Sunday, May 22, 2016

Three Spendid Blessings

Rublev's Icon of the Trinity
On Trinity Sunday, we celebrate the feast of the triune God.

We begin liturgy “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” and are sent forth with the blessings of God our creator, redeemer and sanctifier.

The bible gives us many splendid images of God. The Book of Genesis speaks of God as a walking companion. Isaiah describes God as a tender mother: “Can a mother forget her child? … “I will never forget you.” Proverbs sees God as wisdom. The New Testament parables of the Good Shepherd and the Prodigal Son are balanced with the parable of the Last Judgment. What's our image of God?

Are folks so caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of everyday life that they easily forget what they're here for? No human relationship can completely satisfy us.  As St. Augustine wrote, “Thou hast made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” Yes, we were born to live in a relationship with the triune God.

In the Word of God this Sunday, the author personifies wisdom as a woman, as creative energy. The early Christians saw Jesus in this Wisdom image, the Word made flesh among us.

Paul in his letter to the Christian community at Rome proclaims the saving work of Jesus Christ. Through Him we have a right relationship with God. We pray that God will strengthen that relationship with right faith, firm hope and perfect love.

In the Gospel according to John, Jesus in his farewell alludes to the mystery of the triune God: The Spirit which comes through Jesus and the Father will guide the global community of disciples into all truth. We pray the Spirit of truth will guide us.

The mystery and relationship of the triune God (a God who is one yet distinctive in modalities or "persons:" Father, Son and Spirit; Neither is the Other) gives much to contemplate. What kind of a relationship do we have with God and one another? We are forever trying to make better sense out of our lives. What is the purpose of my life? Where is my life going?  These are religious questions, questions we cannot help but try to answer.

Life seems to be marred by too many mindless tragedies.

Yet many times, we have experiences that lift us up—the joy of friendship,the golden rays of a sunset, the accomplishment of a challenging goal. Such experiences can take us out of ourselves and into the presence of an Awesome Power beyond us.  We begin to experience the transcendent dimension of our lives. Yes, we say, there must be a purposeful and gracious God responsible for this magnificent universe.

This God became flesh in Jesus and is alive among us by the power of the Spirit. That is the mystery of the triune God; a God Who is one in three--Father, Son and Spirit.

This is the same God the ancient Hebrews experienced: who freed them from their oppressors in Ancient Egypt, who renewed His covenant with them at Sinai

This God showed his face to us in Jesus of Nazareth by the power of the Spirit.

This triune God, the model of self-giving love, empowers us to reach out in love to others: with compassion, forgiveness, a kind word, a helping hand.

And in reaching out to others in love, we become like the triune God in their self-giving love.


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