Last week we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the World. Pentecost is recognized as the birthday of the Church, as this Gift of Peace, Wisdom, and Truth is discerned, at one time by many nations. It was the gift we have been waiting for…as Jesus promised. On this day we were given an awareness of God’s fullness as the Holy Trinity.
This full dynamic movement of the Godhead is recognized this Sunday; these three aspects working at all times in The Trinity.
There is a famous icon of the Trinity by Russian 5th Century Iconographer Andrei Rublev. It has three seated angels around a table: each representing a person of the Trinity pointing with one hand toward the sacred elements in the middle, as they gaze toward one another around the circle. On the front edge of the table as you are looking in, is a square box that has been somewhat of a mystery. On it there is a bit of ancient residual glue.
Some historians have come to believe that a mirror was originally glued in this space, making the viewer the participant who joins this circle…
We as participants in the Body of Christ are meant to be a part of this dynamic relationship.
In the third and fourth centuries the theology that was adopted by the Councils of Church says that God is a interconnection of relations (a perichoresis, Greek and (circumincession, Latin): a cleaving of identities, a weaving circle dance. There is an outpouring and receiving among the three persons who receive their self and then hand it over to another in a self emptying act of love, and again to the third. “It makes God more of a verb than a noun” (Richard Rohr).
We have a role in this “divine dance” as participants in the Body of Christ: It is an outpouring of love, an emptying of self, and being filled back up again in an affirmation of our identity.
We do this sacramentally in the Eucharist in order to symbolize that activity working in our lives. We empty ourselves in praise through worship; we fill up with the loving spirit of God at communion; and take it out into the World.
A perfect circle
We do this in our lives in service to one another and in service to the needy. That’s why so many know that volunteering your time is fulfilling. We come to know that If you want to feel better - go help someone else. There is this dynamic giving and receiving as it happens in community.
This is why humans are so special.
Psalm 8 rejoices saying, What is it about us?!… with the moon and the stars and all that “you have set in their courses [that] you would set us just below angels?”…blessed with so many gifts and abilities and the responsibility to take care of others: “Mastery over your [own] works?”!
This one precious human life is so special, because we have the ability to grow in Spirit, Wisdom and Truth and to share that with others.
The writer of Proverbs says Wisdom (another name for the Holy Spirit) has delighted in us from the very beginning, saying:
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth...
Before the mountains had been shaped...
when he assigned to the sea its limit...
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
then I was beside him, like a master worker;
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race."
Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
Wisdom is neither simply intuitive perception nor is it simply skilled rationalization. Wisdom is both of these developed through participation in the World in all of its joy, and chaos, tragedy and suffering…
Paul speaks of suffering in Romans. It is not about going out and looking for suffering, but how our faith transforms us in our suffering. A life of faith is one that asks us to look deeper into the meaning of the world around us. It asks for our participation, not a “take it or leave it.” Faith does not ask us to check our minds at the door. Faith is activity of the Holy Spirit imbued with wisdom that includes facing into the messiness of life’s challenges, pain and chaos. When we do this we are transformed.
In a time when we are feeling morally compromised by war, anxious about economic inflation, dispirited about politics, and fearful about illness and death…
What is our part in the community of God? What is our part in the dance?
Our participation can be creating communities of trust.
St. Paul’s is one such place.
Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice?
Think about that: When we understand something the voice of wisdom is clearer, louder, when more of us rise to its resonance!
Where to do this? Proverbs suggests
On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out!
Let us find ways to be the portal, the door, an entryway, a safe harbor to others in our community.
Jesus said, “All that the father has is mine. He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
This is the dynamic giving of the Trinity: The dance that we have been made participates in.
As the Body of Christ we are one with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; One God, one indwelling that brings peace, comfort and understanding.
Let us declare it to one another and to Pleasant Valley through our activity; through our acknowledgement that the very nature of God is Love. And Love is always an action.