Brennan Manning, Community, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Love of Christ, Mystery, theology, Trinity, truth
Here is a small portion of my sermon today on the Trinity.
Christians, of all people, ought to have an expansive view of God. We, of all people, ought not to be trying to put God in a box. Even the revered theological concept of the Trinity can do that. Unless we see it for the mystery that it is, our doctrine can become a straightjacket in which God is neatly wrapped up by our small minds.
In speaking of the mystery of the Trinity the closest comparison may be the mystery of community. When a group of people becomes a community – when they risk sharing their questions, their sorrows, their dreams, and their hopes with one another, and when they do not hide their true selves, warts and all, from one another – then they are known for who they are. They become part of one another, just as the risen Christ is said to be one with God the Father/Mother and God the Spirit.
This is indeed the mystery, how the triune God draws all of creation into a dance where the melody of Christ’s love unites them in the Spirit. Some say unity can only occur when people conform to a prescribed set of beliefs. But God says no – unity is available to those who have open minds, open hearts, and open spirits to what the Spirit is saying in our day.
Each Sabbath, we gather in worship where the community of God meets our human community. We give thanks for the Spirit of truth that guides us into all truth – the truth about ourselves, the truth about our world, the truth about God’s ways in the world.
We celebrate the self-giving love of Jesus of Nazareth who willingly laid down his life because he had been drawn so completely into God’s vision of reconciliation and peace.
We bless the Spirit who is the breath of life, the source of love, the ground of all being.
We seek to match our beliefs to our actions in Christ-like fashion by being a voice for those on the margins of life, by being instruments of peace in a violent, war-torn world, by being open to the truth, and by embracing the higher calling of self-giving love.
The mystery and community of the Trinity invites us into an expansive view of God, calls us to justice-seeking and peacemaking, and unites us in one faith, one baptism, one Spirit, and one Lord, so that we may live for God.
A prayer by the late Brennan Manning speaks of how we meet this triune God:
“May all of your expectations be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child,
and can only sing and dance in the love of God,
Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
Words and photo (c) 2013 Mark Lloyd Richardson