Epiphany 1A Sermon Outline (2002)

Today’s Message — Notes and Quotes
January 13, 2002

“One Is Not the Loneliest Number”

Chancel drama about a failed party, titled “A Party of One.” The few guests who came left early, leaving the host to first pretend that she was hosting a wildly successful party with all kinds of famous personages; then, to fall back into reality and chide herself about being a loser; finally, to talk to God in prayer and reclaim her identity as God’s child.

Song: the old Three Dog Night hit, “One Is the Loneliest Number.”

Sermon

Who was the first to say, “One is the loneliest number”?

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” – Genesis 2:18Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…” – Genesis 1:26

Who is “our” when it comes to God? Christian answer: The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Look at today’s Gospel: the Father blesses his Son and gives him the Holy Spirit.

Here’s the bottom line: God is a community of persons and creates us in the divine image. Each one of us is wired for community.

What went wrong? How does sin mess this up? Why are we lonely?

We are wired for community through the nature of our desire. We desire through others. And we desire through each other rather than through the God who made us. (See Genesis 3)

How does God save us? How does God free us from sin? How can we not be lonely?

God the Father sends the Son into the world to live God’s desire, which is love for the whole world. When Jesus returns to the Father, he sends us the Holy Spirit, so that we might be able to begin living God’s desire in this world.

What is God’s Love like? The Trinity always defers to the other one.

The Father affirms the Son…

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” – Matthew 17:5

Jesus points to the Father…

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. – John 5:19-20

The Spirit speaks of the Son…

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. – John 15:26

But that’s not all. Jesus left community so we could enter it.

And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46

Jesus experienced the absence of community so that we would never have to.

God’s love is a self-giving love that shows itself in serving others.

You and I are baptized into this Love of the Trinity. You and I are God’s beloved sons and daughters. We need never be lonely. We live lives of serving others in community. We let our light so shine before others that they may see our good works.

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