6.04.2009

Trinity Sunday

Isaiah 6.1-8
Psalm 29
Romans 8.12-17
John 3.1-17



Well, this week's lectionary readings are labeled "Trinity Sunday",
and boy are they ever steeped (when taken together) in Trinitarian
thought!

As we have said in the past, (for us, at least) the concept of The
Trinity is a slippery one. There is no place in the Hebrew or
Christian scriptures where the idea or concept or formula or
instruction manual for The Trinity is laid out. In current (American)
Christian understanding The Trinity is made up of God the Father and
God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For Trinitarians (folks who
believe in the Trinity....as opposed to Unitarians who believe God
exists as a Whole--a Unity) that pretty much is the line where
consistent similarities end. Some folks put God the Father as the
main player and the other two members of the Trinity are subsequent,
some folks put most of the emphasis on God the Son (Jesus), some folks
put most of their emphasis on God the Spirit, some folks attempt to
hold all three as equally important, and then there are folks all over
the rest of the spectrum. For some The Trinity is an integral part of
their belief system, and for some The Trinity is an unimportant, human-
created side-note.

And then, if you somehow get a hold of who all The Trinitarian Players
are, what do they do? Who is responsible for what? Did they
chronologically show up and chronologically leave? Are they all here
now? Are any of them here now? What are they doing to us or for us
or in spite of us?

And in this week's readings we get to see some fairly diverse views of
what we have come to know as the different members of The Trinity.

In the passage from Isaiah he relates to us a beautiful vision. One
thing to pay attention to here is who does what and what happens.
Isaiah finds himself in the presence of the Lord and the Lord's seraph
attendants and his first reaction is to admit he is unclean and lost.
In the Isaiah passage, at 6:5, "I am lost," is actually a double
entendre in Hebrew that also translates "I am speechless." THEN the
seraphs (not The Lord) bring a coal to touch to Isaiah's mouth and
cleanse him of his sin. And THEN (only then) we see The Lord speaking
to everyone in attendance and Isaiah answering.

In Psalm 29 we get reference after reference after reference to "the
voice of the Lord". The Voice of the Lord does everything--it is over
the waters, it breaks cedars, it shakes the wilderness, etc. It is so
interesting that it is the thing that we humans often depend on for
interrelation with another human (the voice) that is so powerful.
Hearing and speaking...there is a symbiosis and a completeness to
these things. One means nothing without the other and the two
together create powerful and intimate connection and/or division - and
actually, that is sort of a beautiful connection to Trinity...there is
a perfection, a completeness in the whole of the trinity as it is
described and understood by some, and we can be caught up by the
embrace of the three entities.

In this week's short passage from Paul's letter to the church in Rome
we see Paul attempting to do some of the first formal / recorded
fidgeting with the concept of The Trinity...in this case it is
specifically with The Spirit. He is working through some of the
mechanics of how he understands the Spirit of God to work. For
example, in the Romans passage, when we cry out Abba, father, that is
the spirit speaking through us.

And in the passage from John we find the often told story of Jesus
interacting with Nicodemus. Remember, Nicodemus was a teacher /
keeper of the Jewish law, and he has sought Jesus out to talk to him
because he (Nicodemus) believes he (Jesus) is "a teacher who has come
from God." The two of them go back and forth about being born both of
water and of the Spirit. It seems this statement in verse 5 is
something of a Trinitarian Lynchpin: No one can enter the kingdom of
GOD with out being born of water and SPIRIT (spoken by JESUS, emphasis
ours).....and later in John (6:63), Jesus says, "The words that I have
spoken to you are spirit and life." This philosophically and
theologically complicated passage goes deeper and deeper, but take a
few moments and read it with a view toward trying to understand The
Trinity.

Through voices, in our hearing, in our interactions with God, we
identify and relate to God in different ways. It makes us wonder, is
any relationship really one-on-one?

What can the voice of the Lord do in the world?
Have you experienced Isaiah's speechlessness? What changed to give
you voice?
When you relate to God, to whom do you relate? Who do you address?
What connects you?
How do you believe one enters the Kingdom of God?

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, bless├Ęd Trinity!

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