Trinity

John 3:1-17

Today is trinity Sunday and we try to explain to our congregations about the doctrine of the trinity. We have so many ways of trying to pinpoint it: different persons, clover leaves, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just like Nicodemus we want to know and understand concretely what things are. If they can't be explained in concrete terms we loose our fascination with it because it puts us into the mystery of God.

Maybe, like Nicodemus, mystery puts us on rocky ground. Nicodemus yearns to understand what Jesus means about being born again, Jesus' answers only lead to more questions because this is all Spirit talk. We can't quite grasp or understand it and we want to pin it down and make it something that is alive and breathing.

Through the years in the church we have done that to try and reduce heretical thoughts. In the early church the Apostles Creed was the one recited and used at baptism, because it does not have specific statements about the trinity this led to many different debates about who Jesus was, the role of the Spirit and so the Nicene Creed was crafted at a time when people wanted to unify the church because it wasn't strong in numbers yet. We crafted something to have answers to peoples questions about how human or divine Jesus was, does the Holy Spirit only come from God or God and Jesus, and other questions.

There is nothing wrong with answering sincere questions yet we need also to be open to the powerful mystery of God, Jesus, Spirit in our lives. Barbara Brown Taylor has written a whole book about walking in the mystery called "Learning to Walk in the Dark". One of the things about walking in the dark is learning not to be afraid of different noises and being familiar with the territory we are in. Sitting in silent spaces. Such as a cave, or walking to the chicken coop one was ground she walked everyday, the other wasn't and so she stayed put listening, observing and praying into her fears, into the quiet, into God.

Some of the most beautiful prayers about the trinity keep open that mystery and spring from our tradition in Celtic prayers. The Celts had prayers before rising, before milking, before going to bed and all of these are in patterns of three or include the trinity being addressed. The thing is they don't analyze the pattern it is just there. It invites the mystery to be alive and within and around us. It invites us to address our fears. It invites us into God fully.

The Cruciforms
Be the eye of God dwelling with me,
The foot of Christ in guidance with me,
The shower of the Spirit pouring on me,
Richly and generously

The Weeks
Pray each phrase on a separate bead.

I bow before the Father who made me,
I bow before the Son who saved me,
I bow before the Spirit who guides me,
In love and adoration.
I praise the Name of the one on high.
I bow before thee Sacred Three,
The ever One, the Trinity.

From http://kingofpeace.org/prayerbeads.htm
Created by Sister Birgit-Carol www.solitariesofdekoven.org