Reflection for Sunday – June 7, 2020
Readings: Exodus 34: 4B-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13; John 3: 16-18
Click here to download a PDF of this homily.
Preacher: Sr. Karen Dietz
“God is merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” “Encourage one another, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.” “God did not send his son into the world to condemn but to save.” These are the important phrases of each of the three readings given to us today.
This weekend we celebrate one of the great mysteries of our faith, the mystery of the Trinity. Also this week, our global community continues to grapple with COVID 19 and all the physical, socio-economic and emotional stresses that have come with that. Finally, in our nation we wrestle with deep-seated racism, white privilege and white supremacy spanning several generations.
Richard Rohr, in his book The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, suggests that the Trinity is the divine energy generated when the Creator, Redeemer and Spirit are working together to renew the face of the earth. The dynamism of this relationship is trinity. We are most in tune with this mystery when we are participating in this dance and are swept up in the divine energy.
This past weekend the Rochester community and other places around our country experienced times when the energy of relationship touched us and maybe even drew us in. The first was the collective shock and abhorrence at the treatment of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. We saw the film played over and over again and heard the words, “I can’t breathe” until they reverberated in our heads and hearts. I found it terrible to watch and yet I could not turn away. The negative energy field that surrounded that whole event touched me to my core and stays with me even now. The relationship between those officers and Mr. Floyd was destructive to our spirits. It was such a negative force that surely God was not present there.
And yet God was there. There was an energy of compassion and outrage that came up from my toes. I felt depressed and motivated at the same time. Questions like, “How could one human being treat another this way?” and “What were the officers standing by thinking?” stayed with me long after the news broadcast. As I learned of planned peaceful protests, letters and reasoned responses, I felt the goodness of the human spirit rise up. This energy of compassion, outrage and the motivation to gather for the common good was God; Creator, Spirit and Savior stirring the hearts of so many. We were impelled to come together and join a dance that was at the same time painful, joyful and hopeful. God was inviting us into that holy force field to be instigators of change and transformation. In this single event, we were engaged in encouraging one another to live in peace, a peace only God can bring, just as Paul was encouraging the people of Corinth.
And then in our city and many cities and towns around our country, what was meant to be peaceful protests turned violent. As the news unfolded, we learned of arrests, beatings, looting and curfews. People fell asleep Saturday night to the sound of angry voices, sirens, breaking glass and even gunshots. What had been fervent yet peaceful had suddenly become frightening and edgy. This was not an experience of divine energy drawing us in for the sake of building up the kingdom. It felt as though the energy of this time was meant to divide and destroy.
On Sunday morning many people awoke determined to not let the violence of the night before steal their commitment to transformation. They arrived ready to tackle the clean-up and work to restore our cities. Our local news carried heartwarming stories of those who showed up simply because they could not sit home—they had to do something to demonstrate their heartfelt desire to make our world a better place. There were those ready to face the physical challenge of cleaning, sweeping and organizing. One woman from a neighboring county came simply to bring flowers and a word of consolation to the couple who were beaten outside their apartment. The woman who was beaten said in an interview that she would step in again because what was happening was wrong. The courage shown by so many is holy energy. It is a force born of connection with the divine and drawn into relationship with God and with our fellow human beings. This is the mystery of Trinity in full color.
God is merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity. On this Feast of the Holy Trinity, may we be rooted in God’s mercy and kindness and may we be unafraid to show mercy and even righteous anger when the circumstances demand it. This is how we participate in the Trinity, the Divine dance.
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Karen, Thank you for the wonderful reflection. Your thoughts took me to consider the question what if we took all the labels off the scenes we have seen over the last 10 days? A man placing his knee on the neck of another man, two men pushing an elderly man to the ground, three men chasing a man and shooting him, large crowds made up of people of all shapes sizes and color, many more peaceful nights than just a Saturday night, people acting responsibly, people in pain, people acting irresponsibily. As I am coming to see it is all… Read more »
Karen, your reflection speaks to the root of what so many of us want to see continue to grow and transform our country and our lives – the power of love, the power of the trinity. Thank you for speaking this possibility and let us continue to foster that love to overcome the evil of racism and fear of other. Bless you.