Reflection for Sunday -June 11, 2017
Readings: Exodus 34:4B-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13; John 3:16-18
Preacher: Ruth Maier
Today the Church sets before us a celebration of the Most Holy Trinity. Perhaps it’s a difficult celebration for some, like my friend who shakes her head and says, “ I just don’t get this Trinity thing.”
She is in good company. Since the beginning, the greatest of saints and most learned of scholars have tried to answer Trinity questions and have come up short.
However, today’s feast does not celebrate a doctrine of faith that has an understandable explanation. You’ll recall the story about the young boy who St. Augustine met on the beach as he was contemplating the Trinity. The boy said, “This is impossible for you to fully comprehend.”
Today is a feast celebrating an unfathomable mystery of a God who chooses to dwell among us. It is a celebration of a unique relationship of a God who is Father, Son and Spirit as well as our own very special relationship with that God.
Trinity tells us what kind of God we have.
The Exodus story for today’s Scripture concerns the remaking of the broken covenant between God and the people of Israel and it reveals to us the very identity of God.
When Moses came down Mount Sinai with the covenant written on the stone tablets, he saw the golden idol and he smashed the tablets in anger. He moved the meeting tent outside the camp to indicate the absence of God among the people.
The people regretted their idolatrous actions when they realized the absence of God among them. Moses then pleaded with God for another chance.
Invited to bring two new stone tablets up the mountain, Moses met with God to restore the broken covenant. He encountered the God of the burning bush shrouded in a cloud, and this time God tells Moses his name is Yahweh; Lord. “I am,” proclaims God, “ Lord,” a God of mercy and graciousness; a God slow to anger; a God rich in kindness and fidelity.
“O Lord,” responds Moses, pardon our wickedness and sin, receive us as your own and “do come along in our company.”
Here, in this first reading, God reveals much about the nature of God, but could Moses ever have envisioned the extent to which God would go when invited to “come along in our company.”
Trinity tells us who God is and how God operates.
John describes for us how God has “ come along in our company,” how constant and faithful God’s love has been for “God so loved the world that
He gave his only Son … that the world might be saved through him.”
God as Father sends his Son, not as Judge but as Savior. God did not judge the Israelites for breaking the covenant. Rather, God revealed to Moses his very nature— mercy, goodness, kindness and fidelity, a God of Presence who comes along in our company. So, too, Jesus reveals to us a God abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness; a God who does not condemn but who is with us always.
The mercy and goodness of God is not an abstraction. God’s love walked on our soil, sat at our table, made friends with us and died for our sins.
And as we know from last week’s celebration of Pentecost, Jesus, in turn, sends us the Spirit, the love between the Father and the Son, to dwell with us, “to come along in our company.”
The Spirit draws us into that love of God, enabling us to “mend our ways, encourage one another, agree with one another and live in peace,” as Paul instructs the Corinthians in the second reading.
A most delightful image of the Trinity is found in the recent film, The Shack, based on a book of the same name by Paul Young. Young pictures the Spirit as a lovely young woman tending a beautiful garden; the Son as a handsome young carpenter crafting useful objects; and God as a compassionate mother providing nourishing meals or, when
needed, a wise father offering helpful advice. And always together they are pouring out love and forgiveness to all people of the earth.
As you contemplate the mystery of the Trinity this weekend, as you reflect on how God has come along in your company in good times and bad, in times of sickness and in health, in times of confusion and doubt, in times of joy and celebration, may you know that, “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with you.”