Sermon – May 22nd 2016
Trinity Sunday (Year C)
By Roland Legge
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Do you believe in the Trinity? Most of us in the United Church would agree that we believe in the Trinity. But what does this really mean?
Our scripture invites us into a dialogue to discover the many ways we can experience the holy in our lives. In Proverbs we are told about Mother Wisdom who has been with us since the beginning of time. Mother Wisdom or Sophia is the very feminine image of the holy. She is loving, creative, compassionate, wise and just. She is in full relationship with God. Romans reminds us of the person of Jesus who gave us another lens to view God, not unlike Mother Wisdom and God. In the Gospel according to John we are reminded of the Holy Spirit who is again much like Mother Wisdom, God and Jesus.
The doctrine of the Trinity has come to be to help make sense of the mystery of the holy. It suggests that God is both one and three. God is relational. For example, God expresses itself through the Spirit. God expresses itself through Wisdom. God expresses itself through the person and spirit of Jesus and most importantly through each of us. I love this description of the Trinity by Brian McLaren:
“In the early church, one of the most powerful images used for the Trinity was the image of a dance of mutual indwelling. The Father, Son, and Spirit live in an eternal, joyful, vibrant dance of love and honor, rhythm and harmony, grace and beauty, giving and receiving. The universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance of God – so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love, vitality, harmony, and celebration. But we humans broke with the dance. We stamped on the toes of other dancers, ignored the rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things. But God sent Jesus into the world to model for us a way of living in the rhythm of God’s music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the beauty of his steps and have begun rejoining the dance.” -Brian McLaren, Found in Translation
I imagine God as this creative energy that continues to animate life for each of us and all of Creation. If I just look around I will see, feel, and experience God. I see God in each of you. I feel God within me. I experience God in the sound of the bird, the bark of a dog and the meow of a cat. Where do you experience God?
For me the creative loving force we will call God is a mystery. God is way beyond anything we can comprehend. When we express God we are limited by our humanness. Many of you grew up with the image of God as father. Some of you still appreciate it today. But God is way beyond the image of father. There is no perfect definition of God. Here are some descriptions I use:
And much more.
Feminist are transforming our church and world through their take on how God – Three in One can tear down the barriers that humans have built up through greed, fear, and hunger for power. This is what feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruther says:
Feminists are seeking an alternative understanding of power: power as mutual-empowerment, power that does not dominate, force, or coerce, but heals, reconciles, and transforms. In the presence of such power, we are not demeaned or rendered vile and unworthy, nor made helpless and called to submit; rather we are called into healthy self-esteem, into the power of one’s own creative agency that can affirm the good potential and creative agency of others.
Healing power dissolves the competitive model of power relations where one side’s power is the disempowerment of the other side; where one side’s victory is the defeat of the other side. Healing power repents, forgives, and transforms relationships so that both sides of former conflicts are enlivened, made whole, and enabled to rejoice in one another’s well-being. This is the appropriate understanding of the power of God, not models of power drawn from human relations of domination, war, and violence.
I believe that God is most active in community. When we come together in community doing the work of the Spirit the work we do gets magnified many times over. The mystery that what we do as a community is much more than what the same number of individuals could do alone. Why does this happen? It is because the God energy becomes stronger and stronger when people with the same intent come together. It somehow unleashes the energy of the Holy Spirt on more and more people. It inspires acts of kindness and compassion in more and more people. It spreads the love of God among more and more people.
The wonder of God as father, son and holy spirit or creator, redeemer and sustainer that this force of love continues to open our hearts that of recognizing God in more and more people. We would not be marrying divorce people if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t be recognizing the ability of women to be clergy in our United Church without the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t have become a welcoming church for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, trans-gendered and two spirited people without the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy weaving in and out of our lives everything life-giving is possible, even the end of violence in our world not only toward people, but toward the whole creation.
May we unleash the power of the Holy on Foam Lake and continue to break down the barriers in our community whether they be social, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, and age that prevents us from truly being the people of God. The Spirit will guide us on our way.