Monday, June 20, 2011
Yesterday was Trinity Sunday. It was interesting to listen to the clergy, in the children's talk and in the sermon, try to clarify the theology of the Trinity. There was reference to St. Patrick's famous example of the shamrock, which has three parts but is one leaf. There was a dance where three people stand in a "circle" facing outwards with hands joined, and turn around--three dancers but unity in the dance. There was a quote (from where, I don't know) that said in the heart of the Trinity, God laughed and gave birth to Jesus; in the heart of the Trinity, Jesus laughed and gave birth to the Holy Spirit; in the heart of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit laughed and gave birth to us all. I'm not sure how that defines the Trinity. I have two other attempts that I like: The first is the egg. The shell (Jesus) is broken to reveal the white (Holy Spirit) and the yolk (Creator God). The shell is visible. The white nourishes. The yolk is the source of life. Three parts of the egg, but only one egg. My second attempt at defining the Trinitarian understanding of God is the human being. God created "man" in his own likeness (male and female); if you watch a dying person in an emergency ward (on TV, if you like) you'll see the doctors first try to revive the person with CPR--heart massage and blowing air into the lungs. But when a flat line appears on the monitor and shows the person is brain dead, it is all over. When I cross myself, I am reminded of these three necessities of life: touch my head, ("God the father"), touch my heart ("God's body, Jesus, his son"), touch my shoulders--or better my breast above my lungs ("God the Holy Spirit")--yet I am one person, just as God is one God.