Sermons

Summary: Goal: To feel the reality of our sonship and call out "Abba/Daddy". Malady: We fear that God is a "dead beat dad." Means: Through the cross, we find the reality of the Trinity and our sonship through Christ. Trinity, Father’s Day, Sonship, Da Vinci Cod

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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – the Holy Three In One who grants us sonship that makes us cry out, “Abba, Father!”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What is your last name? What does it mean? My last name, Winters, was shortened when my relatives came to the United States a very long time ago. The name was originally “Wintersen” meaning in Danish “Son of Winter.” Being born in a tropical climate, only a few miles from a beach – I always thought this name was a bit ridiculous.

But my last name doesn’t really signify who I am simply by the meaning of the word “Wintersen”. It means much, much more. It means that a man named Richard Winters had a son named Allen Winters, who had a son named Walter Winters, who had a son named Jay Winters. My last name reveals my father’s identity.

My last name reveals who I get my eyes from. My last name reveals some of my tendencies and foibles. However, what my last name most reveals is the man whom I call “Daddy.”

Growing up in Lutheran circles with a name that is famous…or perhaps infamous, can be a hard thing sometimes. I know full well, that if I am talking to many pastors or leaders of our church, if I say, “I’m Jay Winters, Walt Winters’ boy,” there is a great chance of a reaction, and it won’t always be pleasant. My father, upon graduation from the seminary, was written up under the headline “Maniac Missionary To Go To Philippines.”

I know that saying my last name in certain circles is a cause for fear. The Roman Jews that Paul is writing to in our reading for today, knew a much greater fear. They knew that by simply saying that they were Christians, by simply saying that they had been the last name given to them in Baptism, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – they could be snubbed, disowned, or even killed. Paul knew this full well. He used to be one who was helping with the killing.

Today, we may feel the sting of laughter or puzzlement when someone asks why we believe what we do. Especially on Trinity Sunday, a Sunday where we celebrate the Three In One God, we may fear people wondering how we can believe in something that is so mathematically impossible. Three in one, one in three. We may have some fear simply from the questions that come up, “Can you explain the Trinity to me?”

The fear probably doesn’t come from the thought that we might be stoned to death for our belief. Instead, the fear probably comes from, at it’s deepest root – the acknowledgement, that this basic part of the Christian faith, the Trinity – makes no sense at all to us.

We begin to try to explain the Trinity, probably with some metaphor that is doomed to fail at some point in its explanation, and we find ourselves lost and confused, and perhaps even hurt by the fact that God hasn’t seen it prudent to reveal Himself to us in a manner that is less mysterious.

I have a friend in St. Louis who hates her last name. She doesn’t hate it because it’s a horrendously hard to spell or hard to pronounce kind of a name. She hates it because it is the name of her father, who left her mother and her family 6 months after her name was penned on her birth certificate. Her last name reveals a childhood of pain and confusion, wondering who her father was and what he was like.


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