Reflection for Sunday – May 30, 2021
Readings: Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40; Romans 8: 14-17; Matthew 28: 16-20
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Preacher: Sr. Barbara Moore
It almost feels like a liturgical high these past few weeks and months. We have experienced the death and resurrection, the explosive presence of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and today we celebrate the early church’s understanding of the Divine One, the Trinity. The dogma of the Trinity was reached between the 4th and 5th centuries. Unfortunately, throughout church history, a male pronoun and name have been given to both the Creator and the Holy Spirit. We can attest to the human maleness of Jesus Christ. But I believe the key understanding of the Trinity is revealed not necessarily in their name, but in the power and creativity of the relationship between and among the three persons.
Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson in her book, “Quest For The Living God”, presents her readers with numerous expressions scholars and theologians are giving the Three in One. The terms “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” have deep roots in the faith community but listen to a few other expressions she shares. “Creator, Liberator and Advocate;” “Divine Being, Divine Word, Divine Love;” “I, Thou and We of Love” are just a few examples of what is being shared by scholars. What we name these three is our choice, but the critical issue is what they signify and share with people of faith. Johnson shares one more model used by 12th Century Hildegard of Bingen. She expresses the Trinity as, “a brightness, a flashing forth, and a fire…pervading all creation with compassion.”
Perhaps in our present context the importance of the Trinity is very much needed. Three expressions of the love within and among each person. The Trinity is a deep mystery but we can glean some hints about the Three in One that are very instructive.
Our Christian faith is not just an individual, solo or singular way to live. We are baptized into a community and invited on a daily basis to live, to the degree we can, the qualities of the Trinity. They are love, creativity, relational living and compassion. Imagine our large and small worlds if we all tried to live this way. To live this way in our families, our communities, our church, nation and world would bring about a dramatic change.
Think what might happen if we took to heart the name of the Trinity as “Creator, Liberator and Advocate”? We have the capacity, on a human level, to live out all three identifiers. We have the power both physically and emotionally to create new life. We can do it in our families, churches, workplaces and in our care for one another. Teachers do this all the time when they bring their gifts to students. We have seen this all around us during the pandemic as creative teachers work online with students. All of us can create new life and encourage it no matter our age or circumstances. We also can be liberators. By that I mean acting in help and support of others. When we listen to them and hold judgments we liberate. When we try to understand others and place ourselves in their shoes we help to liberate them. And the role of an advocate is critical these days. We can speak up for others, assist them in their struggles and represent their needs. Caregivers, teachers, medical personal and parents do this all the time.
Through God’s grace we can model the Trinity in our daily lives. May we all use our gifts to be creative, to liberate and to speak and advocate for others. When we try to live this way, the Trinity takes on life in the here and now.
We live and act “In the name of the Creator, the Liberator and the Advocate.” A community of love!
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