30 May 2010
Trinity C (RCL)
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
No preacher will admit to liking to preach on the Trinity. What sense does one make of the incomprehensible. That, of course, is part of the point. If you think you have come to understand and know God, think again. God must remain always beyond comprehension.
But, the doctrine of the Trinity provides a way for us to think about God in relationship to us. All of the expressions of the Trinity have always included a dynamic element. It is not just about three “things” or “aspects” of God, but “Persons.” Augustine suggested as analogies things like the lover, the beloved and the love between them. Or the mind, its knowledge of itself and its love of itself. In the East, the word “perichoreisis” is often used of the Trinity, meaning something like “dancing around” or “to go round and round.” I think we get stuck when we try to think of the Three persons in static ways.
In all the Trinitarian theology I like, there is always a dynamic aspect, mutuality, hospitality, etc. The Father gives himself to the Son in begetting him (not creating); and the Son gives himself back to the Father in obedience and worship. The Father gives the Spirit to the Son, and to the Church, and through the Spirit, the Church gives itself back to God. And round and round.
We hear the passage from Wisdom on Trinity as one of the places where an early mutuality was seen in the Godhead. It was often used as a passage against orthodoxy to suggest that the Son was created. But, it shows God and Wisdom working together in creation. And what I like best about the passage is, that the relationship between God and Wisdom and the created world is one of delight. God delights in Wisdom, Wisdom delights in God, and together they delight in the world.
If the Church takes a part of the divine economy (household), then the Church is to share in that delight: delight in God, and delight in the world. We offer the stuff of the world, provided by God, co-created with us, to God and God returns it to us, so that we may delight in it. There is an analogy for the Trinity right there.
What would it look like if we took seriously our vocation to delight? Decisions we made would be governed by delight. Wisdom stands at the crossroads — whenever a decision is to be made, we could ask, “Where is the delight? How are we being called to delight in God and in the world?”
Rubelev’s icon of the Trinity shows Abraham’s three guests, seated at a four sided table. The open side is toward us, the viewer. Abraham and Sarah serve. God invites us to join at the table, to step into the dance of hospitality and delight.