St. Mary Nanoose Bay
June 16, 2019 2019 Sermon
Trinity Sunday/Father’s Day
Father’s Day; Trinity Sunday. They are all about relationship. We can have ideas and theological reflections about them but ultimately, both are about engaging and being open, vulnerable and dedicated.
I’ve told this story before, I think. About how soon after I was baptized, as an adult with young children, I went to my priest and said I was confused about several things; one being “The Trinity.” The poor young man couldn’t help me out. Whatever he said just confused me more. And made me feel inadequate to the task of ever understanding anything theological.
I think my mistake was approaching the Trinity as a noun – as a thing that could be visualized and understood as a particular something.
I now grasp the Trinity as a verb. Let me explain.
Listen to what St. Augustine has to say about the Trinity. He bases his discourse on the Trinity on John’s words: “God is love” (1John 4:10) “Because God is love,” says Augustine, “He is Trinity! - Love implies one who loves, that which is loved, and love itself. In the Trinity, the Father is he who loves, the source and principle of everything; the Son is he who is loved; the Holy Spirit is the love with which they love one another.”
If you were here a few Sundays ago, you will remember the image I used with my son when he was a small boy to explain love. I invite you to take your hands and put them together as if you were holding hands with a child; one big hand, one small. And now become aware of the space in between – that small pocket of air between the 2 hands could be imagined as the love between the two holding hands. And this love is there no matter how far apart the hands get when unclasped. We’re just more aware of the love when we are close by and touching.
Take a moment to imagine your hand holding the hand of someone you love …. and now feel the air, that pocket between your 2 hands as the love between you; palpable, warm, present………
The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – could be imagined like this. Big hand, small hand, and the space between, which seems empty but in which the connection happens; the unseen love is held.
Yesterday I spent a long time on our back porch looking out at the trees and mountain in the distance. The wide array of green colours were especially vivid and the morning was still cool enough that the birds were singing full volume. I was on the porch; Creation was out there and something was happening between us. For some reason I was really seeing; I was fully engaged. I was aware of all sorts of feelings rumbling round inside; excitement, awe, wonder. My gut cramped and I was aware of my heart beating in my chest. I was awake to the glory before me.
Again, there was me, Creation and the interchange between us. A Trinity. Creator, created and the relationship between.
Nothing static. Nothing exists without my engagement with it.
The invitation is open at all times. We bring our mundane experience to God and we are engaged. We reach out our hand and as the painting “The Creation of Adam” (show print) by Michelangelo suggests, God’s hand is reaching out to us. And in that contact, even before, there is the spark of love. Not only on one side or one the other, but in the engagement between the two.
I can think of no more beautiful way to describe this Trinity; this perfect expression of love than in this poem by the poet Hafiz: (Sing…..)
Every Child-Hafiz/Ladinsky/Levin © 2009
Every child has known God
That’s quite a claim.
For they don’t know God as a God of names,
A God of Don’ts, a God of Shame,
Of stormy moods or any strange behaviour,
Not a king or a queen, a giant tyrant or saviour,
But every child knows God,
Not as someone they can see,
But one who only knows four words:
Come Dance with me! Come Dance with me! Come Dance- Come Dance Come Dance- With me. Come Dance with me!
Take a moment to remember – how did you engage in the dance of love with God as a small child?
This is the verb “Trinity” – the love that engages you in life in ways that bring you joy, wonder and ease.
This is the relationship that is yours for the asking; for the receiving.
How are you being invited to engage in the holy Trinity? Are you open to how love might dance in your life?
Forget the theological contortions you’ve been taught; don’t think about the Trinity; engage!
When you consider how you might get involved in parish life; don’t be rational, let yourself feel the invitation to new life; life in the Spirit. Life that feeds your relationship with the Holy. And take a risk, step out in a way that lights you up; that fires your imagination; that opens you up.
This is the Holy Spirit at work in your life, in our parish, in the world. People responding to God’s invitation to dance in a way that is very personal, very loving and wholly life giving.