Life can be strange, ever changing like the seasons, or in fact in all reality like ever changing trends, some one once said to me be a trend setter David, don’t be trendy.
So I suppose these are the sort of things that resonate within your mind as we journey along this path that life provides us with. Do we ever wonder who we are and why we are here, why do we exist. Do we exist through Love and a love for creation, do we exist by the grace of God, or by God’s Grace is that maybe too heavy a question for anytime. We will get back to that part later.
It is often thought that we are who we are, shaped by life and all the things that we do, or maybe by the things we don’t do. Life that is a luxury that is often denied to some and is something that we should not take for granted nor should we live to expect anything other than what we have.
That is a tad heavy, I mean as a question I listen and read often “New’s on daily issues at home and globally, and if we were to take a nonchalant approach to life, life would be straightforward and everything in the garden would be Rosie, but suppose many don’t we might watch, listen and process all that’s going on and seam outwardly to remain calm and unaffected, yet inside the wheels are whizzing around and possibly certain issues would make your blood boil almost like an explosion about to happen.
Our world seems some what busy at the moment, with all that’s going on. No names mentioned but our country has had a visitor this week, who looks what only could be described as a balloon. in fact many have been flown in this persons honour, maybe honour is too strong a word, nor the terminology of honour is not something you would associate with this individual in any fashion.
It would seem sad in a way that this person’s country of origin voted for this person what I could only refer to as a “Character” well in the way that is describe in my dictionary “The combination of mental characteristics and behaviour that distinguishes a person”. Which personally has not impressed me in any shape of form, not now or possibly not ever. And to honest that scares me to a point because we are taught to accept all people for who they are and for what they are, and that I think is a very simple ethos to have.
Sometimes it is difficult to reach out and greet but by grace and perseverance this may be possible, I’d rather like to think there is hope even for this person. certainly when we take a few minute to think of all the despots the world has produced and even the peace keepers have become the despots of tomorrow.
So what’s new, nothing really its just life and life of our world repeating it’s self continually and will it ever change. I’m sure that we could simply pick a century through out time, since it’s creation even and there will be some person who has terrorised who has been out spoken on a global point and eventually they vanish and life seems all back to normal and everything in the garden is Rosie, oops for a moment I though life was being thrust into tyranny again.
Ahh deep breath, Look at the picture above and imagine your in that field of barley looking forward and that is creation, that is simply life that is a naturel picture of simplicity nothing complicated. No major issues, just breath enjoy the moment of that feeling of freedom and you are there, you are somewhere far for the issues of the world.
As we reflect we sense and feel all around us God and God’s creation and realise our part of it all , As christ guides us. this day and everyday.
John 3:16 (O WORSHIP THE KING)
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
I must be perfectly honest I have toned down the theological jargon somewhat, but I apologies if there is a bit too much left in…
On Trinity Sunday I preached at Kilmodan church on The trinity my Intro started with…
How on earth does the doctrine of the Trinity make any sense? Certainly, there have been times when I have; and I am aware that there are many people – Christians and non-Christians alike – who either have profound difficulty with the Trinity, or who reject it outright.
The reasons for this are many and varied: some regard it is a relic of an outdated cosmology, or of a hierarchical view of society; others as representative of the infection of Christian theology by Greek philosophy; and still others as a by-product of Christian history, a “dogma” imposed upon Christianity by certain powerful cliques determined to reshape the Church in their own image. But beyond this, the struggle for many people is really quite simple: The Trinity just doesn’t make sense.
I just feel that the Trinity is the back bone and foundation of all that god, gave to the world. And is important although mystifying and a good subject that can be preached at any point throughout our church calendar.
In the name of The Father The son and The holy spirit.
Doctrines get a bad rap, particularly in the age of a growing demographic who identify as “spiritual but not religious.”
There are many reasons why people don’t attend church anymore – growing secularism, busy lives, dissatisfaction with the partisan politics too often preached from too many pulpits, and the lack of the Gospel being preached, now that is a crime in itself.
Another reason people don’t attend church anymore is because they have a challenging time coming to grips with Church doctrine which too often feels as if they lack something and are pointless.
But that is far from the truth throughout history certain traditions have diluted and changed Doctrine to suit their own needs and not the needs of the people as God intended.
Let’s be honest: Christian belief asserts some pretty wild stuff. A virgin birth. A dead guy rising from the grave and then being taken in heaven like some ancient version of Star Trek’s “beam me up, Scottie.” We even have weird math that says 1 + 1 + 1 = 1, not 3.
