The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Lectionary: 165

This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever."

Saint Patrick's prayer, The Deer's Cry, begins with:
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation...
I begin each day reciting that prayer, after finishing the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. The Deer's Cry (also known as Lorica) and a cup of coffee and I'm ready to go.

Faith in the Trinity is our strength; this distinctive doctrine sets our faith, our imagination, and our actions on an altogether different course. Realizing that the All-Mighty Father has given all authority in heaven and earth to the Son, who has, in his turn, surrendered all his strength, beauty and wisdom to the crucible of death: this sets us apart. We don't see, feel or think like other people.

Our starting point is similar to other religious who think of "God" as an all-powerful creator. They hope he is so powerful he can afford to be benevolent without the loss of sovereign strength or freedom.

But we believe, there in the immediate, eternal moment of God's being -- who has no beginning or end -- our God has given everything over to the Son. There was never a moment when the Father had no Son; indeed he is the Father because he has begot the Son; and the Son is son by virtue of his being begotten. Is that confusing? It might be until we turn our attention back to Bethlehem, the Jordan River, Mount Tabor and Calvary where we encounter the Father and the Son.

But it is confusing and utter nonsense to those who have not yet heard God's word and know nothing of those sacred sites. This wisdom is not something clever people could figure out; it comes only by revelation; and then we say, "Of course! How could I have thought otherwise? A god who could not surrender all his authority is owned by his authority and could not win my love, even if he won my obedience with threats, violence and terror.

How many married couples and families have disintegrated once they realize the dominant party could not control his own power? That he lived in constant dread of losing even an ounce of his strength? Escaping that individual and his threats they see only his pathos. What a poor excuse for a human being!

Our first reading today, from Deuteronomy, celebrates the all-powerful creating God who promises prosperity to his obedient people. The Jews have never forgotten God's invitation to Adam and Eve to meet him face to face; to dicker with him like Abraham; complain like Moses and argue like Job. As descendants of the Jews we confidently complain of neglect and demand reward for our labor. The Eighth Psalm celebrates the wonder of our standing in God's presence:
What is man that you are mindful of him,and a son of man that you care for him?Yet you have made him little less than a god,crowned him with glory and honor.You have given him rule over the works of your hands,put all things at his feet:All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,and whatever swims the paths of the seas.O LORD, our Lord,how awesome is your name through all the earth!
Christians find the fulfillment of that psalm -- and of our human nature -- in Jesus who is not "little less than a god;" he is God.

Our human longing for communion is revealed; and its satisfaction, promised by the doctrine of the Trinity. More than heavenly comfort, 
absolute security or endless pleasure, we long for communion with one another; with our own inner demons; with this beautiful, dangerous planet; and with our mysterious God. We find that communion in the Breath of Jesus, his Holy Spirit.

The Father has given his Son and his Spirit to gather us to himself, in communion with this extraordinary universe. While our scientists probe its few measurable mysteries with their wonderful instruments, we delight in the endless Gift of the Holy Trinity.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.