Our Parish Mission Statement
St. Dunstan’s seeks to be a vibrant, worshipping community committed to serving God in the world.
We seek to do this by following the example of Jesus Christ who taught us to care for one another, and by helping others to know Him through what we say and do.
Everyone is welcome to join our church family and learn more about the love of God.
Information from the Diocese of Chichester on their ‘Living Faith’ courses can be found at:
A Sermon by Deacon Di for Trinity Sunday 2017:
Trinity Sunday 2017 Isaiah 40, 12-17,27end
2 Cor.13, 11-13
In the name of the Triune God, Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Any of you have had to apply for a passport will know how grim those photographs are. They are the ones we all tend to hide away! You hear folk in the queue at the airport gasping at each others. ‘Can I really look like that?’ But ‘the camera cannot lie’ so it must have some part of the truth. But if a stranger looked at just a passport photo of us I guess they might think what a dull and boring person, not really worth getting to know.
It’s a bit like that, I think, when we try to talk of the Trinity….a word after all that doesn’t appear in the Bible.
We get stuck into sterile arguments about three persons in one God; Muslims of course think we worship three gods.
St. Patrick used a clover leaf in his sermons to explain it, I’ve heard talks about Water, Ice and Steam and all that sort of thing. There is a book called ‘The Shack,’ published in 2008, you may have read it, with a story line about three people….. God the Father, portrayed by a large, black outgoing woman, the Holy Spirit, an Asian woman in bright colours who darts about all over the place and Jesus, well he was more or less the same, with jeans, a flannel shirt and a tool belt. Each of these personas of God had unique characteristics and specific roles to play in the fictional story.
I was given the book then, it’s a bit scruffy now but anyone’s welcome to borrow it. And now it’s been made into a film, on release this weekend. The Times describes it as ‘touchy-feely new-age Christianity’….. I’ll leave it to you!
But all analogies and illustrations fall short, including most paintings, of course they do (I reckon Rublev’s icon gets pretty near it for me) because…….. God is bigger than us!
The church talks of the Mystery of God in the correct sense of the word. It doesn’t mean a detective story mystery, something complicated to be unravelled (meant to confuse.. like most of the dramas on the television at the moment,) It means something which is beyond our understanding, something we must, in the end, close our eyes and close our lips to (which I gather, is what mystery really means in the original greek.)
So why do we have Trinity Sunday, in its important position halfway through the Christian Year….. (I’m told Thomas a Becket put it there)… from now on we shall have many Sundays called ‘after Trinity’; full of teaching (with the liturgical colour green to signify our growth) We have it because although of course it’s important to live the Christian life as we should, it’s also important to understand our faith and to be able to articulate it to others, as well as we can.
The doctrine of the Trinity was arrived at rather painfully over 400 years, its creeds were developed because of the need to clarify and correct the odd heresies which turned up, (and still do) often as a result of getting the balance of the god-head wrong.
(The great schism between the Western and Eastern Church was over one line in the creed….whether the Holy Spirit could be said to proceed from the Father alone or from the Father and the Son.)
But really it all emerges from the ordinary experiences of ordinary Christians and from the deep experience of the church, from the leap of faith of the saints of God. It’s not something invented by theologians which is imposed upon the church; it comes out of the ordinary human experience.
The best way is simply to follow the example of Jesus.
He taught us that God was loving, like a father; that He was our creator, that he was aware of us and our needs, aware of even the hairs on our heads; that he had compassion for us; that he was just and even-handed, and that no matter how far wrong we went, he would still be showing his love and mercy. Jesus spoke of the Father, and of the Spirit; and he spoke of himself as united with them both. The bond between the three Persons is of course Love, a love as eternal, as infinite and yet also as personal as themselves.
What wonderful readings we’ve had today…..
The magnificent, magnanimous creator God in Isaiah,
and Psalm 8, King David’s glorious hymn of praise,
St Paul’s appeal for the spirit of fellowship and love and
Our Lord’s Great Commission to us all at the end of Matthew’s gospel.
Today’s mystery shouldn’t make us frustrated but excited, disbelieve it if you will but don’t call it dull.
Let’s enjoy being friends with the triune God who is so amazing that no human can ever explain what he’s really like. Let’s lavish our worship on him….. any God smaller or completely knowable wouldn’t be worth worshipping anyway! Amen
The Sermon given by Bishop Michael Langrish on Sunday, 8th October 2017:
Our PCC Home and Away Charities:
Our home charity this year is FSW – Family Support Work. Their details can be found at www.familysupportwork.org.
Please look out for our fundraising events for both of these important charities.