It doesn’t make much sense and yet we shape our lives around these teachings. It can be hard to reconcile these teachings with modern thought, science, and what we have come to know about the universe.
It might also be true that we too often use doctrines the wrong way. Too often we, the Church, have used these doctrines to decide who is in and who is out instead of offering them as an invitation to a shared language of belief.
The doctrines of the church, the core teachings that support our communal life of faith, are not weapons to be wielded against thought, doubt, and spiritual exploration; rather, doctrines form the map of our theological world.
They give us a shared language and perspective. They enable us to make sense of our wonderings and our wanderings. In this vein of Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the Christian year dedicated to a Christian doctrine, not an event or person, helps us make sense of God and how we are to relate to God and one another.
In the same way in John 3:16 Jesus is not condemning the world, but as he says, “God loves the world so he sent His Son to save it.” It is all about being positive, the gospel presents us with this great positive affirmation.
And that’s important because often we think, about making extra sacrifices, and making time, about more solemn tunes and liturgy.
But it’s not like that at all. It always sets the tone on the life as we begin our journey in our own personal spiritual wilderness.
As with any doctrine, there are multiple ways we might enter it. But for today or any day,
I want to focus on one aspect of the Holy Trinity from which we might draw spiritual nourishment. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity reveals to us that we were created in the context of, out of, and for relationship.
We see that it is God’s nature to be relational, that even before time first ticked on the distant shelf of eternity, God existed in relationship to God’s eternal self.
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the Earth…” God poured out God’s love into the container of creation in order to extend God’s will to relate. We were created to be loved.
I listened to a lecture some years ago on the Hebrew Bible, with awe. The lecturer was Prof Christine Hayes of Yale University.
suggested that the Book of Genesis might be best understood as a series of relationships initiated by God, relationships we failed to live into over and over again. Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Abraham and Sarah – time and time again, God reached out to build relationship and time and time again we rejected God’s love and chose abuse, power, and domination.
Take a look around. The same is true today. Instead of relationships characterized by love, affirmation, selflessness, and equality, our world is plagued by relationships that deny human dignity. This is true at every level, from individual to global.
The temptation to dominate, to insist on one’s own way, to insist on one perspective and one realty; the easiness with which we ignore one another, or silence one another, or dishonour one another; the times we forget to engage in deep, concentration of listening and the times we refuse to allow ourselves to be taught by the wisdom of another.
Those are just a few examples of all the ways we are seduced away from the loving, mutually-affirming, selfless, non-abusive, non-dominating relationships for which we were created.
And yet, if we allow ourselves to be held still before the mystery of Holy Trinity, we can see how the Father, Son, and Spirit relate to one another. The relationships between the persons of the Holy Trinity can be understood using one word – hospitality, or space created for another.
To be hospitable, to create space for another to be” requires movement, selflessness, and love. Saint Gregory of Nazianzus called this movement within the Trinity a “rotation.” I like to think of it as a dance, divine waltz of love out of which flows all of Creation including you and I. Whatever you call it or however it makes sense, when we hold ourselves still before this mystery, we see the perfect icon of loving relationship in its purest, most intimate, most power form. The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not a rigid system of incomprehensible prose.
It is a poetic road map that describes God as the perfection of relationships and all of Creation, you and I, as the loving creations of the creatively-generative relationship.
What if all our relationships were characterized this way, by selflessness, hospitality, mutual-affirmation, honesty, equality, and love?
What if this were true for every relationship, whether between two individuals like parents and children, co-workers, or colleagues or between communities that look different one another, believe or speak differently, or see the world differently?
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy spirit be with you all.”
Most of us have no doubt heard, at one time or another, the quaint story recalling how St Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity. According to this story, Patrick was trying to persuade the Irish High King to adopt the Christian faith, when the King asked him how it was possible that the Christian God could be three Persons in one Being; surely that was a nonsense. Feeling rather deflated, Patrick lowered his eyes; and there, on the ground at his feet, he saw the now-famous Shamrock…
Plucking off a stem, he showed it to the King, explaining that just as the three leaves made up one whole so the three Persons of the Trinity made up the unity of God. The King was said to be so impressed that he allowed Patrick and his monks to continue their mission, and eventually himself became a Christian.
As I said, it’s a quaint story. But aside from this, I suspect that more than one of us has felt at times a bit like that Irish King: how on earth does the doctrine of the Trinity make any sense? Certainly, there have been times when I have; and I am aware that there are many people – Christians and non-Christians alike – who either have profound difficulty with the Trinity, or who reject it outright. The reasons for this are many and varied: some regard it is a relic of an outdated cosmology, or of a hierarchical view of society; others as representative of the infection of Christian theology by Greek philosophy; and still others as a by-product of Christian history, a “dogma” imposed upon Christianity by certain powerful cliques determined to reshape the Church in their own image. But beyond this, the struggle for many people is really quite simple: the Trinity just doesn’t make sense.
