Trinity Sunday is a chance for a dive into challenging and deep ideas. What I always find is that understanding the doctrine of the Trinity—let alone explaining it—will have a very limited success. Several years ago, I laughed at this irreverent review of Trinity-analogies-dismissed-as-heresies sent by a friend, and I watch it every year at this season to both amuse and also to remind me of the challenge of talking about the Trinity. You might enjoy it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw&ab_channel=LutheranSatire
On Sunday I spoke of our human limitations in describing the full interaction and persons of the Trinity in part because we are embedded in time, finite and mortal, with all our categories of understanding and experience dependent on time-language and time-ideas. Our limitations in knowing the Holy One-in-Three are just hinted at by the two kinds of time found in the New Testament that may be invisible to our English-reading eyes: “time” in the New Testament is usually kronos (time that is chronological and linear, that you can count, that unfolds by day, year, century), but sometimes kairos (time that is the ripe moment, the time-out-of-time, the moments where time stands still). Throughout our lives we have experiences and inbreakings of the Holy One-in-Three in different kinds of time, encountering God in kronos time in the Sunday after Sunday experience that forms community and gives basic nurture throughout our lives; we also know God in kairos time, the pivotal moments that may be around rare, transformative events. The doctrine of the Trinity reminds us that we are ever in the presence of the Holy One-in-Three, coming to know the Holy One in different ways at different moments of our lives. We know the Holy as God the Creator in our engagement with creation and inklings of vast expanses of time that are all flowing into the river of eternity. We know the Holy in the in the Word made flesh who in a life span of 33 years showed us in very human ways what abundant love and radical inclusion look like on the ground—literally on the ground. And we know the Holy in inspiration and encounter in the breath of creation that is the breath and spirit we encounter in our lives.
As the Holy is made known to us in our mortal existence in time, the fourth dimension, come to the Holy is also made known to us in space, the third dimension. There is the same abundance and diversity of encounter of God in space as in time. As I walked across the street to the office today I thought about tonight’s Celebration of New Ministry and how small and ordinary actions—weeds pulled; refreshments prepared; the usual preparations for the Eucharist that we celebrated every Sunday; beloved music practiced, played and sung—are the stuff of a beautiful, stirring, and holy event. And you will see in the service tonight that ordinary things—oil, bread, wine, keys—will be given as the stuff of ministry ranging from tending the physical plant of the church, to formation for youth, to outreach in the community, to celebrating the presence and grace of the Holy One in worship.
Although we may get tongue-tied (or wade into heresies!) trying to explain the Trinity, we can abide in a deeper knowing that the interaction, engagement, relationship, and presence of the Holy One-in-Three may be encountered in the extraordinary, in the paraordinary, and most certainly in the ordinary.
I am so glad that on June 13th we officially start our time together at St Andrew’s, knowing that we will build—with the everyday, and with the spectacular, in workaday and in red-letter days—as we learn to discern the call of the God in our shared lives and ministry here in Greencastle.
Peace be upon you,