The Parish Church of Sarum St. Martin, Salisbury Wiltshire

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Sarum St. Martin

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From the Priest-In-Charge of Sarum St. Martin’s

Trinity Sunday 2019

Look at the Pew Sheet for this Sunday and at the Icon in the top left-hand corner.  It is an icon that shows God the Holy Trinity come to Abraham and Sarah at Mamre.  Note the number, three. Note that the three are seated in a circle without beginning or end. Then look carefully at the heads, the hair and the faces.  What do you notice?  They are identical.  The three may be dressed in different coloured clothing, but the essential part of the three is identical.  God the Holy Trinity made Himself known to Abraham and to Moses and to the prophets of the Old Testament as Trinity, One God made known in three Persons.  The icon represents the ultimately un-representable, God.  So why make the attempt; because we are called by God to know Him, to love Him, to give Glory to Him.  The God worshipped by Christians, by Jews and by Muslims is the same God; but it is only we Christians who acknowledge God as He has truly revealed Himself to the world, God the Holy Trinity.  And it is only Christians who can say with St. John, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.’  God so loved the world; that word love again.  What can it possibly mean?

We cannot know the depth of the love that exists in the heart of God, we can only know that the Most Holy Trinity exists in love; Father for Son, Son for Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit for Father, Son for Father, Holy Spirit for Son, Father for Holy Spirit.  Each of the three persons in one God love the other with a depth of love beyond our human understanding. Indeed beyond our human understanding, but, as those called to be the children of God, not beyond our human experience. God the Holy Trinity came to Abraham at Mamre and there confirmed his promise to Abraham and his wife Sarah that he would be the father of a great nation, and it was so because God loved Abraham.  Throughout the OT God the Holy Trinity came to the Israelites again and again to confirm His love & mercy for them; be it to Jeremiah in exile, or Isaiah in the vision of the heavenly kingdom, or David as he went out to do battle with Goliath.  God is indeed Loving & Merciful, because that is the nature of God, not an attribute of God, but God’s very nature.  How did the Israelites come to know this? because God willed it to be.  They did not discover it, God revealed it, to Abram in Ur, to Moses in the Burning Bush, to David in forgiveness of his sin with Bathsheba.  God was and remains a loving & merciful God, for love & mercy is the very nature of God.  Love & Mercy towards whom we may ask; well, to you and me for a start.  The God out of whose love & mercy the universe was brought into being is indeed bothered with you and me, bothered enough to show us his essential nature in the love & mercy in which he holds us.  Of course God’s mercy for us is his love for us.  God wants us to know him and so know that mercy which he is so that we in our turn might be merciful.  Mercy is the very essence of God and so who claim to be children of God are to be a channel of God’s mercy to the world; as God has been merciful to you, be you merciful to one another.  Of course, we cannot find that mercy within ourselves unless the merciful God first gives it to us.  Nor can we earn the mercy of God.  No, we can only ask for that mercy, which we must do humbly, then God will fill us with his mercy.  And what then?

Fr David Fisher

Do we recall this prayer I wonder, perhaps like me from my primary school years.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve thee as thou deservest;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will.

This prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola seems appropriate on this Holy Trinity Sunday, for it expresses what God out of love & mercy has done for us, which calls out of us the desire to do something similar.  In fact it calls out of us the desire to be a channel of mercy, God’s mercy, to all humankind and the planet on which we are set.  The prayer reminds us just what we have been given, undeservedly, by God and then calls out of us our response; as you have been given, so give!

Many have attempted to answer the question ‘What is Love?’and they have failed to answer the question satisfactorily. The answer is found in being ‘Merciful like the Father’, and that in the small and repetitive things of ordinary life; giving to all who call upon us and not to counting the cost; fighting for the truth of the Gospel and not to heeding the wounds of indifference and hostility; toiling for the work of the Gospel and not seeking rest; labouring to show the mercy of the Father and not asking for any reward, save that of knowing that we do God’s will.

God the Holy Trinity is love and mercy.  God has shown this to us in the sacrifice of Jesus.  God has confirmed this to us in the coming of the Holy Spirit to call us out of darkness and into his wonderful light.  Now we must live in that sacrifice and that light, so that we might show the love and mercy of God, being ‘Merciful to all with the mercy of God given to us in Jesus Christ.’


Almighty God, you have made us members of Christ and of his Church in this parish. May we as a congregation reach upwards to your throne in worship and adoration: inwards to one another in understanding and fellowship; and outwards to the world in evangelism and social compassion. Make us like a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden, so that men and women may find Christ as the Light of the World, and his Church as the family of the redeemed, and eternal life as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.

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