Friday, August 11, 2017

He Took - He Blessed - He Broke - He Gave!

August 6, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


Mt 14 - Jesus Feeds the 5,000


He Took - He Blessed - He Broke - He Gave!

___________________________


Have you ever noticed how Jesus is constantly challenging the disciples to come along, to get on board, to "do something, even if it's wrong ( and it was, most of the time ) !!

In today's Gospel reading from the middle of Matthew 14 we see the miracle of the loaves and fishes.  God's miraculous provision!  

I've preached on the school boy's lunch before - the one who was willing to give up what he had - and the disciples' reaction when they calculated the lunch they had against the need.  Their reaction was actually very reasonable:   "what is this for so many?"  That comment we read in the Gospel of John.  There are accounts in each of the 4 gospels about this!  This was a big deal.

Our theme this morning is God's faithfulness to love and to provide for His people.  We heard it in the Nehemiah reading, certainly in the Romans reading and here again from the Gospel.  

God loves you - with an unfailing, everlasting love that nothing can ever separate you from!  God's provision is based on that love, not on your fickle, fading love for Him - not on the circumstances you face - not even on the provisions you have at hand!  Especially NOT on the provisions that you can provide in your own power!

All we have to offer Jesus, is what we have -  five loaves and two fish - a school boys sack lunch from home!  When we measure that, as the disciples did, reasonably, against the need of upwards of 5000, some estimate with women and children, could have actually been 15,000 or more:  What is this five loaves and two fish for so many mouths?  (You can't be serious, Lord!??)

But Jesus persists,  every Gospel echos the same scenario.  Jesus is aware of the need, in fact in John's account, Jesus is the one who asks of the disciples, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"  John adds, "He said this to test (Philip) him, for he himself knew what he would do."

I love that!  Jesus knew what He was doing!  What a revelation!  God has the plan all worked out... but,  he wants us to be a part of that plan. So He invites us into the problem and seeks a solution from us?  

Philip's answer after calculating in his head that 200 denarii is about what it would take - (a denarius was equivalent to a full days wage)
200 was almost a full year's wages for a worker!

So at 15/hr times 8 hours, a day's wage on the low side today is $120.00 x 200 = $ 24,000.00.  Even today at the low end, that "a lot of bread!"  

So I want to continue to do the math, so let's say that 5 loaves and 2 fish, a sack lunch, was worth 10 dollars.  So $10 is what the boy gave to Jesus, willingly at Andrew's request.

At the end they gathered up 12 baskets full of bread and fish!  We have no idea what size the baskets were - in my mind I can see the school boy coming home with 12 guys each carrying a basket - hmmmmm,  maybe the twelve disciples.

And there is the picture that I want you to take away today.

We have the opportunity to carry the overflow of God's generosity, of God's multiplication of our small resources, to a world that is starving and wanting something to eat - real food, real drink!  Which brings me to the last point.

HE BLESSED - HE BROKE - HE GAVE 

Let's look for a moment a Jesus action here:

Jesus invited and challenged the disciples to be a part of the answer, a part of His plan.
John tells us he was testing them in this.  Ever felt "tested" in this?  Financial provision, Job provision, Spouse provision, House provision, Church provision?

Lord, how are we going to do what You are asking us to do?

Jesus answer is "bring me what you have!"  Fortunately for us, the provision of God is not based on what we have, but on What HE HAS!
And on His willingness to be a part of the solution!  The reading from Nehemiah this morning and the one from Romans tells us what?
God is willing!  God is faithful, even in the face of our unfaithfulness and unbelief, even in the face of our idolatry!  God is faithful to us who love Him, ... what did Paul say?

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And listen to how JB Phillips puts this last phrase from Paul:

We hold, in Christ, an impregnable position

38-39 I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!

God's love and God's provision are constant friends.  Nothing we go through can separate us from His love, and the stuff we go through is NOT a sign of His love waning or going away from us.  Sometimes God is simply testing us to see if we know how to lean into HIM - to see how quickly we can calculate in our heads that the day's meal for the crowd is going to cost 24,000 dollars!  Might as well be 24 million!  All we have is five loaves and two fish to offer to Jesus!  And that is all He needs! It's all He requires!!  It's enough.

