Today is Trinity Sunday… I have often had people ask how I understand the Trinity… to which I reply… I don’t! That is precisely the point of it. God is not completely knowable by the human mind. We grasp only a portion of what we understand to be God. The trinity stands as a constant reminder that God is always bigger than we can ever envision or imagine.
You see my friends, the Trinity is a belief…a belief is and understanding reached through reason, reflection, experience, and deduction and given expression in words. Our entire journey of faith is a belief. Any of those factors…reason, reflection, experience, and deduction can change and thus our belief can change. We will, by necessity express it differently. That is both the beauty and the mystery. The Trinity has been with us as a belief for thousands of years, and in those years it has been expressed in many ways and will continue to be refined and expressed in ours.
Which leads us to our Gospel today.
We see it everywhere.
Almost every major sporting event… someone in the crowd is seen holding up a sign.
I have spoken with many people in the context of faith,
Especially the Christian Faith… and inevitably
It seems to creep into the conversation: John 3:16
And in total transparency….every time I see it, every time I hear it
The proverbial hair on the back of my neck stands up and bristles
Why? I have asked myself many times.
1) Because one verse of one gospel with no context, historical, textual, or linguistic understanding can be…and has been extremely misused. And this verse is not without exception.
2) I have seen, experienced, and witness others being bludgeoned with this verse as if it is the only measure of faith, orthodoxy, and understanding with which one can call themselves a Christain.
3) There is more than one sentence. Next major sporting event I go to, I am going to make a sign that says John 3:17….not to confuse people but to encourage them to read further.
You see my friends; I do not believe that God sent the Only Begotten… Jesus to condemn the world… Jn 3:17 reminds us of that…
God so loved… not to condemn… but to save…
We have been living through the Covid19 Pandemic… and the Pandemic of Racism has also manifested itself.
We stand today at a crossroads… a crossroads of faith, a crossroads of societal transformation, a crossroads of conversion.
And we are faced with decisions… all based firmly in our belief in God
Yes… wearing a mask when out in public… that is an ethical decision… a decision based firmly in faith… that you and I have the God-given power to breathe life or to breathe death on one another.
Participating is Racism….the pervasive, often unspoken, often ignorant position or understanding that one race is better, superior or more fit than another is a sin which stands in opposition to the Gospel. We chose, to foster or to dismantle… every day.
As Rev Colleen often references in the saying of the ancient mystics when she reminds us that we are the breath of God that God is still breathing….today it becomes even more tangible and real.
We must, I believe as a Church, local, diocesan, and nationally be part of the solutions to the challenges we face, not an incubator of the sin of ourselves and our world.
We must begin to speak power to power for the powerless. We must use our privilege to change our world to care for those who are less privileged, and voiceless.
This is hard work.
This is not easy work.
This is the work of holiness.
This is not Minnesota nice,
This is the transformative work called for by all those who believe in not only John 3:16 but John 3:17 as well.