Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Fisherman's Net for Trinity Sunday, Year C


This Sunday's Readings:
Breaking Open the Word:

Proverbs:
Wisdom...the first formed, who was called forth during Creation. She is our witness to creation, and to God's loving act that brought all things into being. This poem sings of her awareness and understanding of the whole span of reality. The thing is, Wisdom is not God. Thus begins one of the first challenges of exploring the nature of God on Trinity Sunday. Theologians call it the "via negativa" in that when we seek to ponder God's nature, we look at all things that are NOT God in order to perceive (albeit as a dim reflection--thank you, St. Paul) what "is" God. It's like looking for your keys when they are misplaced, if you can't remember where you put them. You wind up looking everywhere that they are not until you eventually come to a place where they are...and then you have your keys. Well and good for keys...but God is not your keys. And so, Wisdom stands and calls to us with her testimony and an invitation to enter into relationship with her, so that we might then grow closer to an understanding of God. She is not God, but stands just about as congruent to God as we might get. What that means is that our first, deepest success in getting to know God is found in entering willingly and readily into a mutual discernment with Wisdom. So, put on your "discerning" caps and get ready...

The Letter of Paul to the Romans:
Paul reminds us that while God truly adores us, our journey toward and discernment of a deeper relationship with God is a distance we have to cover. Why? Because while God is always with us, and near us; our perceptions too often render a perspective that God is far off (when we are the ones who have made the trip away from intimacy with God). God is, and our journey to that connection to ultimate being and the encounter with the three persons of the Trinity of God's being, is pretty fraught with challenge. We are justified by faith, and know peace and obtain grace through God's love...but knowing that fully means real and deep growth on our part. There is a lot before us, as we continue our pilgrimage to see God, face to face at the end of days.

The Gospel of John:
How many things in this life have I struggled to understand. How many times have I been certain that I had the experience, intelligence, skill and endurance to KNOW and BE. Yet, Jesus is right. While there is always more to know, and there is always a deeper level to plumb when it comes to the knowledge and love of God, there is also just a bit more that I an not quite yet ready to bear. Not quite yet..

Psalm 8:
What is a human being, God, that you are mindful of her/him?

How It All Links Up:
The best work I have seen done on helping us to embrace the challenge of the mystery of the Trinity is centered around the struggle to translate ancient Greek concepts into modern contexts. The Greeks opined that we humans are one being and express that being with one persona. The persona is the person people (including we our own selves) experience. The reality of having a persona flows from our being. Got that? Good. Now, God is one being...God...but we experience that being through relationships with three persons. God as Father, God as Son, God as Holy Spirit: that is the idea. The challenge is to not do certain things: 1) separate God into three distinct beings; 2) assume God can only present one persona at a time; 3) assume that one persona is the only real one and the rest are projections; 4) set up a hierarchy wherein God's being trickles down from one persona to another...assuming a finite amount of being, of substance. 

Now, if you made it through all of that above and are still reading: BLESS YOU! I only just scratched the surface of trinitarian theology and speculation. What matters most is this: that we embrace the reality presented to us through Jesus' testimony while he was still with us...that he and the Father are One, and that the Holy Spirit of God proceeding from them will see the fulfillment of our coming into full communion with God as God is revealing God's self. We as people who follow Jesus then have to accept his challenge: to be in relationship with God, even as God, in three persons, is in relationship as one being reaching out to us.

Taking Meaning:
I think embracing the challenge of proclaiming oneself a member of a faith that embraces one God in three persons carries with it some very massive blessings. The core of our faith, the very origin of our identity in Christ is founded in a dynamic network of relationships. Being a Christian means being incomplete unless we are engaged in the dance of community with others...knowing that we are not unless we are becoming one in Christ. Why? Because we follow a God who is not unless taken in unity with three persons in one being. This might not make sense, yet...but remember it took over 300 years of ecumenical councils of the whole Church to settle on the promulgation of the Nicene Creed...and we hope to close in on the doctrine in one blog post? Yup...this is going to take some pondering.

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