Trinity Sunday – Crowd funded 4/06/2023
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Friends, I was pondering what it means to be a person who trusts that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is always with me on any given day in any situation. I wondered how that changes me and anyone else who trusts this support and guidance and power for living.
I got to thinking that knowing God as this mysterious One in Three communal God is like being ‘Crowd Funded”. Christian are, ‘Crowd Funded”!
Crowd funding works like this: you have a great idea for a new product or a way to support a cause or achieve a noble goal, or you have had tragedy strike and your friends want to support you in the crisis, so you (or they) set up ‘crowd funding – money that is raised by donations from other people to make the idea happen or the support get done.
God, Father, Son and Spirit is the crowd who knows our crisis, our need. He also knows more than we do about what needs to be done in his world and by whom, and so he ‘funds’ us by his words, his gifts, his presence and his promises.
We trust that the ability to love, forgive, be patient, speak words of witness despite possible opposition, embrace change, let the things of life like possessions and things and money go is humanly impossible. We know that none of us are patient enough, wise enough, loving enough, free enough to forgive all the time or straight away.
And without this trust in God’s ‘funding’ of our lives, even admitting our weaknesses and short-coming and letting the thing we possess go would see quite irrational or weird.
Irrational and weird though we may seem to many, we who have been drawn into Jesus’ orbit of grace and truth by the power of the Spirit active in his Word by decree of the Father in his gift of baptism that still lives in us by faith, are now fully supported and funded for living in this communal life of grace by his grace.
Paul found this life-changing support in Jesus and Jesus ‘funded’ Paul for the rest of his life as Paul bore witness to the grace and truth of Jesus in all kinds of circumstances – some easy, some rally hard. God’s crowd funding was enough.
And because Paul was funded by the Spirit of God he was able to rise above it all and remain faithful to Father, Son and Spirit. You can see it all his New Testament writing, but maybe especially so in the two letters he wrote to that rather difficult crowd down in Corinth.
Despite the conflict, hurt, bad behaviour and doubt of his status as God’s apostle to the Gentiles (sent on to the Gentiles), Paul can still address the Corinthian community as this:
“made holy in Christ Jesus, called to be holy people, together with holy people in every place who call on the of our Lord Jesus Christ … ” (1 Corinthians 1:1).
What a vision of life in God’s funded support is. This is how God sees us. This is how he funds his mission through us – his mission to draw all people into this majestic, mysterious, magnificently beautiful community of love – Father, Son and Sprit….and YOU!
But as we thumb through the letter Paul writes, and as we think on our own life experience as Christians and as a part of a local church, we can easily acknowledge that this beautiful communal holy love with others can be easily shattered. It is our doing, not God’s it is us who seem to naturally limit God’s funding as we either dismiss it as weird or irrational or go after more immediate self serving ‘funding’ sources for facing the challenges upon us.
This is the second time Paul has written to this local crowd. There has been plenty of ‘other funding’ for life going on!
Paul has already said to them that there is division in their community. “Some follow Paul, some Apollos, some Peter, some Christ” (1Corinthians 1:12). Power driven division is death for the community called church.
There is public and persistent immorality among this church. This immorality is of a sexual kind (1 Cor 5:9-10). People get hurt. Relationships get destroyed. Paul urges them again to make immediate changes to their behaviour (1Corinthians 5:3,13).
There are Christians who have taken their fellow Christians to court over petty issues. There is disorderliness concerning public worship. There are people publicly raising doubt about the resurrection of Jesus, and there is a decided lack of love among people.
Most hurtful or Paul is their serious doubting of him – even dismissing of his calling, his teaching, his preaching and his motivation for it all. We see in this second letter that Paul was needing to defend himself because the Corinthians were cranky with him for not visiting them enough and for misusing the funds they had raised (with all the other local churches) to support the people doing it tough in Jerusalem (drought/famine/persecution) (2 Corinthians 2 and 7)
Here is a man who has given it all for the gospel, been inflicted untold verbal and physicals abuse for it who is trying to get help to people who need being asked to give his credentials for the job in Corinth again!!
But what happens at the end of this second letter to this crowd is truly beautiful because it is truly gospel. God, the One in Three still speaks to and calls his isolated people to himself. He still offers his crowd funding even after they have amassed lots of other funding and still been found wanting as a result of ignoring the Lord’s support!
Because Father, Son and Spirit are at work in and with Paul, Paul can still work in God’s love. This man Paul, who has received painful and vindictive words from these people who have questioned him as a Minister and as a person can still give his full support to them because he has Jesus’ full support. Paul is fully funded by God for God’s mission to which he is called.
You can tell this as he closes out his painful letter to his painful people:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit BE WITH YOU ALL”, he declares.
Grace, love, Communion for all and to all.
Grace: that is how God ‘funds’ us – not because we work for him or achieve for him, or earn his funding, but because he just does. He funds us for life in his grace. Grace for life now and life after death then.
Friends, who is funding you and who’s funds are you seeking?
Living on self-made works; earning your way; being good enough to get from God? Or not bothering at all – self-funded?
Or delighting in this funding of Father, Son and Spirit to get you through today?
Here is what God’s funding means to me:
When I am out of steam, out of time, out of love, out of hope, God stumps up the funding of all of them again and again through his crowd (you) carrying his gifts to me.
When I am a graceless man – our Father still graces me.
When you are hurt and dismissed, the love of the Saviour still affirms you and upholds you.
When you are feeling alone and without much help or hope, the Spirit breathes and offers power to overcome and God’s preferred future to be yours again.
You can address your ‘problem people’ as loved and graced by God just like you are.
You can rise above the difficulty and speak of the Holy Trinity’s love and community and calling on your life.
Friends, we, the depleted and incapable community called St Petri have hope today; hope in our God, the one and only One in Three; the God of unity and peace and blessing and belonging.
We are part of God’s crowd, and he funds us with his gifts. We are well funded in the important stuff of life.
Here is what we are funded for:
Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Hugs and kisses all ‘round this morning!
Restoring, encouraging, unified and at peace.
This is our now and this is our goal fo which we are fully funded.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit BE WITH YOU ALL”.
Name your favourite childhood illustration (if you have one) of God being The Holy Trinity. Explain the illustration to the group.
Read 1 Corinthians 13 from verse one to the text we have (v 11-14)…..
The Corinthian church had many issues and Paul patiently writes two letters to try and deal with them. It does not seem to help as much as Paul would have liked. Problems persist and even deepen. This last part of the second letter needs to be stern. How is it stern and how is it still gentle?
In our text Paul is still able to be their support and friend. He says God is the still their supportive Saviour. He says that they still belong to the ‘great cloud of witness – the one holy Christian church, despite their troubled and their less than helpful behaviour. We call this grace – unconditional love on God’s part!
- What hope does this give you for your own problems at the moment? Share your thoughts.
- What hope does this grace in the face if human weakness and bad behaviour give for your local church community?
- What hope does this give you for the place of the Christian church in the world?
I suggest that God the Holy Trinity is like the ‘Crowd Funding”. Our problem is being either unaware or too proud to seek that funding. How do you find yourself rejecting God’s support?
- When you have sought help and support from Christian friends, how has it gone?
- When you have sought support from your church, how has that gone?
- When you have been sought out by someone else for some help, how did you respond?
What other reasons might people have for not receiving God’s ‘funding’ for their life in his grace? How can we help them seek God’s community and compassion for their life?
God, the Holy Trinity, One in Three, help me trust your ‘funding’ of my life in your grace. Keep my pride at bay. Be my support and help me assist other people in seeking your support and direction for their lives, in Jesus’ name. Amen.