Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dancing with the Trinity

There are many preachers who try to avoid preaching on Trinity Sunday like the plague. Personally I love this day as it brings together all of the Feast Days of the past six months: all the way back to Advent and Christmas– through to Pentecost last week. God incarnate in Jesus Christ, God as Lord of creation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God paradoxically at once immanent and transcendent in the Holy Spirit that both hovered over the face of the earth at the birth of creation and hovers in creation still as it inspires and guides each one of us. God, recognised in different times and places – altogether other, different and separate within itself yet altogether the same, similar and co-joined in intention and life, all that we understand of God, have experienced of God, hope and believe about God, is gathered into and expressed in this day as we prepare to journey through the next six months – towards celebrating the great Feast Days and Festivals again.
We speak about the Holy Trinity and use the term Persons to describe the three ‘parts’ that make up the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Over time, and through God’s revelation to us in different ways, we have come to understand God in these three different ways: God who creates – Mother/Father; God who redeems – the beloved Son; God who sanctifies – the Holy Spirit, Wisdom, in Hebrew – ruach, the breath and being of life. We name each of facet of the Trinity as ‘Person’ because each facet of the Trinity is unique and individual. In their uniqueness and individuality though there is no conflict, division or isolation. The Persons of the Trinity are intertwined, they dance around each other, supporting and complementing each other. Within the dance, difference is released also though, similarity of intent and state is gathered – and celebrated too.
The person of the Trinity who creates, named as Father and also Mother, the one who gave life to the whole of creation at its beginning – the Creator continues to pour out love in the on-going way of the world and the universe. We are so very small, yet the Creator knows our name – yours and mine – this person of the Trinity counts the hairs on our head as well as the number of the stars in the sky. This person of the Trinity suffuses the world with light and love – and continues to pour out love now. All time is as of a moment for God – there is no beginning and no end and nothing is beyond the reach of God’s creative love.
The person of Trinity who redeems – named as Jesus the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour of the World – the Saviour continues the task of redemption even now. As we have celebrated over these recent weeks and months, God broke through the heavens, took human form and walked and lived as we do, taught the disciples and peoples about the love that he carried within him, the love of the Creator, and how this love would take him to the cross in the ultimate self-sacrifice whereby we would know understand how much God loves us. No longer should our waywardness separate us from the one who created us. No longer should the disobedience of our forebears characterise the relationship that we have with God whereby we are cast out for their forgetting God’s love – rather a new way is opened to us. This new way is one that takes us into heaven – through the forgiveness won for us by Jesus on the cross, and even more so through the conquering of death – as we celebrated on Easter Day. The love of the Saviour that redeems and that also brought creation to birth – continues today – offering to each person who turns to Christ the promise of life eternal.
The person of the Trinity that sanctifies – named as the Holy Spirit, ruach, Wisdom – this person of the Trinity, present at the creation of the world and poured anew on the disciples at Pentecost, and present too at the baptism of Christ – this person of the Trinity continues to inspire, to equip and to guide even now. As we celebrated last week, and as we pray each Sunday and each day, the Holy Spirit comes upon us and fills us anew each moment with the grace of God, allowing us to live by God’s grace and in God’s love. The Holy Spirit equips us with the Gifts of the Spirit, and these in turn give life to us, to the church and to the world. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, self-control – these fruits of the spirit allow life and love to flow throughout our community of faith and into the world. It is the Holy Spirit that has inspired us to take ‘Serving the whole community’ as our strapline – for it is the whole of humanity that we are called to serve – our church community, our local community and the community that is humanity across the world. Nowhere is beyond the reach of God’s love, and nowhere is beyond our love either. The Holy Spirit, invisible and mysterious, leads us on a journey that is exciting and challenging and wonderful. Just as the ways and wonders of each of the persons of the Trinity are intertwined with one another, unique and yet indivisible, so they are intertwined with each one of us. We are made holy, as we hear in the words of Jesus today: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
These things have been declared to us through the grace and gift of the Holy Spirit, and thus we share in the work of creating, redeeming and sanctifying the world around us. We do not do this by our own power, but by the power of God. We are made holy, set apart for God’s will, by God’s will. The Trinitarian God of Creation, of Redemption and of Sanctification speaks into the heart of each one of us and, if we listen, we will hear words that invite us to join in the work of the Trinity too. God created the world in love, redeemed each one of us in love and sanctified each one of us love. God as creator continues to create – and invites us to do so too. God as Saviour continues to redeem – and invites us to do so too – by sharing this truth as possibility. God as Spirit continues to sanctify – and invites us to do so too, by sharing this truth as possibility for ourselves and for those around us.
I said earlier, that the Persons of the Trinity are intertwined, they dance around each other, supporting and complementing each other and that within the dance difference is released and similarity of intent and state is gathered and celebrated. I also said that I love this today – this Feast Day of the Church. It is about all that God is and all that God does – for each one of us and for the world. We are invited to join the dance, to join the work and to live the wonderful truth that God reveals herself to us in these different ways and that God invites us to join him in his work and will for the world.

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