Well, the first thing I’d like to say is that I’m not going to try and make things easier for you, either by persuading you that the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t the product of a conspiracy, or of an outdated cosmology, or of an oppressive world-view; or by untangling the mystery and making it comprehensible.
Regarding the former, it’s not that I can’t mount any persuasive arguments against the conspiracy theories or the dismissal of ancient understanding; it’s rather that I think having the argument is actually irrelevant. Indeed, I suspect such arguments have less to do with God or faith and more to do with human ego: they’re about “proving” who’s right and who’s wrong; whose theology is allegedly modern and up-to-date, and whose is supposedly irrelevant superstition. In other words, they’re a distraction, an example of concentrating on our own ego when our focus should be on God.
Regarding the latter, if you find the Trinity difficult to grapple with, then my response to you is that it is meant to be difficult. By which I don’t mean that it was purposefully designed by humans to be incomprehensible; rather, that what the doctrine of the Trinity attempts to do is actually impossible: it attempts to speak of God. One of the first things I learned as a ministry candidate is that God is not who we say God is. In other words, humans can only approach the mystery of God in an approximate and round-about fashion; and that, only very inaccurately. The God who is present to us through the witness of Scripture, the life of Christ, and the ongoing activity of the Church is also hidden; we cannot look fully on the face of God – at least, not on this side of the eschaton.
Which is not to say we can then adopt some relativist position and simply dismiss the doctrine of the Trinity as one more human attempt to describe the indescribable. Because, contrary to what some people will tell you, the Trinity was not simply imposed upon the Church, nor did it emerge out of nothing. Rather, the doctrine of the Trinity is the product of a centuries-long conversation within the Christian church that itself tries to respond to a single, fundamental question: who do we say Jesus is? Because how we answer that question then raises other questions: what is Jesus’ relationship to the God he called Abba, Father? And what is Jesus’ relationship to the One he called the Advocate, the Spirit whom he promised the Father would send to the disciples once Jesus had left them?
In other words, you simply cannot talk about Jesus in isolation; as soon as you start responding to the question Who do we say Jesus is?, you are immediately in a Trinitarian discussion, because any conversation about Jesus necessarily involves a discussion about Jesus’ relationship to the Father and the Spirit. So far from being the product of a conspiracy or of the sudden brainwave of some influential theologian, the doctrine of the Trinity is, in fact, inseparable from Christian faith – and has, in fact, been the heart and core of that faith from the very beginning. Of course, it can be shown at different times in Christian history that the emphasis was on the Father or the Spirit, or Jesus himself; but the bottom line is that any conversation that began with one of these necessarily involved the other two; because any question about how we understand the One also becomes a question of how we understand the Three.
None of which makes the doctrine of the Trinity any easier to understand. But my view is that this is as it should be. Not because I think God derives some perverse delight from our confusion; rather, that an important part of the way into a relationship with God is our very grappling with these difficult issues. Indeed, I think that every time we try to desconstruct the mystery, every time we try to make it “make sense”, the further from God we get, the more tenuous our relationship becomes. So any rejection of the Trinity on the basis that it “doesn’t make sense” actually misses the point; the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t meant to “make sense” in the superficial sense that it facilitates our demand for easy, neat answers. Rather, by presenting us with a mystery that needs to be grappled with, it enables us to enter into relationship with God.
In other words, just as the early Church had to respond to the question Who do we say Jesus is? and thereby develop a new language and new concepts to articulate their changed understanding of the nature of the relationship between God and humanity, so every generation has to undergo this same struggle, this same wrestling with uncertainty and ambiguity in order to answer the very same question.
asked: Who is Christ for us today? and I would like to suggest that it is with this question that the doctrine of the Trinity helps us to grapple.
All of which sounds like cold comfort to those who are struggling. But to you I would like to say: I suspect your relationship with God is all the healthier for the struggle.
Because it is not doubt but certainty that is the enemy of faith. And I think it is not those who are confused, but those who think they have the whole mystery pinned down and mapped out who are missing the point. And if you are struggling, then so am I; and so are many others.
And that is an occasion, not for despair, but for joy; and as such, for recognising that we now have an opportunity to build a community of those who struggle along together, unified, not by our assumptions of what we know or understand, but by our common desire for relationship with God. That being…
God the father the son and holy spirit.