Sunday, May 30, 2010

The paradox of The Holy Trinity: Freeing us from rigid religion

I am not in the pulpit today, but am taking a break. Today is a major feast of the year -- Trinity Sunday -- and so I thought I would brush off an old Trinity Sunday sermon and share it with you. No doubt there is a heresy or two in here, that seems inevitable on this topic. The readings for today are Romans 5:1-5, and John 16:12-15. May you have a blessed Sunday. . .

The Trinity: Think of a perfect diamond
One God in Three Persons. If you aren’t sure how that works, welcome to Trinity Sunday, the Sunday set aside by the Church to consider the meaning of the doctrine of the Trinity, the concept of One God in Three Persons, as it is classically stated.
It is also the Sunday that many churches commandeer a seminarian and make them preach on this – basically say, Ok smarty, you have all this fancy theological education, you explain it.
But, alas, we don’t have a seminarian. So I am going to take a crack at this. I am going to try to take the doctrinaire out of the doctrine.
The doctrine of the Trinity: if we admit it, many Christians find incomprehensible, or polytheistic, or simply a curious but irrelevant appendage to their faith.
So let me suggest this to you: engage with this concept because it is in the experience of the "Holy Trinity One God" that we might find a place of hope and the promise for a better place for us and all whom we know and love. And it is in the Trinity that we can find a place to embrace all people of every faith, or no faith at all.
As odd as this sounds, the Trinity can free us from rigid doctrine. Let me give you an image of the Trinity to hold and take with you:
Think of a perfect diamond.
Or, for you kids, imagine the most perfect piece of rock candy you have ever seen. And then think of this diamond, or this perfectly clear piece of rock candy, as having three sides. You can shape such a crystal by rounding the sides and connecting it at the points.
Then, think about each side as one side, or person, of the Trinity. One side is the Father – the Creator; one side is the Son, the God who comes to us as a human being in the person of Jesus; and one side is the Holy Spirit who dwells with us always.
All are distinct sides, yet each side of the diamond is connected as One.
No matter which side of the diamond you look into, you see the center, you see God.
Now consider this: If you look into just one or two sides, aren’t you still seeing the center?
I believe to the core of my being that the Trinity is a profound expression of the infinity of God, the infinity of God’s creation. No matter where we stand, or how we might feel, we are still capable of seeing into the center of the diamond or this perfect piece of rock candy.
There is one truth, one God, but an infinite number of angles to see the one God. There are as many angles as there are people to see God, and as viewpoints as there are moments in a day. As long as we are looking at the center of the diamond, no matter what religion we label ourselves, aren’t we all looking upon God?
As the apostle Paul puts it in his Letter to the Romans we hear today: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
Jesus in the Gospel of John 3:1-7 today reminds us that God is infinite, and goes everywhere like the wind: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”
Or look at this another way:
This diamond called the Trinity is no ordinary diamond. It doesn’t reflect light, it radiates light. No matter where you stand, no matter what is going on in your life, no matter what good or bad befalls you, the light of this Holy God will still shine upon you.
Today we are bathed in the light of the Trinity. Expressions of the Trinity are everywhere in our worship – the prayers, in the creed, in the Communion prayers, in the blessing, in the music and the words and symbols that evoke the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sustainer.
All of it reflects new life. Listen and watch for it.
This danger with this concept of the Trinity is it can get too abstract, so we do well to remember that the concept springs forth from the historic event of Jesus of Nazareth, and his call to us – his followers – to take care of each other, to serve the poor, the sick and those who are in any kind of trouble. And it comes from his promise to be with us always.
This precious diamond, this Trinity One God who has no beginning or end, comes to bring us healing and salvation. That is our birthright, that is the gift of the Trinity, One God. AMEN.

1 comment:

karen said...

My hope is that there is room for the feminine side as well...Sophia or the spirit of Wisdom, from the bible.