Friday, 16 May 2008

Trinity Sunday 2008

Anglicans in Australia are invited to celebrate Trinity Sunday this week. So a few thoughts:

  • When preaching on the Trinity it is generally useful to help people be less obsessive about how 3 = 1.

  • Although you could get them thinking a little about the threeness and oneness of God by saying that whereas the threeness may be numerical, the oneness of the Trinity has in it a sense of the oneness of union. It will still raise the question why one God not three, but it is a good start. (And the idea of union and unity will lay the ground work to the answer as to why we do not worship 3 gods.) Most people will get what you are driving at. Especially if you use some examples like community, marriage where two become one, etc.

  • I'll be talking about images of God and how our image of God affects how we see ourselves, our purpose and how we act. Bloodthirsty gods are worshiped by bloodthirsty people. Chac mool is a case in point. Three images of God appropriate for Trinity Sunday are:

  • A lava lamp! I'll be using this in my kids' talk. When it is heated up the wax inside is moving around, bits breaking off and floating around a bit and then reuniting with the mass. This is not an image for how 3=1, but points to thinking of God as dynamic, with this movement of Father, Son and Spirit.

  • The cross, of course. The crucifixion of Jesus is the Trinitarian event. There are three actors in the event of the cross, Father, Son and Spirit. (See 1Jn 4:7-16) In the cross the Son experiences a godforsakenness bridged by the Father's love in the person of the Spirit. (Or, if you follow von Balthasar, the ultimate image becomes the descent into hell, the 'place' of utter godforsakenness.) This requires more work to get across, but is worth mentioning so that people get the hang of the idea that the Trinity isn't disconnected from the history of Jesus and the Bible.

  • Rublev's Trinity (see picture above) with its deferential figures, picture of hospitality with eucharistic cup and open circle, and our eye not converging to a distant horizon, but drawn back to ourselves, inviting us to join the three in the picture.
Best wishes for those preaching this week-end!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Adam Patsor,

    The movie and the Restoration Fellowship seem too bizarre and corny to warrant any expenditure in time. I am always suspicious of groups who claim the true faith independent of the church who has held the faith for 2000 years. It is time to enter the real world buddy.