And then He does what he does!  He blesses - He breaks - He gives.  Dr. Robert Weber, former professor at Wheaton and a champion of an evangelical understanding of the movement of Eucharistic liturgy, held up these three movements, actually four, he added TAKE to the beginning.   God receives what we give him (He TAKES it),  God adds His blessing to what we give (God BLESSES it),  God breaks what we give him (God BREAKS it), let's stop here for a moment: 

What is it with God breaking?  

    Ps 51:17
                                The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and 
                                 contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.




He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.



I will never forget the time Aly, at age 5, came home from pre-school and told us, "I know about God!"   "Really?"  We said, "What do you know about God.  "God breaks your heart, and crawls inside, so He can live there!"   We wept and said, "You really do know about God!"

We offer Him what we have and he does what He does with everything in our lives:

He takes it (and you)

He blesses it (And you).

He breaks it  (and you). 

He gives it  (and you, away)!  


Shall we pray...


Our God and Father, you are the One who loves us and provides for us, from our very breath to the homes we live in and the food on our tables.  You invite us into the adventure of loving You and living for You, in this world, on Your behalf.  Lord, where we like Israel in the desert, are continually faithless and testing you, forgive us!  Do not leave us!  Do not take your Holy Spirit from us!  You are faithful and filled with loving kindness and unfailing love.  You are Jehovah Jireh, our provider.  We acknowledge you this morning as such, and offer to You, Jesus, our 5 loaves and our 2 fish.  Take and Bless what we offer to you,  Break it and Give it.  Let us be a part of Your plan and let us see Your provision along the way.  We love you, Lord, and trust You for all our needs.  You are our All in All.
In your mighty name we pray, Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen and Amen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fr. Phil - Discerning REZ

Discerning REZ Day
July 16, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


(click for audio)

Today is a day that we have set aside to hear from God.

In some way, every Sunday is intended to be that way but today is different.  On a typical Sunday you all come to this place to hear from God, we pray, from the words of the Scriptures, from the songs and the prayers, and from the words spoken in the sermon that is given.

Today we are reversing that direction!  Today you are the ones speaking.  We, together, are speaking with one another in hopes that, in the words of our former Bp. Chuck, we might hear "God speaking TO His peopleTHROUGH His people!"

It means that we need you to speak your heart.  More than that, we need you to listen to God and speak His heart!  In Peter's first letter to the Church he is supremely concerned with how we use our gifts, given the days we live in.  Today I want to echo that message.  

Peter wrote these words: 

[1Pe 4:7-11 NASB] 
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 
9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 
11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Focus on verse 11 for today:  Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking the very utterances of God!
I have a limited time, much like you will in a few minutes to share what God has put on my heart.  The first question put to us is "What is it that we do that gives you joy?"

Let me tell you a story:

Yesterday, and for the last 4 or 5 Saturday mornings I've been with an old friend, working out and going to breakfast afterwards.  You see this old friend is one of my buddies from the gym.  In the course of life, I've been able to be a friend to him, to work out together, which led to visiting his wife in her illness and then being at her bedside at the time of her death, giving last rites in the name of Jesus, with all the family gathered.  It was a high honor for me, and I was invited to come and to read at her funeral.

The interesting thing is that my friend is a Jew!  And now, almost two years on, we are meeting and talking about Yeshua.  We are talking about his Jewish faith and about the Bible.  One day soon, I pray, he will come to REZ and be baptized.  For that day, I invite your prayers.

Friends, nothing gives me more joy than sitting across from him or any of you and talking about the faith, talking about who Jesus is, and talking about the Word of God!  Drawing out the Word of God on the back of a napkin!  I'm not trying to be super spiritual here, but as I've considered my answer to that question, that is the honest to God answer!


Another thing that gives me great joy is Worship of God.  And although music is very important, for me its not the "whole enchilada."  Everything we do here is worship to God, from the drudgery of setting up and tearing down to the glory of celebrating behind the Table of the Lord and seeing you all stand and hold hands as we say the Lord's Prayer together, and the highest privilege, to hand you the bread of His Presence and touch your hand or sometimes your face in prayer and communion.

You have no idea how much God loves and cherishes you!
How do I know that, ...  ?    Because I have no idea, either!
I have to be told over and over and over and over again!
Fr. Mike Flynn once handed me the bread of communion as I knelt at the Altar in a service and said, "This is the measure of God's love for you!"

