Trinity Sunday

I watched a movie this week on the theme “Girl meets boy” and the movie starts with the girl talking to the boy she meets for the first time and she says to him that once a friend musician told her: Don’t ask me to talk about music, talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Meaning: There is nothing in common between words and music. Only music has something to say about music. And the girl says to the boy: Well, don’t ask me to talk to you about love, talking about love is like dancing about architecture. Meaning: only love can know what love is, only in loving you will find out what love is all about. You have to be on the journey.

As I heard this dialogue, I thought it might not be a bad place to start a sermon on Trinity Sunday, this day when we are invited to contemplate God’s being. And I want to say: Well, don’t ask me to talk about the Trinity because talking about the Trinity would be like dancing about architecture. It’s not that I would need a more complex vocabulary or more theological knowledge, and then I would be able to talk about the Trinity, as if the concept of God was just a little beyond our grasp but maybe by building words upon words like a grammatical tower of Babel we could finally understand the Trinity. No. Talking about the Trinity would be like dancing about architecture. Because it’s like music. You have to play the music to know what music is all about. Only in loving, you will learn how to love. In the same way, only in being on a journey with God, you will get to know who God is. A famous theologian says: I can say that I am a Trinitarian because that term describes my experience of God. The Father element of the Trinity means the experience of God as anEternal Other that is beyond anything I can imagine. The Spirit means the experience of God as an internal reality that is deep within me and inseparable from my humanity. The Son means the experience of God made manifest in a particular life. The Trinity is not a description of my God then, but of my God experience (…) My experience of God and God aren’t the same. God is not beyond my ability to experience, but the nature of God is beyond my ability to describe.

1- We cannot use words to describe who God is, but maybe we can use words to describe our experience of God and what we discover about God is that God is on a journey with us, and maybe that’s the first meaning of the Trinity: Yes, God is beyond our grasp, yet we can still experience God inside of us as Spirit, and we can recognize God in the person of Jesus. Our belief in the Trinity means that an unknowable God comes to us and communicate with us. I love this reading from the book of Proverbs because it says so much about this God we believe in. We don’t always realize how counter intuitive this is, that wisdom would come to us, that wisdom would be out there at the crossroads, at the gates, seeking us and calling us out almost like an easy woman – if you noticed the irony. Still today, but even more so in ancient times, wisdom was portrayed as a difficult woman you had to conquer and to be worthy of.

Philosophers used to think you had to live a very virtuous and intellectual life to find wisdom and then maybe at some point, when you are very old, you would be able to come closer to God.

Yet, here in the Bible we have this idea that God offers God’s closeness, God literally goes out of God’s way, goes on our ways to bring us closer to God. And we know this is how John’s Gospel understands who Jesus was: In Jesus, God poured all of God’s wisdom, God poured in Jesus all of God’s intelligence, all of God’s love and literally came out there at the crossroads, at the gates, calling us out.

This openness and seeking out is whom we understand God to be. We don’t believe in a God high above in the heavens, although we also believe that God is high above in the heavens, but we believe, as Ste Teresa said once, in a God who is big enough to become incredibly small, the host that fits in the palm of our hands every Sunday morning. We heard Jesus say last week to Philip: If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. They are one, although Jesus said “The Father is greater than I am” they are the same, share exactly the same nature. If you want to see some water, it does not matter if you see the ocean, a pond, or even a drop of rain. The drop of rain is as fully water as the ocean is. If you see Jesus, well, you have seen God – you have seen God because Jesus loves as the Father loves, loves the Father as the Father loves him and this outpouring of love whom we call the Holy Spirit seeks to include each one of us.

2 – And that’s the second point of our experience of the Trinity: God was fully revealed in our humanity, not only showing God out of the mere desire to be seen, but God acted in Jesus whom came on earth not to say hello, but “to die for us”, came to inhabit all the dark places where we lose ourselves in rejection, loneliness, and even despair, so that neither sin or death could ever separate us from God. God comes to us and takes us back into God’s being. Before he leaves this world, in the Gospel we hear today, Jesus promises his disciples that God’s spirit will keep glorifying him, make Jesus known, make the disciples understand his teachings and how God is present. Although Jesus is not present in his physical body, by reading the Gospel, receiving the sacraments and saying Jesus’s name when we’re praying, God continues to come close and make us share in God’s life, we are on the journey. Even if the journey is full of trials and filled with confusion, God will work through it. I think this is what Paul wants to say to us today, that, although we lament our trials, God works well through the adversity we encounter in our lives, God works well through our suffering. That’s when God reveals God to us. We may instinctively back off on hearing that because so much of bad Christian literature has been written about how God wanted us to suffer to teach us something. But I think it’s more about the suffering that is inevitable and maybe what we call suffering is those places God sees first as poverty and vulnerability, when we experience simplicity, honesty, humility and trust. In those places, we are brought closer to God because this is exactly where God is and who God is. Jesus wasn’t like an eccentric billionaire in disguise, a wealthy God pretending to be poor. Jesus was poor because this who God genuinely is: contented with very little and at home everywhere. When we are ourselves with God, God can be more totally with us. And this is very good because actually God delights in humanity.

3 – This, and it will be my last point, is maybe the most important in our experience of the Trinity. Who are we that God would seek us out asks the psalm? We are called to dwell in God but even before we were called to dwell in God, God came to dwell in us, and for this reason there is a dignity to human beings we need to be reminded of when we hear so many negative messages today about how human beings are stupid, cruel and vain. What God has to say about us is that God sees us as so worthy that God decided to dwell in us for eternity in the person of Jesus Christ. It calls us to act with so much respect – respect of others but also self respect. There is something of the divine in each one of us, and actually to be really humane, we may have to be divine. That’s probably what we mean when we say about a behavior that’s it’s “inhumane”. Only humans can be called inhumane, animals don’t behave in inhumane ways. What we mean by that is that as humans we have to do better than just human nature, to be human is defined in the dictionary as the ability to show compassion. Well, compassion this is what God is all about and it may be the meaning of Trinity, of a God who came to suffer with us and bring us back. Muslims also know that who always call God The merciful one. God has so much compassion that God does not just only spare us, but makes room for us, not merely by withdrawing from creation (as we often believe) but much more deeply make room in God’s own being. That’s what you do when you love someone, right? You just don’t make room for them in your life. You make room for them in your own heart, you give something of yourself. The Trinity means that God’s essence is to be self giving, and the wonder is that, like God, we cannot be whole without being self giving, without getting out of our way to be with those who aren’t like us. Only in loving as God loves us can we get to know God – this is our Christian journey. Amen.

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