Thursday, May 15, 2008

The centre of faith

Trinity Sunday May 18, 2008 Genesis 1:1-2:4a Psalm 8 II Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 in the APBA lectionary Exodus 34:1-8 can also be used

In the embarrassment of riches that this season affords
we move from the great story of Easter, Ascension
and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentectost
to today being invited to put all this into context
with a focus on the community of God
The community that we call the Trinity.
In an idea that I quite like Archbishop William Temple
says that we need the doctrine of the Holy Trinity
it helps us not fall into the trap of having an idea of God
that is too small.

While we often think that this doctrine is hard to understand
At the heart of it is the idea that God is love
that love is about community
and that God is constantly seeking to embrace us
and bring us into this community of love

So the language that is used to talk about God
is relational
We talk (after St Augustine) of a Father, a Son
and of a Spirit which flows out from them
their relationship being so profound
that the Spirit issues as a different persona
empowering us and always seeking to draw us into the circle of life
(the circle, or three interlocking circles is often used to symbolise the Trinity)
This idea is not without difficulty
but it does serve to give us the sense
that God is relational
that God is community
that God is love.

It is the same God who is the Father of Jesus
who declares himself to be our Father
It is the same God who is the Son of the Father
who says to us you too are the sons and daughters of my Father
you are my sisters and brothers
It is the same God who is the Holy Spirit
who says my love for you is so real
that I am always drawing you into community with me.

God is calling to be part of the same community
That Father-Son and -Spirit share
It is not a closed shop
Our fulness of life
comes from being in communion with God.
God is sharing his life with us
God is sharing his love with us.

Does this make a difference?
The Trinity initiates us into the idea
that God is actually in relationship with us
that God loves us
and that we are invited into community with God.
When Jesus speaks to his disciples (as we read today)
and suggests that they should spread the Good News
he is saying that all people can be drawn into the life of God
and this will liberate and enliven them
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

The invitation is to be drawn into the life of God
the responsibility is to live in the Spirit of God's life
and the promise is that God will be with us for ever

We might go on to say that the expectation is that this will change our life
We are after all being drawn into the circle if God's life
So transforming is this experience
that we will want to share it with others.

This is NOT some difficult doctrine
this is the centre of our faith experience

If you want your life changed, enriched, transformed
then it is done by allowing yourself to become a daughter, a son
a sister and a brother
In relationship with God.
Our Christian understanding is that the Trinity is always
seeking to draw us into closer and more personal relationship.
This is perhaps rather different from Judaism and Islam.

This week
  1. Pray each day to be aware that God wants me to be drawn into the community of love and service which is the Holy Trinity
  2. Dedicate yourself each day to seek to more fervently to be close to God
  3. Is there one person who you can tell this week that God desires them to be close to their life also? Why not tell them or discuss this with them?
O Holy Trinity
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Your love for me overflows
and draws me in
I seek to be in the circle of love
may I share this love with others too.
O Gracious Holy Trinity

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