In the Appliance Shed – 22 May 2016

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Rev’d Jonathan Gale


Proverbs 8: 1 – 4, 22 – 31

The Gifts of Wisdom

8Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
2 On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
4 ‘To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.

Wisdom’s Part in Creation

22 The Lord created me at the beginning* of his work,*
the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,*
or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30   then I was beside him, like a master worker;*
and I was daily his* delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.

Romans 5: 1 – 5

Results of Justification

5Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we* have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access* to this grace in which we stand; and we* boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we* also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

John 16: 12 – 15

12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.



According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “appliance” dates back to the 1560s and means the “action of putting into use,” from apply + -ance. In the 1590s the word developed a new meaning, an “instrument, a thing applied for a purpose”.

That is how we use it today. An appliance is an electric drill, a fridge, a stove, a vacuum cleaner. It’s something that does something. It has a very practical ring about it, and for things like that we go to places like The Appliance Shed.

Today is Trinity Sunday and at first glance the idea of the Trinity seems more in line with philosophy than with action. God seems associated with things natural rather than something crafted in order to be utilitarian or useful.

And God is natural. God is the epitome of what is natural, but God is also above the natural: supernatural. God is the epitome of what is rational but is also above the rational. He supersedes it.

The three persons of the Godhead are distinct, yet are one substance, essence or nature.

Our limited minds like to think that God is a God who is more than the sum of his parts. That the one God is greater than any one of the persons who make him up. But that is not so for each person of the Trinity is perfect. God is God – the original of all things – unable to be imperfect by definition. God cannot be diminished and yet it appears God can be enhanced.

Or is it that our perception of God is enriched, that the wonder of the Trinity makes God appear to be a ‘better’ God to us simply because we have God’s beautiful nature better on display in triune form?

In other words we observe the wonder of harmony and love in the relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we think that cannot be bettered, that if there were fewer persons on the Godhead, it would be impoverished.

We love to focus on what is called perichoresis – the dance of love in the Trinity – because relationship is what we understand best.

The truth is it is very difficult for us thoroughly to comprehend God. God remains a mystery because our finite minds can’t grasp the fullness of God.

The most accurate assessment we can make of God (and this is important) is that the pure love that is God’s essence, is so powerful it needs mediation – it needs to be presented to us in forms that we can comprehend and experience.

God is a bit like electricity. You could say he is a shocking God. In his pure form he’s both incomprehensible and possibly even dangerous.

Our experience of electricity is threefold:

  • It is generated for us
  • It is conveyed to us
  • It is made useful for us though various means from vacuum cleaners to electric trains – it is applied through appliances.

Our sentence today reads:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13: 14)

  • the love of God
  • the grace of the Lord Jesus, and
  • the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The love of God is powerful and yet distant from us until conveyed to us through the grace of Christ and made useful to us by the companionship of the  Holy Spirit.

In our Gospel reading Jesus says, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. Why can’t the disciples bear them now? Well, because they wouldn’t yet make sense. They wouldn’t be able to make use of what he has to convey to them. The power is hooked up to your new house but you need to develop a few appliances before it can be of use to you.

He (that is the Holy Spirit) will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. The Holy Spirit will take what Jesus brings and make it plain, make it useful. You may be linked to the power grid but it is only when the electrician wires your appliances up to the power, that the power is useful.

In co-operating with the Spirit, God’s love and power – conveyed by the grace of Jesus – become useful. More than that, the things you develop must be able to use the love Jesus brings.

All that the Father has is mine Jesus says.The power in the entire network is at your disposal.

The immense love of God can flood into us because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He is the channel of God’s immense love to us.

Paul, in Romans 5: 5 says, God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

It’s our job to build the appliances that can make the love of God real, that manifest it. These appliances are ministry, service to God and our fellow Christians in the context of the church.

It is in loving service to others that we discover more fully the love of God for us!

The Christian life has been described as a balance between the contemplation and worship of God on the one hand, and ministry or action in tandem with God on the other. But here’s the thing: as we put God’s love into action so we discover it more fully ourselves.

As we build the appliances that make it possible to apply God’s love, so we discover how powerful is that love. The Being is discovered in the doing.

And here’s another thing: it is in the fires of doing that our character is formed; where what we are (as opposed to what we do) is shaped. But the doing and the being are inseparable.

The greatest force on earth is the love of God; mediated through Jesus and applied through us by the Holy Spirit.

Right where we are now is the Appliance Shed. It is here in the context of church; one Christian with another Christian in all our variance, our weakness, our sinfulness even, along with all our virtue, that we find the appliances that will enable God’s love to be applied.

It is in the Appliance Shed of church that we work arm in arm with the great Applicator (the Holy Spirit) and we are changed – that our being (our character) is changed by our doing (our ministry).

Our privilege is both to receive and apply the love of God that comes to us in Jesus and is activated within us by the Holy Spirit. That is the life work of the Christian.

In our Psalm today Jesus says

30 then I was beside him, like a master worker;*
and I was daily his
* delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.

Jesus knew the Father’s delight and he delights in you and me.

He wants us to do the same.