Michael and I and Margie are going to sing a song this morning for the offertory about our worth to God that I want you to listen to carefully.  The words are in the bulletin but we want to sing it over you.  Listen to what it says.

And finally, the third thing.  Friends, as a priest, and my wife would tell you this if she were here, I am "married" to the Church.

Not just REZ, but to the Big C Church.  I know that the Church is the Bride of Christ, so I am like John the Baptist, as he described his relationship to Jesus:

[Jhn 3:26-30 NASB] 26 And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him." 27 John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 "You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent ahead of Him.' 29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 "He must increase, but I must decrease.

I, like John the Baptizer, am a friend of the Bridegroom.  I like John am a forerunner.  I have come to know that because I have watched what has happened over the past 50 years in my life as a Christian disciple and as a Christian leader.  

I am privy to a much wider view of the Church of Jesus Christ than most have... and a much wider desire for the Church of Jesus Christ - the Bride - to come into Her fullness.  My heart breaks for the Church, for her immaturity, for her worldliness, for her preoccupation with self over Kingdom, for her fascination with adiaphora - things of no importance!  Why so broken:   because I see those same things in myself and in us.

And I work at REZ to make us mature, heavenly-minded people of God, preoccupied with His Kingdom coming and His will being done on earth, as it is in Heaven.  Focused on being a part of all that God is doing in our midst, in our city and state,  across our nation and over the whole Earth.  

My prayer continually is "Lord, don't pass us by!"  Would you say that with me?  "LORD, DON'T PASS US BY!"

This morning I want more than anything a visitation from God, through you... and you ... and you ... and even me.

I want this place to be known for His Presence!  I want people to know they have met with God, as they go out from here.
Because if that is true, then we will all be changed.  We will all come to be what Paul calls us at the end of his Apostolic prayer for the Ephesian Church:

[Eph 1:23 NASB] 23 "... His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all!"

So my prayer today is that which Paul prayed for us:

Lord, give us Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation in our knowledge of Jesus!

Lord, open our eyes to see the Hope in your calling of us; to see the surpassing value of each one around us, the Holy Ones of God; and to see the Power of your Resurrection manifested among us here in your Kingdom.

Lord, we are called RESURRECTION.  Let your Resurrection power be present among us in its fullness, as we live day by day as YOUR BODY - THE FULLNESS OF HIM WHO FILLS ALL IN ALL.

AMEN AND AMEN.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Love of the Father


Father's Day
June 18, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


The Father's Heart


Have you ever felt like God has or had it "in for you?" 

God is watching you, kind of like a bug, waiting to squash you?

I want you to turn to Luke 11 verse 11...

a story is told about a popular worship leader and song writer who when away into the mountains to get access to the heart of God and God's love as an inspiration for his music.

He spent the whole day in the quiet of the mountain forest, expecting God to speak to him in some mysterious and grand way, revealing God's love and majesty to him.  But came away at the end of the day, empty handed and disappointed.  God was silent.

When he got home, he quietly walked into his baby son's room where he was sleeping in his crib.  He kissed him on the cheek as he bent over the crib.

Just at that moment, God showed up.  He heard a verse in his memory echoing down through time:

[Luk 11:11-13 NLT] 11 "You fathers--if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

You see, what our friend, the songwriter had missed was the very object lesson that was right in front of him!

HOW MUCH MORE?

Today is Father's Day, and I want to celebrate our father's, our men, here today, but more than that I want to point to a Father who never fails us, whose love never fades, who has proven His unconditional, unfailing love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring us back into relationship with Himself.

Our epistle reading this morning is a key to understanding the heart of the Father:

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand

and a bit further on...



God's love has been poured
 into our hearts through the
 Holy Spirit that has been 
given to us. For while we were
 still weak, at the right time 
Christ died for the ungodly. 
Indeed, rarely will anyone die 
for a righteous person-- 
though perhaps for a good 
person someone might actually 
dare to die. But God proves his
 love for us in that while we 
still were sinners Christ died
 for us.
And Paul also adds:



[Rom 5:10-11 NLT] 
10 For since our friendship 
with God was restored by the 
death of his Son while we were 
still his enemies, we will 
certainly be saved through the
 life of his Son. 11 So now we 
can rejoice in our wonderful 
new relationship with God 
because our Lord Jesus Christ 
has made us friends of God.

