Weekly sermons based on the Revised Common Lectionary, with the intent of helping all find hope.
Sunday, June 16, 2019
22-31; John 16:12-15
start with a video that demonstrates the reasons it is so hard to suggest an
explanation for the Trinity. The Irish Twins say the Trinity is like something,
and St Patrick gives the twins the reason the explanation doesn’t work. Let’s
Did you catch the
last thing St Patrick says? He says the Trinity can only be understood as a
relationship, first within the Trinity and second between the Triune God and us
The Trinity is one
way early theologians used to explain how one God could remain almighty, walk
the earth, and be present in Spirit, all at the same time. The concept comes
from Greek drama in which one person portrayed several personas by holding up
various masks – one actor, several characters or personas in the play.
Any analogy we
use will fall apart at some point when we try to explain God as Trinity, as the
video quickly demonstrated.
instead about relationships. This image, called a triquetra, helps to show the
movement and relationship among Father, Son, and Spirit. There is no beginning
and no end; one arc of the drawing leads to another to another. There is a
circle intertwined with the arcs, another symbol with no beginning and no
ending. Where Father goes, Son and Spirit follow. Where Son leads, Father and
Spirit follow, and so, too, with Spirit leading. They are inseparable from one another.
There is a
tendency to refer to Holy Spirit as she, because we connect her with Lady
Wisdom. Wisdom is described in scripture as doing many of the things Spirit
does, and I sometimes wonder if she is an early description of God’s Holy
Spirit. However, Lady Wisdom is dedepicted as the first creation of God, not of
one being with God the Creator. So, my idea is shot down, just as the Irish Twins
are in the video. And, once again, we are left with more mysteries than answers.
Jesus told the
disciples that they would not understand what he was telling them. They would
be guided into the truth by Spirit. Just how Father, Son, and Spirit fit
together, just how they work together, is still a mystery for us, 2000 years
later. Trinity is a mystery, an intentional mystery. If we know everything, we
don’t need God. We believe in one God, with three inseparable personas. This
has to be enough for us.
In fact, when we
try to understand the workings of God, we are engaging our brain more than our
heart. God wants to reach our heart more than our brain. Which person – or
persona – of the Trinity holds your heart more? To whom do you pray? Do you
pray to the Father, the Creator? Do you pray to Jesus, the human face of God?
Or do you pray to Spirit, who listens and connects us to each other? Or do you
pray to the Unity, to God as One? Do you pray to one persona or another at
different times, for different purposes? No matter to whom you pray, the others
are listening, because they are inseparable.
Lady Wisdom watches
as God creates everything that is, and rejoices in the creation. She also shows
us how much God delights in us. Maybe we should spend some time delighting in
God and letting God delight in each of us.
One of my
favorite scripture verses is Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God. I
recently read about a prayer practice which is a twist on that verse. The prayer
practice was designed to help us appreciate silent prayer, which I know is a
struggle for many of us.
The practice was:
Be still and let God look at you. When God sees us, God does not see all our
flaws, all our sins, all the ways we have failed to be perfect. What God sees
is the beautiful creation that we are, perfect in God’s eyes.
So, be still and
let God delight in you. Let God the creator look at you and appreciate the
beauty of who you are. Let Jesus look at you and appreciate the way you love
others. Let Spirit look at you and bring you into deeper faith and trust. Let
God look at you, all of you, and let God love you for who you are.
And while you open
your heart to let God delight in you, spend some time delighting in God.
Therein lies the relationship we all seek, to know and love God just as God knows
and loves us. Let the delight begin.