When it comes to The Trinity I find myself in some pretty powerful company. In the past with the help of people much smarter than I, I have mustered up Trinity Sunday sermons that spoke to the glory, holiness and triune nature God (the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer) and humbly attempted to present the all too complex and impossible statement of belief we theologically trained folk refer to as the Doctrine of the Trinity. I have usually included something about the relational nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; and how God’s relationship to God inspires our relationship with God and each other. But seriously, as time has progressed in my ministry I have to ask myself, “why would I want to do that (to you)?”
In the words of preaching professor, David Lose: “I don’t claim to understand the Trinity and don’t trust those that report they do. The Trinity is, at heart, our best if manifestly inadequate attempt to capture in words the mysterious nature of God. It has something to say about both the unity and diversity of God’s work and manifestation, and about the importance of community to God and all those whom God has created and loved. [But] Beyond that, I don’t have much to say.”
Yet, knowing that the idea of The Trinity had its roots in acts of adoration and thanksgiving in the early Christian communities, it might be easily re-imagined and more rightly understood as a doxological (words of glory) confession of faith—in other words it might serve us better as an experience of God rather than an idea of God!
Let’s face it, the world is pretty suspicious of “doctrine” anyway—secular and church folk alike—we avoid it like the plague. So, by just proclaiming and experiencing the fascinating mysteries of the many natures of God (rather than trying to understand the unknowable with our intellect) we actually renew our relationship with the Divine. In turn, we might just find ourselves inspired—rather than frustrated by not really ‘getting it’! Isn’t that what it is all about? Surely to experience the working of the Trinity is better than to talk about it.
So I am not going to get my brain all twisted up trying to understand mystery. Seriously, mystery is mystery. But I am going to let the many ways of knowing the unknowable wash over me that I might be aware of how vast and powerful, how many faceted and intimate my relationship with God can be.
My colleague the brilliant poet, Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes wrote this week on his blog (May 21) a wonderful poem that helps me to actually experience the Trinity. I shared it as part of our worship bulletin this week (you can find it here: www.unfoldinglight.net) “When your understanding fails and you can’t know but only wonder, then you behold the truth. God is love, and the Beloved, and your loving. In the name of the Mother, Son and Holy Spirit may God’s grace be with you, grace that already is.
With Pentecostal fire and prayer that the Holy Spirit bless us, Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade—Email: firstname.lastname@example.org