Homily, La Familia Santa Fe, la Familia Trinitaria
Trinity Sunday, 2021 (My last Sunday with Santa Fe)
Santa Fe Episcopal Church
San Antonio, TX
The Rev. Derek M Larson, TSSF
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
“You have received a spirit of adoption.”
“Ustedes han recibido el Espíritu que los hace hijos de Dios.”
En el nombre de la santa familia que se llama la Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo, y Espíritu Santo. Amén.
La Familia Santa Fe
I first visited Santa Fe two and a half years ago during the weekend of the birthday celebration of Naya, and it is something I will never forget. The church was full of people, and voices, and laughter, and celebration. The music was loud and joyous. And to this day whenever I think of Santa Fe I always think of my favorite song that we sang that day: “Así así así se alaba Dios.”
Even though the songs were different, somehow the service that day reminded me of the church I grew up in, and I felt like I belonged. We sang loudly with full hearts and there was no doubt in the room that everyone there was family. Everyone there, from Naya a founding member of the church to me and my classmate who had never stepped foot in the building before—we were all family. Todos éramos familia. There was no doubt of that because as we worshiped together you could feel in the room the love of God between hermanos y hermanas, madres y padres, abuelas y abuelos. You could feel in the room the holy welcome of family—la Santa Bienvenida de la familia.
The day before, my classmate and I had come to learn about and help with the food bank and we saw that holy welcome again as Ms. Esther, Ms. Anna, and others greeted almost every person from the barrio who came for food by name. I watched as they chatted with people in line about their lives—the good and the bad, the joyful and the sad. My job was to help people to their cars—and sometimes to their homes if they were close—with the groceries. As we walked together, we’d talk a little bit and I’d share with them I was visiting Santa Fe for the first time and their eyes would light up and tell me how wonderful the people of Santa Fe are for the community.
Holy welcome. Santa Bienvenida.
I don’t remember if it was that same weekend or a little later but I remember talking with Ms. Esther about that morning and she said to me, “I knew you were one of us when you walked the streets of the barrio.” While I’m not from here on the Southside of San Antonio, and while my Spanish is not very good, and while I was only here for a couple years to learn while I studied in seminary, from that first visit—desde esa primera visita—I was accepted here as part of the Santa Fe family—Me aceptaron aquí como parte de la familia Santa Fe.
And I am so grateful. Estoy tan agradecido.
La Familia Trinitaria
Today something similar is happening in our reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. St. Paul writes that when we receive the Spirit of God in our lives, we receive also the spirit of adoption which welcomes us into the very family of God. And as members of God’s family with the Spirit dwelling in us, we become children of God the Father, and siblings of Christ. In other words, we become part of the Holy Trinity. Según San Pablo en la carta a los Romanos, estamos invitados a formar parte de la Santísima Trinidad,
Hoy es lo que llamamos Domingo de la Trinidad en el calendario de la Iglesia—Trinity Sunday. Y hoy recordamos y honramos nuestra creencia de que servimos a un Dios en tres personas, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo. Y sí, esta creencia es muy confusa a veces, pero el significado más básico y simple es que el corazón de Dios es comunidad—the heart of God is community. El corazón de Dios es familia. In the Trinity God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit live together as an inseparable and united family. La Santísima Trinidad es y son familia.
And the thing about families, is that they are always growing. Las familias siempre están creciendo. In families the circle is always growing wider. Sometimes that’s because family members get married, or give birth, or adopt, and other times it’s because the bonds of friendship has made family out of those who are not related by blood or marriage but by love. Whatever the case, we are always finding new people in our families, because the nature of family is to grow. The nature of family is to expand. The nature of family is to welcome. La naturaleza de la familia es crecer y ser bienvenida.
And the same is true of God. Es lo mismo con Dios. La Santa Familia que se llama La Santísima Trinidad les da bienvenida a esa familia. You are being invited to participate as members of God’s holy Trinitarian family. This is why in our passage from Romans this morning St. Paul writes that we are not only children of God but heirs of God. Just as the Son of God is glorified, we sons, daughters, hijos de Dios are also glorified. We are being invited into God’s family.
La familia que da la bienvenida
So what does it mean to be members of God’s family? Qué significa ser miembros de la familia de Dios? For one thing it means extending the welcome given to us by the Holy Trinity to those around us. Just as we have been invited into the family of God, to be members of God’s family is to invite others into the family of God. That’s really what evangelism is all about. It’s not as much about converting people as it is becoming family to people. Ser miembros de la familia de Dios es ser familia para los demás.
Today is my last Sunday with you here at Santa Fe—es mi último Domingo con ustedes aquí en Santa Fe—and as I reflect on the two years I’ve spent with you as seminarian and deacon, I am so, so grateful for so many reasons. But among those reasons is that in welcoming me into the Santa Fe family you have taught me more about the nature of God. Al darme la bienvenida a la familia de Santa Fe, me ha enseñado más sobre la naturaleza de Dios.
Your holy welcome reflects the holy welcome of the Trinity and in being brought deeper into relationship with you, I have been brought deeper into relationship with God whose very heart and being is family. Estar en relación con ustedes me han ayudado a tener una mejor relación con Dios, cuyo corazón es la familia.
-And you have taught me more how to embody that Divine welcome for others so that I can become family to all those I meet. As I begin ministry as a priest next month in Florida, that is something that I will take with me. Santa Fe has taught me how to be family to others. Santa Fe me ha enseñado a ser familia para los demás.
Mil gracias por eso. Estoy tan agradecido.
¡Entonces mi mensaje de despedida para ustedes hoy es que sigan siendo la familia de Dios! Keep extending the love God has given you to those around you! Keep welcoming others into la familia Santa Fe—la familia de Dios. For the more you act as family to others, the more you will find yourselves as family to God, la Santísima Trinidad. Amén.