When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today. When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him.
Readings and Psalm
- Isaiah 6:1-8
Isaiah’s vision and call
- Psalm 29
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (Ps. 29:2)
- Romans 8:12-17
Living by the Spirit
- John 3:1-17
Entering the reign of God through water and the Spirit
First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8This reading narrates Isaiah’s vision of the Lord surrounded by angels. They sing “Holy, holy, holy,” a song the church sings at the beginning of the great thanksgiving. This liturgical text invites the church and all creation to sing in praise of God’s glory. That glory is God’s mercy toward sinners.1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
6Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
Psalm: Psalm 29Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (Ps. 29:2)1Ascribe to the | Lord, you gods,
ascribe to the Lord glo- | ry and strength.
2Ascribe to the Lord the glory | due God’s name;
worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness.
3The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of | glory thunders;
the Lord is upon the | mighty waters.
4The voice of the Lord is a pow- | erful voice;
the voice of the Lord is a | voice of splendor.
5The voice of the Lord breaks the | cedar trees;
the Lord breaks the ce- | dars of Lebanon;
6the Lord makes Lebanon skip | like a calf,
and Mount Hermon like a | young wild ox.
7The voice | of the Lord
bursts forth in | lightning flashes.
8The voice of the Lord| shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilder- | ness of Kadesh.
9The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the | forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord all are | crying, “Glory!”
10The Lord sits enthroned a- | bove the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for- | evermore.
11O Lord, give strength | to your people;
give them, O Lord, the bless- | ings of peace.
Second Reading: Romans 8:12-17In describing the new life of faith, Paul refers to all three persons of the Trinity: the Spirit leads us to recognize that we are children of God the Father and sisters and brothers with Christ the Son.12Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel: John 3:1-17Jesus’ miracles prompt Nicodemus to visit him in secrecy. Jesus tells him about being born of the Spirit and about the Son who has been sent by God to save.1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16“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.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”