July 24, 2021

God’s Presence and Glory 30-05-2021

30th May 2021 Trinity Sunday
Title: God’s Presence and Glory
(Scripture Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8; John 3: 1-17)
By Heeyoung Lim
God is our creator who invites us into relationship and calls us to lives of faithfulness in accordance with God’s plan. We respond to God with love and celebrate the wonder of God’s presence represented in our lives.
Isaiah experiences God’s presence at the temple that is cultural, national, and religious centre at a time when the Assyrians were threatening the Hebrew people. His experience of God’s presence is filled with mystery and power. God called his prophet to confront a faithless king and declare judgment for the present but hope for the future in His glory.
The Hebrew word for “glory” means “weight” or “heavy.” It refers to the importance or weight people carry in their lives. We can give glory to God, that is, acknowledge His importance and reputation by honouring Him. We are invited to glorify God. God’s people have no reason to fear worldly powers but need to fear God alone.
In today’s text, when God asked, “Who will go for us?”, Isaiah responded, “here I am, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) I hope we can all respond and participate in God’s work as God-fearing people. God’s promise and His work are revealed in Christ, the Father’s gift of the Son for the eternal life and salvation of the world.
In John 3, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, approaches Jesus with what he knows about Jesus, and focuses on signs. Jesus accepts Nicodemus, but He immediately teaches the necessity of being born from above to see the kingdom of God. (3) This term “above” is also translated as both “anew” and “again” in Greek meaning.
He asks about the biological possibility of being born again. His misunderstanding continues time and again across Jesus’ word and ministry, but he has openness to come, approach, and listen to Jesus’ words. Jesus’ answer is that he needs to be born of the spirit. (3-4) It means that eternal life only comes through personal faith in the cross and the spirit. (9-15) The cross implies the meaning of both a physical lifting and a spiritual exaltation; it was for our salvation and the recovery of relationship with God. The promise for eternal life is connected and fulfilled in the Spirit brought by Jesus. The message about “being born again” written in the gospel of John invites us to be transformed towards new lives in the relationships with God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are new existence empowered by the grace of God and made manifest in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
We can find Jesus’ communal language, “We” Testimony in verse 11, it is related to faith community. We are one in Christ. The creative love of God, the redemptive offering of Christ, and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit; these Three are One. The Trinity represents God in loving relationships. The Trinity is a Christian belief where God is one in three persons (theological term, it does not mean just person): God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is difficult to find the right words to explain the Trinity well, that is why many people struggle with the fact of how God can be three distinct parts yet still be one. However, the position or relationship of the Trinity is not hierarchical or scale down version, it is very dynamic and inter relational. The Trinity can be described as a sign and metaphor for our ways of living together, being different and yet being a part of the same life.
We need to relate the divine life of the Trinity, that is the life of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, with the life of the earth. I hope we can relate, live, and love together without division just like that God is very relational. John 3.16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is about God’s love and salvation for the world, and the eternal life promised by Jesus relates to the life we live now and here. We need to gain a new awareness of the Spirit as well as of the world, so that we can understand the eternal love of God for the world.
I pray we can show others that we are a lover of light when people come to us at night just like Nicodemus. We are all precious, but we will never forget our own sinfulness and unworthiness when compared to Jesus. In Isaiah, God called a sinful man as His prophet to announce his judgment to his sinful people, in John, Jesus gave Nicodemus who came to Him at night with his own knowledge opportunities to be born again through His living words. I hope we can all accept, proclaim, and live out the gospel certifying that God is truth.
Salvation is the work of God and the gift of God’s grace internally through the Holy Spirit, but salvation-promised faith and spirit-filled life can be demonstrated outwardly through faith and godly living. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. As in John 3, believers possess eternal life, but unbelievers do not. Believers are not condemned, but unbelievers are condemned already. Believers live in the light while unbelievers live in the darkness. What can we do when many people reject the gospel because they love darkness and worldly life?
I hope we can ask God to forgive us for the times we have refused to listen to Him and obey His word. I believe we will experience more love of God whenever we are closer to God because God is love. In John, God is love in action, and the John’s gospel is the Gospel of Love; the gospel of John represents the experience of a loving life-giving relationship with God. I hope we can convey the love of God to our neighbours and nature through our faithful response in God’s presence and glory. 

Faith is gracefully given gift from God; it is God’s command for His salvation, not His request. If we accept the gospel as God’s command, the gospel is simple, yet profound enough to amaze all kinds of people in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our faith is about the way we experience our loving relationship with the living God. Today’s message invites us to change and grow our faith and life in our community. Can we more gladly live, love, serve, and share together? Our relationships need to be more dynamic and inter relational in our community.
God rules over all the world’s powers, so we are safe when we are in the presence of God. We can ask God to remove all fear and anxiety from our lives. God will help us to make our all decisions in the Holy Spirit, He will lead us to obey in accordance with God’s words, and He will save us if we believe in Jesus. God calls us to be a part of His mission; He wants us to go where He wants to send us. I believe we can listen for God’s call, go on His mission, and experience His presence and glory. I pray we can all become closer and closer to God and can more beautifully live and more faithfully serve together in the relationship with God and others.

Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)