Our Quest for Faithful Presence
Dear St Luke’s,
“Trinity Sunday” is this weekend. For those of you who grew up Lutheran you may well have observed a Trinity Sunday every year of your life. This will be my second Trinity Sunday… and its already one of my favorite days of the church’s calendar.
I love the very idea that God – at least within the Christian tradition – is understood as a living relational paradox encountered through openness to mystery… yes, I’m talking about the Three-and-the-One.
In pre-scientific times the Trinity was perceived as an unfathomable wonder inviting us out of the world of certainty and into the world of faith. The “Trinity” was beyond human reason. Its almost as if people were trying to figure out God the way one might solve any other equation; but that’s not how persons and community work… God isn’t a problem to solve, but persons and community to live life with.
From where I sit, modern science seems to open more room for followers of Jesus to simultaneously embrace God’s multicity and God’s oneness; not unlike the study of light… looked at from one angle way light is a wave, from another it’s a particle. In the Bible we look at one story and God appears to be Three, we look at another text and God appears One. Or scale free network theory (the math behind much of social media), and quantum physics/mechanics which, in various ways describe reality as irreducibly relational. Reality is not static, fixed, or even universal but dynamically drawn together in meaning making relations of reciprocity. I might be veering way out of my lane as a practical theologian.
I am convinced that one of the most important “ideas” Christianity has to offer the world is our imagination of who God is! In our scriptures God seems to reveal Godself as three and one; as multicity and unity; as diversity and love. This paradox is vital to making sense of our world that seems more fragmented and divided than ever. The Trinity shows us that difference is good. Difference is NOT a problem but a gift. Difference reflects God because God is Three. We don’t need to make “them” think, dress, act, believe, worship, value, invest, or be like us. God made us different and difference reflects the image and likeness of God. And…
The three persons of the Godhead (Father . Son . Spirit) are one, they are unity in love. Three-and-One. The existence of difference is the invitation to discover love as we see in Jesus Christ. God is love. It’s not just that God is loving – surely God is loving – rather God is love because God is real difference in community where each person empties themself in service of other. Love in relational action.
Each time we claim that God is Triune, we make a bold two-part claim. First, we claim that diversity is a good and beautiful gift reflective of God’s own being. And second, that to follow in the way of God invites us to open to difference so as to discover God’s way of love. The greater the perceived difference between yourself and another, the greater the possibility for you to experience the depth and wonder of God’s love… we’ll talk more about this on Sunday!
Two more things. This Sunday will be Tim Naugler’s final worship gathering before his move, so we will plan to bless him… so much gratitude for his life and presence with us. And this Sunday our BoT will host the second part of the conversation about St Luke’s future which was begun last Sunday. Remember, these Community Forums are open and welcome to all, whether you’re a long-time member or new to St Luke’s.
Please know that you are a treasure, there is no one quite like you, you are loved, you belong, and you are not alone.