durante couldn’t’ fulfill his other obligations. Ed Sullivan asked why Jimmy Durante stayed? Why did he miss radio-appearance that was potentially way more financially lucrative? Durante told Sullivan, “Go look at the front row?”.
Sullivan peaks his head onstage where he sees two soldiers sitting in the center of the row; both men had lost arms during the war, while they were unable to clap on their own, they would clap both their remaining hands together.
Upon seeing this sight, Durante could not have left this performance early for an ordinary radio show.
Now here’s the thing about the Jimmy Durante and two soldier story. Each person involved was vital to it taking place. If not for Jimmy Durante’s God-given entertaining talent the soldiers don’t get so excited, but without both of the two soldiers working together using their hands, Jimmy Durante probably leaves early to find a different captivated audience elsewhere.
Three beings, each of equal importance see to it that the hospital is brought to joyful hysteria on that night in Staten Island.
Today’s Gospel lesson tells a similar story. Jesus is seeking to prepare the Disciples for his departure from this world. Jesus intends to explain to the Disciples two things: 1. The benefits of upcoming his death and subsequent Resurrection. 2. The work of the Holy Spirit who is coming down to the Earth after him. Jesus describes the Spirit’s ultimate work to calm their fears and strengthen their faith.
Today’s Sunday of the Church Year is known as Trinity Sunday. It is the day when we reflect upon how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together for our salvation.
As we seek to understand the Trinity better, it’s helpful to describe what the Trinity isn’t.
The Trinity is not the worship of three separate Gods. The Trinity is three different beings, not three different Gods. For example, We believe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit were all present at the creation of the world.
Jesus presence at the beginning is described at the start of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
The Holy Spirit being present at the beginning of the world is described in the second verse of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
The Father, Son, and Spirit being distinct entities can be seen elsewhere in the scriptures. In the 10th Chapter of John’s Gospel Jesus declares: “I and the Father are one.", yet Jesus would pray not to himself at the Cross but rather to his Father in heaven when he prayed: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
One chapter before Our Gospel, Jesus declares in the limits of his human flesh: “for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you.”
In our Gospel lesson for Today, Jesus differentiates himself from the Holy Spirit by declaring: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
Earlier, I described the Trinity as three separate beings, not three different Gods. Here’s what I mean. Later Today, I will celebrate Father’s Day . Now you ask my Sister and me to plan dinner there are going to be some differences. Anne is a yoga instructor who doesn’t eat Red Meat. So we have some different ideas to as to what the best restaurant will be. Trying to find a place to make both of us and my Dad all happy takes some work but some form of compromise works itself out when you have such conflicting opinions.
Such a thing doesn’t happen with the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all three-beings with one, unified mission that is bringing salvation to the Earth. Each member of the Trinity has different roles in the process: creator, savior, author of faith.
For years and years, the Early Church debated how the Father, Son, and Spirit worked together before deciding that the mystery of the Trinity’s is best explained by what we confess in the Apostles Creed: “We believe in God the Father… and, we believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord… and, we believe in the Holy Spirit.”
How does Trinity work? Let me talk about our favorite Baseball team the Minnesota Twins. The Twins currently have the best record in Baseball at 47 wins and 22 losses. How are they doing this?
The Twins are hitting the ball well. They’ve been on pace to set a league record in Home Runs. The Twins have an endless array of long-ball hitters: Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, C.J.Cron, Nelson Cruz, and Miguel Sano.
The Twins have been winning with pitching. At the top of their rotation are Jose Berrios, and Jake Odorizzi with Taylor Rogers coming out of the bullpen. All these guys might make the Major League All-Star game.
The Twins have been winning out in the field with one of the fastest players in Baseball Byron Buxton patrolling Center Field.
Now the Trinity is also not different modes of God. The Father does not begin as Clark Kent go into the Phone Booth and become the Son, Jesus Christ.
You put one of the Twins’ regular pitchers at the plate to try to hit a Home Run; you would soon see they were not intended to hit. You put one of the sluggers in Center Field; the other team would probably score a bunch of runs against players not to meant to specialize in the field. You ask a non-pitcher to pitch, you’d see why pitching for many needs to be a lifelong specialty.
Hitting, Pitching, and Fielding are all vital parts of Baseball, but specialists best do these roles in given areas. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton could have been a Major League Pitcher throwing baseball nearly 99 miles per hour in high school, yet he knew this wasn’t his intended role in Major League Baseball.
The Trinity works similarly. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have unique roles within the story of our salvation. The Holy Spirit was never intended to assume human flesh like God the Son. Jesus was never meant to remain on Earth after ascending into heaven, creating and building the Christian Church would be the work of the Holy Spirit.
While the God the Son and Holy Spirit were witnesses to the creation of the world, they were not active in the process like the God the Father. The Trinity is not a pecking order or ranking system. All three parts of the Trinity are equally vital in working together to achieve human salvation. The God who gives breath. The God who wins eternal life upon a cross. The God who creates faith. All three parts (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) team up “for us” for the sake of our victory over sin and death.
Let me close this morning with an analogy of the Trinity given by Saint Patrick of Ireland. Saint Patrick once upon a time compared the Trinity to a three-leaf clover. He pointed to each of the three leaves to ask, “Is this one leaf or three?” The hearers would study the clover, before finally declaring “both.” To which Saint Patrick would reply, “So as it is with God.” Amen
 “Jimmy Durante.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 9.May.2019. Web. June.11.2019.
 Chapman, Brian. “One-Armed Soldiers Clapping.” Legends & Rumors. Blogger.com. 10.Mar.2010. Web. June.11.2019.
 Chapman, Brian. “One-Armed Soldiers Clapping.” Legends & Rumors.
 Hansel, Tim. Holy Sweat. Word Book Publishers. Pg.104-105. 1987. Web. June.11.2019. Found on Sermon Illustrations.com under Teamwork.
 John 16:12-15
 Adkins-Jones, Timothy L. “Commentary on John 16:12-15.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. 16.June.2019. Web. June.11.2019.
 John 1:1.
 John 1:3
 John 1:14.
 Genesis 1:1-2.
 Stier, Leon. The Trinity (d) “ Email Mediatations. 22.May.2016. Web. June.11.2019.
 Luke 23:46.
 John 15:15.
 John 16:13.
 Stier, Leon. The Trinity (d) “ Email Mediatations.