Friends of God!!  
Sons and Daughters of God!  
We have been given a privileged 
place - in the heart of the Father!  
Just like the songwriter's son, 
we have a place that can never 
be taken away from us, that will 
never be less or more because 
of what we do or do not do!  
Did you hear me?

I've said this to my girls, "There 
is nothing that you can do that 
will make me love you any less!"  
Now there have been trials of 
that statement!  Like any of our 
children, our fervor of love is 
tested by their behavior 
sometimes, but the Love 
remains.

Remember Jesus statement of 
the Father:   "If you being evil, 
know how to give good gifts to 
your children, HOW MUCH MORE?
 the Father in Heaven?"  
HOW MUCH MORE?

And let me say that God is not 
swayed in His love for you but 
anything you do or do not do?
God is not swayed in His love
 for you but anything you do 
or do not do?

But what about when I'm
 disobedient to God 
(most of the time!)  Do you 
think that your sin has caught 
God by surprise?  That He is 
suddenly mad at you - that your 
hardship is caused by His 
hatred or neglect of your 
cause?  of your circumstances?

Turn with me to Hebrews 12...  
This is the un-fun part!

[Heb 12:4-7, 9-11 ESV] 
4 In your struggle against sin 
you have not yet resisted to the 
point of shedding your blood. 
5 And have you forgotten the 
exhortation that addresses you 
as sons? "My son, do not regard
 lightly the discipline of the Lord,
 nor be weary when reproved by 
him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the 
one he loves, and chastises 
every son whom he receives." 
7 It is for discipline that you have 
to endure. God is treating you 
as sons. For what son is there 
whom his father does not 
discipline?
 ... 9 Besides this, we have had 
earthly fathers who disciplined 
us and we respected them. 
Shall we not much more be 
subject to the Father of spirits 
and live? 10 For they disciplined 
us for a short time as it seemed 
best to them, but he disciplines
 us for our good, that we may 
share his holiness. 11 For the 
moment all discipline seems
 painful rather than pleasant,
 but later it yields the peaceful 
fruit of righteousness to those
 who have been trained by it.

True Fathering is like this.  God is 
not going to be a false Father!  
His love is unchanging, 
constant for us.  

So what does the "discipline" of 
the Lord look like?  is it cancer? 
 is it broken relationships?  
is it the suffering we all 
partake of as a result of the 
fallen world about us?  
is it our sicknesses... illness?  
Does it look the same as the "attacks of the devil?"  Let me ask you a question...
Are the Devil and God the same
 in their nature?  Do they both
 do evil?  Even if Good may come out it?

Can I say it like Paul...  
Not only NO, but HELL NO!

Much of our suffering is the 
work of an enemy!  The result
 of our brokenness and our 
own choices?  Often times the
 only discipline we need is the 
natural consequences of our 
choices.  As earthy fathers 
today, we do our children a 
disservice by divorcing them
 from the consequences of 
their choices.  It only take one
 time to learn that the burner
 is hot! or the knife is sharp!  
We watch our children carefully, 
vigilantly, so that their stupidity 
doesn't cost them more than
 should be necessary for them
 to learn, but God is the perfect
 Father, and he allows us to go
 our own way, do our own 
thing, and then He comes 
alongside, he waits for us to
 return from our pig pen.

Remember the parable of 
the Prodigal Son.  Actually
 and equally, the Parable of 
the Loving Father!
We aren't told how long the 
son was gone, perhaps years... 
yet the Father was still 
standing at the window looking 
out for his return.

That is the picture of the
 Father's Love I want to 
leave you with this morning.  
The prodigal was restored 
to his Father, was given a robe
 and a ring - his Father's ring.  
All the rest of the estate had 
already been reserved for his
 elder brother!  I think that's why
 the elder brother was so 
incensed on his discover of the 
celebration of his brother's 
return.  God love is 
extravagant!  It cost's Him 
something.

It Cost HIM Something...

Let's say John 3:16-17 together...
"For God so loved the world,
 that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believes
 in Him, should not perish but 
have everlasting life... 
For God sent not His son 
into the world to condemn 
the world, but that through 
Him, the world might be 
saved." 

