Monday, May 12, 2008

The Strong Name of the Trinity!

Trinity Sunday is among my favorite days of the Christian follow a few thoughts for Trinity Sunday...I bind unto myself the strong name of the Trinity!
Paul of Salem.

Response for Trinity Sunday.

Where are we to get strength to face the challenge of our times? History brings us many challenges. Our ancestors in faith demonstrated great courage in the face of adversity. We too can come to the wellspring of courage they drew from. I am devoted to the notion of the Trinity, not as a doctrine but as to the source of a God given spirituality. There is great power in that spirituality.

We know that God “brooded” over the face of the waters of chaos at the creation. We also know that Jesus poured out his life for us on the cross. And we have reliable witnesses who told us about the experience of a “mighty wind” that rushed in upon the Apostles in the Upper Room, and the flames of fire that alighted upon them. Thus the biblical record clearly states that God is Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. In Sacred History our collective experience of God’s mighty power is called The Holy Trinity in short hand. This is no doctrine for me. This is the very power of God, and we have direct experience of it and access to it.

Thus there are terrorist attacks the like of which we have never seen before, and there will be more to follow. Nature will unleash her destructive forces in unprecedented dimensions particularly if we continue to ignore our own contribution to nature’s need for protection and conservation. Garden variety human sin as well as sin of a more heinous sort, political chicanery, and economic disquietude will often find us overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all.

But we must not despair. And we must never loose hope. We have in fact, seen it all before. We must read our history books. If we do not, we will repeat it all, time after time after tiresome time. The philosopher, George Santayana said it well; “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it!”

Whatever the world throws at us by way of human violence, nature’s fury, or our own folly, we still have won the Victory! That is the core of our faith. Good Friday will have its day. But Good Friday is not the end of the story. If that had been the end of the story for us, Christianity would have been nothing more than a byword. “Ho-hum, another good man died at the hands of brutality”, history would say by way of footnote.

But Jesus and Christianity is no footnote, and we had better wake up to the fact that God is not to be mocked, either by wicked people, or by our own timidity. God is nothing short of the power to redeem a fallen world. We are the Easter People, remember! It is time for us to get our nerve back and put some punch back into our Gospel. We are the hands and feet of the Gospel…and whatever catastrophe befalls us, we have much work to do.

There is a wonderful scene in “Fiddler on the Roof”. In it, the Great Wedding Feast is utterly destroyed by Cossack soldiers descending upon the merry making. Homes are set afire, tables overturned, china broken, and the entire scene is pillaged. In shock, in disbelief, the people look up to God in bewilderment…and ask Tevye, who always had something wise to say; “What are we to do now?” There was, of course a long pause, as Tevye resolutely picked up a chair, and defiantly said; “Clean up the mess”.

Tevye also wondered about being the “Chosen” people…by asking God at one point with a wry smile: “Couldn’t you choose somebody else, once in a while?” My dear friends, there is a futility in asking “why” to the constant onslaught of sin. It is understandable, but ultimately futile. What is much more fruitful will be Tevye’s faithful response to the experience of devastation. What we have to remember after 9/11, or after the onslaught of Tsunamis, Hurricanes and Cyclones, what we have to remember after our own sins, or the sins and wickedness of others; is the simple but Grace-filled proclamation; “Clean up the mess!”

Wonder of wonders, this is where God’s grace will be found; and more than that, this is where Christ’s Victory will be found. When we claim the Power of God to Create, To Save and to Sanctify, all the world will see that the Love of God is alive and well in us. As we dare to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, we will discover God’s Grace at work in us transforming us and the world we live in.

All the world will come to taste and see the Creative, Redeeming and Sanctifying Power of God as we remember who God has called us to be. I am not the first Celt to bind to myself the Strong Name of the Trinity. Patrick did so many, many years ago during his battle with the Irish slave trade. Bind yourself to it with me and all those who have looked to God for help before, you will no doubt discover the Power of God at work in you!

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