May 31, 2023
Beloved in Christ,
This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, one of the seven principal feasts of the church year. If you want a good laugh to prepare for it, I recommend this classic take.
A common joke among clergy is that this is a good Sunday to find a guest preacher, since most of us don't relish the opportunity to explain a mind-bending piece of doctrine in a sermon. The idea that God is Trinity is, I think, often met with a lot of suspicion, or simple lack of interest. This is particularly true in light of the historical fact that it was worked out in councils of the church that included vehement fights about very fine points about language and philosophy.
You should know me well enough by now to know that I think holding fast to our confession of God as Trinity is critically important. What we are saying when we confess that God is revealed as three persons in unity of being is that God's very heart is an eternal relationship of mutual love. As Christians, we are saying the most basic thing that is true about all of reality is a community of loving, mutual relationship. That's a profound thing to say about what is most true and real in and about all of creation.
And if you think the Trinity is incomprehensible and irrational, then you've got it exactly right. Indeed, all those fights about the finer points of how we define the Trinity in the creeds was a deliberate attempt by the earliest church to establish that God is not a concept that we understand, but a mystery that we encounter, and a deeply personal love that enfolds us. The doctrine was developed precisely to keep us from thinking God is something we can fully understand within the confines of our rational, human brains. It reminds us that our faith is not something we think, or something we agree to with our brains, but a way of life that we commit to, a God that we give ourselves over fully to.
There is nothing that is truer about creation than that loving community is its most powerful force. Loving community is the beginning and the end. In our own small, finite, broken, and imperfect way, we are called in the church to be so drawn into the loving embrace of the Trinity, that we reflect that truth in everything we do. It really doesn't make any sense, and I hope this weekend you will bask in the weird and wild gift of proclaiming the unity, and beholding the mystery, of God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
Grace and Peace,