Friday, June 20, 2014

Celebrating the Holy Trinity

Scripture for Trinity Sunday includes Genesis 1:1-2:4a; II Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

What an odd thing, to reserve one Sunday in the church year to celebrate a concept: Trinity Sunday. If there is a problem with this, it is that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is just as likely to be presented as a problem as it is to be celebrated as a priceless gift, a burden to be explained rather than a blessing to be embraced. More a geometry problem to solve than a pool of living water to go splashing and swimming in.

And the readings for today are an odd lot. First, the opening account of creation from the Book of Genesis, as if recognizing from the get-go that the mystery of the Holy Trinity requires a healthy regard for materiality, the Creator God longing for partnership in caring for this beyond-miraculous shimmering mantle of life draped upon this planet. And in the culmination of all this divine yearning , God breathes spirit into matter, to implant the divine likeness.

Okay. So that’s not quite a proof text for the doctrine of the Trinity, but it presents two dimensions of God, Creator and Spirit, and the stage is set for the Word to become flesh, as the divine breath animates Adam and Eve, implanting the image of God.

Then, after what may be the longest lesson in the church year, come two of the shortest.

St. Paul writes to his congregation at Corinth and expresses what every pastor asks of his or her congregation: “Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace.” I wonder if these words don’t echo the voice of the Creator God shaping the world.

I wonder if these words might also suggest the crucible out of which the doctrine of the Holy Trinity emerged. The concept of a multi-dimensional God (Father/Mother, Son, Spirit) puts God in order. The interdependent unity in the midst of diversity (Creator, Redeemer, Guide) demonstrates what agreement looks like and how it behaves at the highest level. The basic message that God is knowable in at least three distinct ways without conflict, without contradiction, models what it is to live in peace.

And then the Gospel, the closing words in Matthew, conveys the promise the Holy Trinity fulfills: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” And that “I” is spoken from the heart of the dancing, twirling, circling persons of the divine Trinity, inviting us to know God through each pathway into the Godhead, to pray into warmer relations with whichever member of the Trinity we feel least familiar with, to steep ourselves in trusting silence in the company of whichever member we feel we know best, and to welcome the call that rises from the yearning of God for partners in caring for the earth and its myriad creatures.

Carl Jung insisted that three was an incomplete number, always leaning toward four. This helped him present a case for Mother Mary taking her place in the Godhead.

Though, from what I’ve observed, believers who are devoted to Mary don’t need her case to be argued by any man. Mary is the one who gets things done. There hasn’t been a time in the worldwide Church when Mary hasn’t been right at the heart of the apostolic community, the missionary movement, and the bridging between materiality and the spirit.

Check out the rightmost window above the altar rail and see Mary front and center at the Ascension of her son Jesus, and see her again as the hub of the wheel of apostles receiving .the Pentecostal flames of illumination and ignition. You might say she is the midwife of the new creation launched by the resurrection of her son, our savior.

One need not be a Jungian to speak of Mary on Trinity Sunday. Nor is it tinkering with the Holy Trinity to speak of her place in the divine dance. When we all learn the steps and practice the rhythms of the Holy Trinity, when we all entrust ourselves into the dynamic stillness of the Creator, the centered self-giving of the Redeemer, and the Spirit’s peace that passes understanding, then the doctrine of the Holy Trinity will seem no longer a problem in geometry, but a priceless gift of grace.