Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trinity Sunday

Thoughts toward a sermon:
Readings are here.

There is a joke that was going around preaching circles last week as we pondered what to say this year about Trinity on this-- the celebration of this revelation.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am? And his disciples answered and said, "Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elijah, or other of the old prophets." And Jesus answered and said, "But who do you say that I am?"

Peter answered and said, "You are the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."

And Jesus answering, said, "What?"

It is easy to fall into trying to solve the questions around the concept of The Trinity but the readings call us into something other than a logic problem and out into relationships, love, hope, dance, and poetry.

It has been said about the Trinity: They took poetry and made it into a rule.

Or as Karl Barth said: The Word became flesh, and theologians made it words again.

The readings encourage us to get out our heads into mystery -

Like John Donne in his poem on the Trinity --
Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
As yet but knock; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

Or Killian McDonnell:
God is not a problem
I need to solve, not an
algebraic polynomial equation
I find complete before me,

with positive and negative numbers
I can add, subtract, multiply.
God is not a fortress
I can lay siege to and reduce.

God is not a confusion
I can place in order by my logic.
God's boundaries cannot be set,
like marking trees to fell.

God is the presence in which
I live, where the line between
what is in me and what
before me is real, but only God

can draw it. God is the mystery
I meet on the street, but cannot
lay hold of from the outside,
for God is my situation,

the condition I cannot stand
beyond, cannot view from a distance,
the presence I cannot make an object,
only enter on my knees.

The reading from Proverbs sings of Lady Wisdom who was present and participated in creation – who tells us she can be found out on the street, in the town square or walking the beach on Memorial Day weekend:
she calls, and raises her voice
On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
"To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.

She calls to all who live – she proclaims that God is not a secret knowledge only open to special people but there for all who live – calling them to deeper and greater life.

The Psalm continues with this joyous raucous call – singing of God who works wonders in creation – who offers it all to us as a gift and treasure. The creator whose creation is so grand and yet who holds each of us in the palm of the hand.
Considering each of us with the eyes of love and seeing each of us as worthy.

This same God revealed Paul’s letter to the Romans – who provides with hope
that does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Hope being the quality that calls us to the present and future and keeps us from despair.

This ever revealing nature of God is what Jesus speaks of in the Gospel of John – that we cannot know all at any one time in history – nothing is finished. What we think of as the end may only be a beginning – what me may think is a beginning may only be the continuation of things we do not even know.

As we contemplate the Trinity this day – perhaps we can see it in the image of the Celtic knot – an interweaving of the form – with not beginning or ending. More like a poem or a dance. Illusive and yet capturing something momentarily and then gone in a flash only to reappear. The Trinity offers us a relationship with God that is not static – but available to where we are each day. Some days we need the mysterious presence of the Spirit, some days a companion to walk with, some days a guardian or parent to offer guidance. All are aspects of God who desires to dance with us and make us creators of life for all who inhabit this earth.

In the bible often the word translated as Doers as in the gospel of James:
Be doers of the word not only hearers - Can also be translated
Be poets of the word not only hearers

Or as it says in the old country western song:

Life is a dance
With steps you don’t’ know
Join the dance
Learn as you go.

The Trinity represents the One who is waiting for us to join the dance – pick your partner – do si do.