I'm braving the waters again and posting a sermon. I've decided that I will forever use a manuscript--today I went 0ff-paper a bit and said...and I quote, "Do you guys know anything?" Seriously, what kind of pastor says that?!?!?! I recovered...it was taken as the joke it was meant to be, but still. It will be a wonder if I ever get another job. So, here's my attempt to preach Trinity...please, as I've asked before. Make comments~ Good, bad, or indifferent.
When Evelyn, our second child was born, we knew from the beginning that her temperament and personality had destined her to be a middle child. Figuring that our house was already utter chaos we thought that one more would at least justify the decibel level in our home, and that adding one more really couldn’t be that much different than two. We never could have been more wrong. With two kids and two parents you’re able to divide and conquer; you can take turns helping one, and still have a little bit of time at the end to enter the bathroom alone. With three...three isn’t just adding one more human to the mix, it’s adding an entire new set of dynamics; as others have said, you move from one-on-one defense to zone, and the chaos I thought we needed to justify, seemed to multiply exponentially. When two are gathered, there can be compromise, there can be rational discussion, there can be sharing and cooperation. With three…there’s no longer you and me…but now there are third wheels, two against one, there’s no longer a work-it-out possibility, but a survival of the strongest, the wisest, and sometimes even the whiniest. Two you can work with; three turns your world inside out, upside down, and on its head.
Which makes it kind of curious why God chooses to made known to us in three ways—two could have kept the chaos to a minimum…four, God could have chosen teams…but alas three is the magic number. So, in case you’ve missed it—today’s Trinity Sunday, a Sunday set aside to contemplate the mysteries, the doctrine, the workings of the triune head of God. A doctrine that has plagued confirmation students, seminary professors, and preaching pastors for centuries; one, that while being developed, even resulted in the execution and demise of more than a few heretics who refused to adhere to the positions of the majority gathered. And yet, even this stodgy, ungraspable, boring doctrine, at its very heart can change your own.
Because the whole three-in-one, one-in-three thing reveals to us that God is a God of relationship—which of course we all know about it. Come in contact with one person and you’re in relationship…but, the Trinity, the three persons are nothing like three siblings, or three pew-sitters, or three people trying make a decision. The Trinity is this amazing, co-equal group is one that exists in utter and complete freedom and interdependence. They don’t define themselves over and against each other—saying this is who I am, because you are not. God the Father doesn’t say, I’m the Creator because the Son is not; God the Spirit doesn’t say I’m not the Savior, because I didn’t die on the cross.
Confused yet? That’s okay, because getting the Trinity isn’t the thing…living with her…opening yourself up to him…loving it is. The Trinity is this dance of relationships, this community of living, and breathing, and reaching out and up and in together; one where their very existence emerges out of their interdependent, delight of each other. God is a God of delight…of dance…of living, not alone, but in loving, life-giving relationship.
I’m actually going to quote the book “The Shack” here…because I love the way the author puts flesh onto the Trinity—making God the Father, an African American Baker Woman, called papa…making Jesus, an overalls wearing Middle-Eastern Jew, and the Spirit, a young flowing Asian Woman. Discovering this trio living together in a shack, the protagonist Mack struggles…”then which one of you is God?” he asks. “I am, said all three in unison.” A couple of pages later…papa continues… "'By nature I am completely unlimited... I live in a state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of existence:’ she said, quite pleased. 'Just one of the perks of Me being Me.’
"That made Mack smile. This lady was fully enjoying herself...
“We created you to share in that. But then Adam chose to go it on his own, as we knew he would, and everything got messed up. But instead of scrapping the whole Creation we rolled up our sleeves and entered into the middle of the mess—that’s what we have done in Jesus....
When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. ...flesh and blood.”
End of quotes—This Trinity…Our God lives completely in relationship, and desiring nothing more than to be in relationship created us…remember the “created in God’s image” part. You and me were created not to make money, not to be brilliant, not to be beautiful or productive or proficient. But, to live in relationship, to delight in others, to dance with our pew-mates and to dance with God. The Trinity is not some stodgy, archaic doctrine, but is life…a life to which each one of us is invited into.
I wonder what might happen if we delighted in each other, delighted in God, the way God delights in us; what if when the Spirit flowed, we actually danced—in our good solemn Lutheran ways of course…but, what if we let the Spirit enter our hearts and change us…let it blow open our dusty souls and became one who saw delight in the world. And what if having those wide open hearts we then viewed each encounter…each person we met, as an occasion to waltz around the dance floor, instead of an interruption into our perfectly scheduled lives.
I wonder then what might happen if instead of viewing God as one reigning and judging from on high, we welcomed the bowing suitor in front of us and began dosey-doeing with the best of them. I wonder what might happen if feeling the Spirit’s hands at your waist, you grabbed onto the pew-mate next to you and joined the conga line of heaven; I wonder…because you know the invitation is open; the reception hall has been prepared, the guest of honor is there. Now, all you have to do is dance. So, come on, join the dance of Trinity…