The Father loves you.  
You can never change that! 

Don't allow yourself the 
self-indulgent belief that you
 can effect God's love, 
positively or negatively,
 toward you. 
God allows us our freedom, 
our choices AND our
 circumstances.  We are free 
to choose our way in God's
 kingdom but we are never 
free to choose the 
consequences of our choices.

God, the perfect Father 
in Heaven, loves you and 
wants to demonstrate His love
 for you... HAS demonstrated
 His love for you in that
 "while you were still a 
sinner, Christ died for you."  
Now God wants to restore you 
to that place of relationship
 with Him, in Christ and by 
the power of the Holy Spirit!
Let us pray...

God our Father, 
the Father of every family named
 under heaven...
Let the riches of Your Glory, 
Father, strengthen us 
on the inside through the power
 of Your Spirit!
Let Christ dwell in our hearts through faith, 
that we, being rooted and grounded in love 
may gain strength to know and to 
comprehend the fullness of God's Love - 
its breadth - its length - its height - its depth!  
And further to know completely the love of
 Christ that we can never fully know or 
understand.  Lord, fill us with all the 
fullness of God!

Father, you are able to do so much more
, super abundantly more, than we can ever 
ask or than we can even imagine in our 
wildest dreams! Your power and love is 
beyond our grasp, but your power and 
love are in us and working your will, 
day by day.  Let your glory - Father, Son 
and Holy Spirit - be seen in us, your
 Church, your Body, now and always, 
for ever and ever.
Amen!

taken from Ephesians 3:15-21

Sunday, June 11, 2017

TRINITY - THE IMAGO DEI AND YOU

Trinity Sunday
June 11, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


Trinity Sunday

 This morning is Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday morning after the Feast of Pentecost.  

Pastors either completely ignore the subject or have a tendency to butcher it with metaphors or pictures that may, at worst, be heretical and at best, may confuse an already difficult topic.

The topic of the Trinity has been described, rightly I think, as "a riddle wrapped up inside a puzzle and buried in an enigma."

- how can something be one in three?
- it seems to be irrational
- even if you understand it, what practical value does it have?

We are just told to accept it by faith and let the theologians worry about the details!

We can trace its development through history and through Scriptures easily enough;  we sing the songs:  Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.  "God in three persons, blessed Trinity!"

Once a year is probably enough though, for most of us!!

But the Trinity has deep ramifications for both who we are and how we relate to others and do ministry in that Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  The doctrine of the Trinity is to Christian life and ministry what grammar is to our language!  The doctrine of the Trinity is unique among world religions and is, in fact, a major stumbling block - a rock of offense - in the world's understanding of Christianity.

In a sermon it is nearly impossible to delve deeply into this subject!  It is a life time of contemplation and study that is required, but more than our comprehending the doctrine, or figuring out how to communicate the doctrine, we need to enter into the Communion of the Trinity itself.

Last week we prayed with Jesus, "as You Father, are in me and I am in You, may they also be in us!" (Jn 17:2)

The Trinity is an open, not a closed circle!!  Ho!  What a thought!
We are invited into the circle as we come "IN CHRIST" and become, graciously included, partners with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in what the Trinity is doing in the earth!!

John Wesley described that communion with the Trinity as "...a deep, an intimate, an uninterrupted union with God; a constant communion with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, through the Spirit; a continual enjoyment of the Three-One God, and of all creatures in him."

Peter says we have become "participants" in the Divine Nature!  (2 Pet 1:4)
Such is the Koinonia of the Holy Spirit that John speaks of in his first letter:

[1Jo 1:1-4 NLT] 1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

The ONE in whom Paul said, "We live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) lives and moves and has his being as Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
The Trinitarian nature of God is reflected everywhere!!  In Divine revelation; in Redemption; Our experience of God in salvation; Our life together as Church, in Worship, Fellowship and Mission!

When I first came to this parish, when it was St. George Episcopal, God gave me a Trinitarian vision of Encounter - Empower - Engage (Worship - Fellowship - Mission) !

