Monday, June 05, 2006

The Quest for Intimacy

Readings for Trinity Sunday: Isaiah 6:1-8 Psalm 29 Romans 8:12-17 John 3:1-17

I had a conversation with another person last week
in which I was trying to push him to tell me what was so important about the Trinity.
I consider that I am quite good at this sort of Socratic questioning
whereby the teacher pushes and pushes for clarification,
but some people just think I am annoying!!
We who have had a traditional western education are so good at giving the right answer in such conversations
that we can find it deeply disturbing when pushed and pushed and pushed.
We become disoriented because the teacher doesn't seem to be satsfied with our compliance
--What is so important about the Trinity?
--Well it's the whole centre of what we believe
--What does it say about what we believe?
--God is love
--How does it say that God is love?
--Well God is our Father! And He loves us!
--So what does the person who has not had a loving father understand

at this time he was starting to get a little red in the face and rather annoyed
--What would you say to a person who knew nothing about Christianity or God about why Trinity was important?
Finally he blurted out....this is all taking too long, I don't know what it is you want me to say

What I want to say (not to him) I suppose is that for many of us
The Holy Trinity is a bit of the puzzle
that we deal with by ignoring it!
He said as a closing comment, and I realised I had gone too far for his present understanding
I feel this is like some sort of parlour game.

I think there is an element of truth in that.

It lacks a certain sense of directness, urgency, or what ever

and we either go alonmg with it in the fanciful way (the parlour game)

which has its rules and its orthodoxy

but it doesn't some how connect with the reality of our lives

This seems tragic to me

since I do believe that the Trinity reveals to us

God's demanding search into our lives

A search that demands intimacy

that we be open to an intimate relationship with God

and that we welcome a God who is intimate with us.

This wars against our alienation as human beings,

it is God at God's unremitting best.

The readings point us first

to a God who is not simply content to be remote and majestic.

We have a vision of God's greatness

and in this story we note that it does indeed shake Isaiah profoundly

and yet it is also liberating.

It sets us free to love and serve God

and to know that we are OK.

we are OK because God loves us.

We are always reminded by Paul

that this great vision of God is only part of what we are to understand.

God ois also our "Abba", not only our Father

but (perhaps in our terms) our Dad.

There is a difficulty for some of us who do not have loving fathers

or whose fathers, though loving, are remote and unable to express their love;

but pushing on from that (as we may need to do)

there is the sense that God not only wants to be our God

but also draws us into the most loving and caring of relationships

That of the loving father for his child.

We know this because the Spirit shows this to us about Jesus

and we know that we share as daughters and sons the same relationship that God has given to him.

The Gospel reminds us that we need a shift in our perspectives to take all this in

Jesus calls it being born again.

It is what the Trinity calls us to.

A new relationship with God.

It needs the Spirit to enable us to do this.

It needs us to become like Jesus.

It is God's unremitting drive for intimacy with us.

St Augustine is reputed to have said: God is closer to us than we are to ourselves

It is all about closeness, intimacy, unity.

The Trinity: God's unremitting drive to be born again in us and us in him

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