Saturday, May 21, 2005

TRINITY SUNDAY Click here for Readings
The concept of the Trinity was developed by the early church to clarify the boundaries of acceptable belief in Christianity. Although many of the same questions remain about the nature of God, and different religions and denominations give various answers, the concept of the Trinity has captured an idea of God that is really breathtaking. It is not an answer that limits but one that invites. In the Rublev icon there is space at the table for the viewer - as if to say join us in our contemplation. There are many depictions in art of the Trinity. Using the image search function on Google will bring up a variety. The Celtic designs feature abstract interweaving often forming a heart in the center. Another that reveals the passion of God is by Pieter Coecke Van Aelst. Art and dance seem to be able to express this idea better than words. As a revelation of God words fail to catch all the nuances of the Divine - the dance of relationship between the Creator, the Christ, and the Spirit - all participating in one another and yet separate manifestations of the Holy One.
I think it expresses a balance of life in this time and space and all that belongs to life beyond. The Navajo concept of Ho'zho' - Walk in Beauty - captures this balance, as do other religious traditions. The Trinity reveals perfect balance that we are called to find in our own lives.
The creation story from our readings today speak of God creating through the breath/Spirit to incarnate life as we know it. At each stage of creation the writer of Genesis says "and God saw that it was good." Good or Tov (in Hebrew) is more than our concept of good vs. bad - it has the sense of "order" or being in right relationship. All things in creation are good - they are in balance and in right relationship to the divine. Part of the story of the fall is that humans get out of this balance - they forget their relationship to the Holy. Nevertheless, humans cannot destroy the essential goodness of creation and our essential goodness as created in the image of God, all of us, unique, yet bearing the image of God.
The Trinity calls us back to our essential being - calls us to join the dance of creation, learn the steps of the dance, bringing our selves into the sphere of the divine. No wall flowers at this dance - all are invited.
The Shaker hymn Simple Gifts embodies this sense of finding our delight in the steps of the dance of the Holy in the Trinity.

Some poetry by John Donne
Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Father, part of his double interest
Unto thy kingdom, thy Son gives to me,
His jointure in the knotty Trinity
He keeps, and gives to me his death's conquest.
This Lamb, whose death with life the world hath blest,
Was from the world's beginning slain, and he
Hath made two Wills which with the Legacy
Of his and thy kingdom do thy Sons invest.
Yet such are thy laws that men argue yet
Whether a man those statutes can fulfil;
None doth; but all-healing grace and spirit
Revive again what law and letter kill.
Thy law's abridgement, and thy last command
Is all but love; Oh let this last Will stand!

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