Saturday, June 18, 2011

Homily for 8.00 Trinity Sunday Yr A

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Before I've even written a word, that opening prayer puts us straight into the heart of God.......and straight into the heart of today's feast.
Trinity Sunday – the day when limited human minds, and limited human language attempt to explore the nature of the God who is beyond all our greatest imaginings, our finest words.
There's a tradition in theology called the apophatic tradition, which can be summed up in the words of Wittgenstein
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”
In other words – if words fail, then don't use words.
But actually, the doctrine of the Trinity is all about lived experience...a doctrine formulated to make sense of God as encountered by humanity in só many ways from the very beginning.

Só, this morning, we might focus on the Creation story from Genesis – and encounter all the imaginative excitement of God at work, his Word (THE Word) bringing forth light and life........while the Spirit, God's breath, moves over the face of the waters....
Or we might instead find ourselves standing with the disciples, who have spent 3 years realising that their beloved Rabbi is só God filled that he must BE God – (I and the Father are one) just in time for his risen body to leave them once again – with a Trinitarian commission to obey
Or we might submit ourselves to the embrace that we só often share with one another, those familiar words of mutual blessing that are part of our Epistle today
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore”

You see, the essence of the Trinity is love, though it is too simple to present it as Love, Lover and Beloved....for what is true of one is true of all.....
John Wesley said
“Tell me how it is that in this room there are three candles and but one light, and I will explain to you the mode of the divine existence”

Because however much we may try to find clever ways to illustrate the truth that God is three and God is one, what we need to grasp most fully is that God in Trinity is God in relationship – a relationship of endless mutual love, into which we are invited.
The point of Christianity has never been to figure God out by reading and learning, but to experience God. The pertinent question is the same question it always was: how do we find God?
How do we experience God's love?

There's a story about a training incumbent who promised his curate a substantial sum if he could manage his first sermon on Trinity Sunday without using the word “mystery”......
He did só, knowing his money was almost 100% safe........but the problem is that we too often treat the Trinity as the sort of mystery that needs to solved – like a detective story – rather than the sort we submit to, like falling in love.

But actually, falling in love is the central concern.
For ours is a God who knows what it is like to give of self completely for the other and who can do that because the other is totally invested in giving its self for the the first.
Here there is no hierarchy, no anxiety over precedence.
Instead the love that defines and informs the one reaches out and spills over into the other
Look, says the Father.......look at the Son........
Look, says the Son...........look at the Spirit
They gaze at one another in mutual love and delight – and invite us to do the same – to participate in their loving relationship and to draw others to do so as well.

In a few moments, we'll enter into that Communion as we come to receive God in the sacrament....Here we find all the love and all the sustenance we will ever need....Here, touched by love, we are made lovely too

só let's pray, using some words of Catherine of Siena

Eternal Trinity, you are a deep sea, into which the more we enter the more we find, and the more we find the more we seek. The soul ever hungers in your abyss, longing to see you with the light of your light and, as the deer yearns for the springs of water, so our souls yearn to see you in truth. Amen


Rev'd Simon Cutmore said...

Inviting as ever Kathryn. Thanks for posting it here and esp the prayer at the end!

TheFlowerFarmer said...

hi kathryn, i love that you put your sermons on your blog. brilliant idea. love from georgie aka the flower farmer x

Still Breathing said...

The older and wiser I get as a Christian the less I understand as I realise mystery is at the heart of our faith.
When Luke was taking an evening service at our church on the Trinity when he used 3 interlocking circles to say what isn’t the Trinity. In the Trinity the circles don’t overlap but fit perfectly within each other. He then pointed out that at the crucifixion this perfect union was broken for us. The tension in the air at that moment was so strong that he decided to finish his talk at that point. We never get a true view of Christ’s work on the cross unless we see it in the context of the Trinity.

Perpetua said...

That was very much worth your congregation getting up early to hear, Kathryn. Lovely.