Sermon For Trinity 2019
There is often a ripple of a smile or even laughter when those who are preaching are asked to preach on Trinity Sunday.
It seems to me quite natural why this might be the case, as the Trinity still seems to be seen as important, even essential to some, and yet is equally impossible to fully explain, prove or often define satisfactorily.
Allow me to explain:….
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. ‘triad’, from Latin: trinus “threefold”) holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine Persons”. The three Persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature” (homoousios). In this context, a “nature” is what one is, whereas a “person” is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism (one deity in two persons, or two deities) and Monarchianism (no plurality of persons within God), of which Modalistic Monarchianism (one deity revealed in three modes) and Unitarianism (one deity in one person) are subsets…..
First written mention of “trinity” was in 170 but the doctrine developed during the third century and was determined as “orthodox” in the 4th century with non-upholders being regarded as heretic.
The trouble is we have become so used to it that we hardly give it a second glance… it has for many of us become part of our Christian Genetic make up.
Last week I was brought up sharp when Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi addressed General Synod. As he stood up you could hear a pin drop, what he said was so moving and inspiring and even encouraging.
He started like many we are used to “In the name of God”……. “ever merciful and infinitely compassionate……”
And I realised perhaps for the first time personally how much “Father Son and Holy spirit” can get in the way of my relationship with God and with my brothers and sisters of other world faiths.
Perhaps I ought also to offer that more modern expressions of “Trinity” particularly as spoken of by Rohr in “The Divine Dance” amongst other things have inspired my relationship with God and have enlivened it.
The idea of relationship and dynamaism help me, to feel connected to God in my day to day life, though this also comes with challenges too.
I would not say I was anti Trinity but I might say we may need to be cautious how we use the tool.
At the end of the day it must be emphasised it is a human expression.
For many today an understanding of the feminine in God is vital to their belief. While some might quickly begin to argue that this is the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, for others this does not go far enough and also if pushed do we see the Holy Spirit as female?
There again some like to suggest Mary plays her part here yet this might also open up another can of worms.
Imam Sayed reminded us at Synod also that God created us “adam” humanity, and also that we are in the image of God I certainly think personally that our image of God has to include humanity in some way.
I find it helpful to see God relating to us in the world and us relating to God. The idea that we are in Gods image is also encouraging ad helps me to see my part in it all… even my part in God!
So perhaps I should conclude as I have done before on this feast day…
“Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade too far into the doing of the most high, whom to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not as indeed he is, neither can know him and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above and we upon earth, therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few.”
(Hookers Ecclesiastical polity 16th century)