“Holy Trinity is not the most popular festival among preachers who, for all the other seasons and special days of the church year, normally get to dig into interesting gospel narratives. Most other festivals of the church celebrate an event. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel announcing the miraculous child she was to bear into the world, God’s own word made flesh. We celebrate also the light bearing nature of the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the messy Baptism of our Lord, the confusing Transfiguration, and Jesus riding triumphant into Jerusalem amidst palms and cheers. We celebrate the empty tomb of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the chaotic coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost all leading up to Holy Trinity Sunday, when we celebrate … a church doctrine. Preachers dread this day because we see it as kind of a dry dusty theological topic after such exciting and earthy parts of the liturgical year that came before it. It’s like there’s this raucous party of Easter and Pentecost that comes to a screeching halt while an old crotchety man shuffles up to the pulpit, blows the dust off an enormous leather-bound book, clears his throat saying ‘And now a celebration of church doctrine’ causing the music to fade and the last of the Pentecost streamers to float to the ground. Church doctrine Sunday.
So, let’s get right down to it, shall we? Here we go: God is three persons and one being. God is one and yet three. The Father is not the Son or the Spirit, the Son is not the Father or the Spirit, the Spirit is not the Father or the Son. But the Father, Son, and Spirit all are God and God is one. …so to review. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. That’s simple enough.”
By Nadia Bolz Weber, located here.
In Mother Mary’s absence, we were blessed to have Father Chris Hannum as the celebrant for Trinity Sunday, 2018. Father Chris agreed with much of what is cited above. And as a mathematics teacher, I have a little trouble with the 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.
Father Chris talked “turkey” on Trinity Sunday while displaying a turkey feather. He shared a story of wildlife near his home which is in a wooded area that is slowly shrinking as construction encroaches. At this point there is still lots of wildlife that visit. His neighbor created a “quiet space” where she watched the animals and fed them as welcomed guests. Frequent visitors to this space were a flock of wild turkeys. Since the neighbor’s passing, Father Chris and his wife have assumed the duties of feeding and caring for the turkeys when they visit. He said that as the turkeys “gobble” it makes him think about how we Christians “squabble.” But that is another sermon!
On one of these visits by the turkeys, a tom turkey was feeling his oats as he picked a fight with his reflection in the shiny bumper of a vehicle parked nearby. The struggle was real, but to no avail, since they were equally matched! Father Chris decided this was an allegory for the Trinity. Struggle as we might, we can not comprehend the concept of three in one. He said that we should not try and he can not begin to explain.
We all need to decide how the Trinity impacts our lives. For me, I see the Father as my creator, the Son as my role model, the Spirit as my motivation, or to quote Mother Mary, that “nudge” to live a life of serving, and the Trinity as my Lord. The dictionary defines Lord as someone or something having power, authority, or influence. My Lord has all three. What about yours?