Recently I came across a book called Ministry in the Image of God:  The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service!  Here, author Stephan Seamands, outlines seven aspects of the Trinity that shape a right understanding of both the Trinity and the ministry which flows from our God, through us, and to the World.  Each is contained in a chapter, but I can only give a precis this morning, almost by headings only.  I hope that you might get the book and read more deeply:  

MINISTRY IN THE IMAGE OF GOD by Stephan Seamands.

Here are the seven aspects of the Trinity according to Seamands...

1.   Relational Personhood

2.   Joyful Intimacy

3.   Glad Surrender

4.   Complex Simplicity

5.   Gracious Self-Acceptance

6.   Mutual Indwelling

7.   Passionate Mission

All I have time for is a quote or two, but I hope that this will whet your appetite, like salt, making you Hunger and Thirst for Righeousness and the One who is Righteousness itself.

    Christian Psychotherapist and Professor Larry Crabb once said, "We must do something other than train professional to fix damaged psyches.  Damaged psyches aren't the problem.  The problem beneath our struggles is a disconnected soul.... Rather than fixing psyches or scolding sinners, we must provide nourishment for the disconnected soul that only a community of connected people can offer."

What Crabb is crying out for is authentic Christian community!  Where "the heart of God is home, where the humble and wise learn to shepherd those on the path behind them, where trusting strugglers lock arms with other as together they journey on."  It's why we call our church, the "Land of Broken Toys!"

It is in community that healing takes place!  Human beings, created in the image of the triune God, are constituted in their creation FOR RELATIONSHIP.  The Trinity is the IMAGO DEI!

In contrast to that constitution, we in the West have come to believe that we are constituted as INDIVIDUALS.  But if we are created In the IMAGE OF GOD - The Trinity, then we exist in relationships.

We can see four characteristics of the Trinity in the Gospel of John:
(2) Full Equality, (3) Glad Submission, (4) Joyful Intimacy and (5) Mutual deference!   Just listen:

Jn 1:1  Equals:  "The Word was with God, and the Word was God" yet...
Jn 1:14 Submission:  "He became flesh and dwelt among us."
Jn 1:18  Deference:  seeks to make the Father - not himself - known...
 and      Intimacy:   He is the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart"

Jn 3:34  Submission and Deference:   "He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spriit without measure" -- "the Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands"  (Mutuality)

These are repeated again in Jn 5, in Jn 8, Jn 10, in the Upper Room discourses, and finally in Jn 17, Jesus High Priestly prayer.  Throughout his narrative, John uses these four characteristics to describe the relationship of the Trinity amongst the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

For us we must take the advise given to John Wesley as a young man: 

"Sir, you wish to serve God and go to heaven?  Remember you cannot serve him alone.  You must therefore find companions or make them.  The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion."

In my undergrad days I wrote a Senior Thesis paper, moving from the Greek word, KOINONIA, to an exposition of its application through the movements of the Spirit which incorporated this aspect of fellowship and small communities of faith.  From the New Testament to the Moravian revival, to Methodism and its spread from John Wesley through the Bands and Societies, up to the Charismatic Renewal and the intentional communities at Ann Arbor, MI among the Catholics and in Houston, TX among the Episcopalians.

In every stage of the history of the church, the Church has moved forward in groups of 3 to 5 deeply committed Christians who were passionate about growth in holiness and related deeply and regularly to each other.

When we consider the Trinity, we come to exclaim as Paul did (Ro 11:33)  "O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!"

A.W. Tozer put it this way:  To admit that there is One who lies beyond us, who existws outside of all our categories, who will not be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason, nor submit to our curious inquiries - this requres a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least down to where we can manage Him."

In the face of the Trinity we are reduced to worship! 
Awe is preferable to answers!

Let us pray:

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit;
Three we name Thee;
while in essence only one,
Undivided God we claim thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the Mystery."

Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, One in Three and Three in One:  Open our hearts and minds to see and know you as you are, not as we can conceive of You!  Help us to live in the relationship we are created to live in, in the way which embraces You, the Wholly-Other with the Love of God, unconditional, full and unfailing.  Give us grace, O God, to see in others and in our relationship the reflection of the Trinity, the Imago Dei, made for relationship and complete in life shared together as ONE.  Help us to live in the mystery of the Trinity, as you reveal deeper and deeper truths to us from your Word, by your Holy Spirit.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy on us.

In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.