A Service for Trinity Sunday

A Service for Trinity Sunday 30th May 2021



Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.  


May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.


We begin this morning with a reflection upon our frailties before the perfection of God’s presence:


Holy, holy, holy.

When our eyes have seen the Lord of hosts,

we echo the words of Isaiah,

‘Woe is me! I am doomed.’

We long for the fire of God’s cleansing to touch

our unclean lips,

for our iniquity to be removed and our sins wiped out.

So we meet Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with confession on our lips.


Father, you come to meet us when we return to you:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Jesus, you died on the cross for our sins:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


Spirit, you give us life and peace:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


The Collect


Silence is kept.


Holy God,

faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.



The First Hymn

Holy Holy Holy:- please access Simon’s accompaniment here: 




Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.


Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see:

Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in power in love, and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!



The First Reading:

Isaiah 6: 1-8

In 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. Seraphs 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. And one called to another and said:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory.’ 

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And 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!’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The 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.’ Then 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!’ 


The Second Reading:

Romans 8: 12-17

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For 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!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and 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. 


The Second Hymn


Father of Heaven: https://youtu.be/TULkTownKuo


1 Father of heaven whose love profound

a ransom for our souls hath found,

before Thy throne we sinners bend;

to us Thy pardoning love extend.


2 Almighty Son, Incarnate Word,

our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord,

before Thy throne we sinners bend;

to us Thy saving grace extend.


3 Eternal Spirit, by whose breath

the soul is raised from sin and death,

before Thy throne we sinners bend;

to us Thy quickening pow'r extend.


4 Thrice Holy! Father, Spirit, Son,

mysterious Godhead, Three in One,

before Thy throne we sinners bend;

grace, pardon, life, to us extend


In preparation for reading the Gospel let us say:


Alleluia, alleluia.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

one God, who was, and who is, and who is to come,

the Almighty.



The Gospel:

John 3: 1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He 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.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus 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?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The 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.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

‘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. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

‘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.

‘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.



Let us consider the context of today’s Gospel.  A man of the religious establishment is drawn to come secretly to see Jesus.  He is very interested in what Jesus is saying and doing, for one very good reason: he, and others, recognise that what is being done by this young rabbi must be of God.  Has he been put up to come by others?  Has he come entirely on his own volition?  It hardly matters.  He wants to know why and how Jesus is achieving what he is amongst the people.  

The core of this whole passage remains this quest for knowledge, whilst the answers that Jesus gives to his more specific questions illustrate an important truth for all Christians, and explain why these statements by Jesus energise Christians in their faith.  Jesus speaks of re-birth, renewal and the freedom of the Spirit of God; he indicates, for those who seek to ponder the deep things of God, such as Nicodemus, the essential simplicity of what Jesus has come to this world to do and proclaim.  The crowds understood this and came to faith in him quickly and without any intellectual questioning, but the professional religious people of the time were, by contrast, bound with layers of inhibitions and theological hurdles.  These presented themselves as power, authority, institutionalism, fear, pride, misunderstanding, the burden of history or knowledge or the anxiety that our Lord’s radicalism was a recipe for anarchy.  

However the theology of this passage is developed, the thrust of its overall impact is to take a deep religious thinker and say to him, with his questioning and searching heart, “Nicodemus, my message really is very simple – don’t complicate matters” – and that reminder is before us today; on this Trinity Sunday – the day upon which we are awed like Isaiah at the sheer otherness of God and brought to ponder his nature and the poverty of our faith and commitment in comparison.  What a good reminder it is!

The message of Jesus has always involved a fresh beginning; Jesus describes it as a new birth – and we link this closely to baptism; but it is essential to connect with the reality of it day by day; we are a people new born; through the waters of baptism and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The chance for this mysterious transformation has been given to us as God’s Son, embraced humanity in his very person and died on the cross for our re-birth to be possible.  So much heavy theology has settled upon these simple facts, as we, following Nicodemus, have asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? And more generally of the whole wonderful gift springing from the love of God, “How can this be?”  

The attraction of the simplicity of Christ’s words to Nicodemus in reply to his questions needs to be heard by all Christians, of all traditions who ponder the deep things of God and try to explain in many words what Jesus means by this, and we need to be careful not to complicate or narrow our Lord’s very light, and his freeing and living words of transformation and love and hope.  

In fact this passage is best taken in the spirit in which John has given it to us, as a deep theological thinker and interpreter himself.  At heart our Lord’s message is straight-forward; our faith needs be quite simple.  The lesson for Nicodemus is the lesson for us, “keep studying, reading, searching, but don’t lose sight of the God who is before you, and in you and who loves you”.  

 John Mann


Third Hymn

How shall I sing that Majesty?: https://youtu.be/QBZLzFlRH5o


1 How shall I sing that majesty

which angels do admire?

Let dust in dust and silence lie;

sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.

Thousands of thousands stand around

thy throne, O God most high;

ten thousand times ten thousand sound

thy praise; but who am I?


2 Thy brightness unto them appears,

whilst I thy footsteps trace;

a sound of God comes to my ears,

but they behold thy face.

They sing, because thou art their Sun;

Lord, send a beam on me;

for where heaven is but once begun

there alleluias be.


3 How great a being, Lord, is thine,

which doth all beings keep!

Thy knowledge is the only line

to sound so vast a deep.

Thou art a sea without a shore,

a sun without a sphere;

thy time is now and evermore,

thy place is everywhere




(using words from the gradual hymn we sung earlier)


We come boldly to the throne of grace,

praying to the almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

for mercy and grace.

We plead before your throne in heaven.


Father of heaven, whose love profound

a ransom for our souls has found:

We pray for the world, created by your love,

for its nations and governments.

Extend to them your peace, pardoning love, mercy and grace.

We plead before your throne in heaven.


Almighty Son, incarnate Word,

our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord:

We pray for the Church, created for your glory,

for its ministry to reflect those works of yours.

Extend to us your salvation, growth, mercy and grace.

We plead before your throne in heaven.


Eternal Spirit, by whose breath

the soul is raised from sin and death:

We pray for families and individuals, created in your image,

for the lonely, the bereaved, the sick and the dying.

Breathe on them the breath of life

and bring them to your mercy and grace.

We plead before your throne in heaven.


Thrice holy! Father, Spirit, Son,

Mysterious Godhead, Three in One:

We pray for ourselves,

for your Church, for all whom we remember before you.

Bring us all to bow before your throne in heaven,

to receive life and pardon, mercy and grace for all eternity,

as we worship you, saying,

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest. Amen.



The Lord’s Prayer


A few moments of silence before we pray:


Peace to us all from God our heavenly Father.

Peace to us from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.

Peace to us from the Holy Spirit, the life-giver.

The peace of the triune God be always with us.



Almighty and eternal God,

you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:

hold us firm in this faith,

that we may know you in all your ways

and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,

who are three Persons yet one God,

now and for ever.



After a moment of silence we read:


The Acclamations


You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honour and power.

For you have created all things,

and by your will they have their being.

You are worthy, O Lamb, for you were slain,

and by your blood you ransomed us for God.

From every tribe and language and nation,

you have made us to be a kingdom and priests

serving our God.

To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honour and glory and might

for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 4.11;5.9b,10,11





The Lord bless us and keep us:


The Lord make his face to shine upon us,

and be gracious to us:


The Lord lift up his countenance upon you

and give you peace:


Numbers 6.24-26


The Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

the holy and undivided Trinity,

guard us, save us,

and bring us to that heavenly city,

where he lives and reigns for ever and ever.



Fugue in E Flat “St Anne” - J.S.Bach: https://youtu.be/io_P0F2rGCw