Homily “The Trinity: In Good Company”

  Today is Trinity Sunday. As Christians we affirm that God is three Persons in one Divine nature.  We celebrate the reality of God beyond limits, beyond the confines of identity, and beyond definition. We do our best to ‘explain’ the concept of the Holy Trinity, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, whether by odd analogies and halting three-in-one parallels. But maybe trying to make sense of the Divine Unity in a logical, intellectual fashion is not what people need today.

  It is tough not to be saddened and dismayed by events, disasters unfinished wars and victims of wars remembered for centuries. From economic instability to factory collapses, from partisan political rigmarole to terrible tornadoes leveling towns, and from human cruelty to the grim reality of climate change, we live in a world that appears hopelessly long on woes and woefully short on hope. In a world rife with pain and suffering, we hunger for an extra large helping of hope served up in the sauce of love on a plate of peace. 

   Perhaps it is better today to abandon our struggles with the theologically complex and the personally heart-wrenching and look for other signs of divine hope and saving love. And we can certainly find such a diversion – yet one that reveals much about our God – in the first reading today, from Proverbs.   (Sharron R. Blezard)

  A most unusual character steps to the front of our biblical stage there this week, so unusual that no one seems to be able to completely explain who ‘she’, is, except that it is definitely a ‘she’, this ‘Woman Wisdom’, ‘Lady Wisdom’, or, as Eugene Peterson translates it in ‘The Message Bible’, ‘Madame Insight’. This mysterious figure has familiar connections with God’s own attribute of wisdom. Scholars, however, also associate this mysterious figure, Lady Wisdom, with the third Person of the Trinity, the Advocate.

  Lady Wisdom reminds her hearers that she was present with God, and even assisted God, way back at creation itself. Right from the beginning, Lady Wisdom was in on the elegant beauty and the rightness and the purpose of everything God made, so she must understand how it all works, or how it should work. The joy and deep awe she describes in beholding creation in its vast grandeur beautifully echoes Psalm 8, as the psalmist reflects on looking up into the sky and beholding the stars and the moon, and feeling how small we mortals truly are.

  We also read in this text a message that is universal, for Wisdom reveals an aspect of God’s presence in our lives. Wisdom, after all, is of the heart and not just the mind, because the heart knows things in a different way than our mind does. Wisdom speaks to our hearts. Nothing could be simpler or more democratic – after all, everyone has a heart.

  Finally, we need to see this introduction to Lady Wisdom as a starting point and inspiration for a spiritual practice that is much neglected in our frantic, overly-electronic, preoccupied world: Quiet time. Listening. Being observant. Being. (Not “being” on our cell phones, but just ‘being’). We are reminded that worship services and bible study are not the only or even the primary way we might connect with God, nor looking to an invisible, ‘spiritual’ realm, but by entering attentively into the depths of the present moment. There we will find God wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing.

  The theologian Barbara Brown Taylor in her book ‘An Altar In the World’ suggests different ways that we might encounter God in our everyday lives, including practices like walking on  the earth, paying attention, getting lost, and waking up to God. Wisdom also comes from practice rather than knowledge:  Wisdom atrophies if it is not walked on a regular basis. An excellent way of practicing is ‘attentive inaction’. The easiest practice of Wisdom I know is simply to sit down somewhere outside, preferably near a body of water, and pay attention for at least twenty minutes. It‘s not necessary to take on the whole world at first. Just take the three square feet of earth on which you are sitting, paying close attention to everything that lives within that small estate.

  Ecological disasters like the Gulf oil spill or the wrecked nuclear power plant in Japan have once again turned our attention to our fragile relationship with God’s good creation, and has led at least some of us to reflect again on the wisdom, or lack of wisdom, in applying our technical expertise on behalf of our hunger for more and more resources from the good earth. Trinity Sunday provides an opportunity to stand still, at least for a little while, and perceive God’s grace-full hand at work in creation, to reflect on God’s love made flesh and living among us, and to give thanks for God’s Spirit, whose power sustains us right here and now, in this beautiful but hurting world.

  This is the big lie that the world tells us: The world is connected by trade agreements, electronic banking, computer networks, shipping lanes, and the seeking of profit—nothing else. This is the truth of God: Creation is a holy web of relationships, a gift meant for all; it vibrates with the pain of all its parts, and those who look closely will still find Lady Wisdom at its heart.

 And we will all find ourselves in Good Company in those divine relationships that are eternal.  (Kathryn Matthews Huey)

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