Saturday, June 02, 2012

Trinity & Jubilee...words for All Saints, 3rd June 2012

This is an extraordinary weekend – one of those which surely will live on in our collective memory
The first Diamond Jubilee since Queen Victoria's
A festival of national and international dimensions, that is brought close to home by the multitude of picnics, street parties, Big Lunches and local celebrations of all kinds;
an opportunity to engage with our neighbours as we may not have done for a long time, a chance to celebrate being a community.

That's good because today the Church too invites us to think about Community – GOD in Community, - the relationship that is represented, however imperfectly, by the doctrine of the Trinity.

You'll know so many of the hopeful illustrations...from St. Patrick's shamrock, to the scientist's water/ice/steam or the school children's favourite the jammy dodger – biscuit, cream and jam...or even the Union Flag - but actually I think these take us further and further from what we really need to know.

Indeed, I think we could spend a lifetime attempting to understand the doctrine of the Trinity and, in the process miss the truth of it completely.

In Genesis God declared
It is not good for human beings to be alone”
and as we look at human life lived to perfection in the person of Christ we see him engaging not only with the people that he encountered in his earthly ministry, but deeply, intimately with his heavenly Father, in the power of the Spirit.

Relationship demonstrated for us, a reminder that we are designed to face each other, to draw together not turn our backs and walk away.

It is not good for us to be alone

And, amazingly, though God exists in relationship with God – God seeks relationship with us as well, and draws us into God's redemptive work in the world.

That's the message of the Isaiah reading.
We hear of the prophet coming, as we do ourselves, to worship God ...perhaps with no great expectations.
But against all expectation, he has a transforming experience....seeing God in the royal court, with cherubim and seraphim in attendance.
A vision of heavenly glory that puts even the most extravagant jubilee celebration to shame.
Heaven and earth touching as worship takes place.

And you know -that's how it should be for us, week on week.
In our worship, we should, as our own Bishop Michael has put it, “grasp the heel of heaven”...knowing that our half hearted praise and imperfect prayer is swept up into that great chorus of “holy, holy, holy” that resounds throughout creation
Heaven and earth are full of God's glory”
That's what we sing...week on week on week...
but typing it just now I was suddenly brought up short.
but we, we are invited to participate in God's mission in the world.

Woe is me...says Isaiah
I'm not equal to the vision...small, inglorious, I don't belong in this holy place, tarnished by life's guilt as I am.
I'm no more at home in the courts of heaven than a tramp at a royal Garden Party...

That's the human judgement.
But God sees things differently.
God sees not present inadequacy but future potential...and offers pardon, transformation – and a clear call to mission.

God offers this not just to Isaiah, once long ago...but to us, here and now.
Today we celebrate the response of one woman to the call that she heard from God
We celebrate the way that she has lived out the anointing that, at her Coronation, set her apart for loving service to this country and the Commonwealth.
We rejoice, for whatever your politics, there is clearly much to celebrate.

But all God's baptised children are anointed too.
Each of us is set apart for loving service.
We are Christians ...anointed ones....for “the Christ” MEANS the anointed One...and we are called to be little Christs...

Set apart for loving service, our experience, our journey, matching Isaiah's own.

We come to worship and glimpse for a moment the glory that fills heaven and earth.
We recognise our own wretchedness, but are absolved and transformed.
And then, like Isaiah, we are invited to take our place in God's mission, to reflect in our lives that relationship of self-giving mutual love that is at the heart of the Trinity...
Here I am, send me

Send me to build community....
to engage with my neighbour,
to find meaning in community,
to join hands with friend and stranger...
not to understand but to mirror, as best I can, that relationship of love in which we live and move and have our being.


Chris said...

Thank you *again*, Kathryn!

What more can truly be said about the Trinity, than "Send me ... not to understand but to mirror, as best I can, that relationship of love in which we live and move and have our being."

Chris said...
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