Monday, May 19, 2008


Today is Trinity Sunday.  You might know that already, in which case you'll know that Trinity Sunday is the only Feast Day of the year that doesn't commemorate a person or event either in scripture or the life of the church.

No, Trinity Sunday celebrates an idea.  Or maybe it's more acurate to say a relationship.

You can actually find a reference or two in the bible to the three members of the Trinity, but you'll never hear the word, and you'll not see a statement that says all three are God.  All one God yet all unuque and individual.  That's the concept:  God is one but made of three persons.

It took a long time for the church to come down to that formulation, one of the things they decided at the Nicene Council of 325 AD. 

You see, the problem is, it's really hard to grasp the idea of God being anything other than a single person.  Up until Jesus, people either had an individual God or lots of separate gods.  What WE have is neither.

What we have is an eternal relationship.  We are the only religion in the world where God isn't a person.  God is Love.  The Father loves the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Son loves Father and the Holy Spirit, and the the Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son.  Always and forever.

It's Christian belief that if the three of them were not together, there would be no God.  Without this Community of Love, there would be no anything.

Because it's that loving relationship between Father Son and Holy Spirit that was able to get together and say, "Let's make something.  Something we can love together."  We are the result of that love.

That's why we have as the summary of our law that one word:  Love.  That's why we call ourselves a community of love.  It's not because we're all just dreamy-eyed unrealistic idealists who want to avoid conflict at all costs.  It's because there is nothing else -- not if we have any hope of knowing God.

The problem with the Trinity, with this Community of Love, is that the very concept changes everything for us.  If God is just a single person -- God the Father, let's say -- then there's no need for love.  God is all there is, and everything else is below him.  We should be afraid because we are nothing, can never be anything to him other than perhaps a pet.  A lone God cannot love because the concept of love requires equal partners.  

If it's not one God but several gods -- well you know mythology.  All that is is a reflection of how humans bicker and fight, but with super powers.  We should be afraid because they're too caught up in their own soap operas to care about us.  Which they don't in the mythologies.

But if God is a community of love -- and if it's that relationship that makes God -- then we can rejoice because all God can do in relationship to us is love.  As we discussed last week, that means to seek the highest good.

And if we want to know God, there's only one course of action for us.  To love.  To seek the highest good for all.  It's not wimpy -- it's the bravest action there is.  Because, for some reason, it's always easier to lash out, to get revenge, to destroy than it is to build up, to show patience, and to forgive. 

So, if we are Trinitarians, there's only one course of action -- to love.  You might get sick of me saying it, but there is nothing else.  It's a simple concept and eternally difficult to live out.  

That's why we have the church -- to place where we can become the community of love in a world that doesn't always acknowledge God as Love.  Christianity is a relational faith -- Christians are all about that relationship with God and each other.  That's why we say there can't be any "lone ranger" Christians.  It's not about experiencing the divine in nature -- it's beautiful but not relational love.  To be a Christian means to be with others who commit themselves to loving God.

That's the Trinity.  Simple yet unfathomable.  An idea that isn't exactly stated in Scripture but that evolved once we understood that God is more complex than just a big guy in the clouds.  God is a community, a relationship -- or nothing.  

In the same way we, the church, are nothing -- unless we live our lives as the community of love.  Amen.