Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trinity Sunday - June 3

Today’s Scriptures: From the Book of Common Prayer

Psalm 146, 147, 111, 112, 113

Job 38:1-11, 42:1-5

Revelation 19:4-6

John 1:29-34

Today’s Question:

Who is the God we celebrate on Trinity Sunday?

Today’s Reflection:

Trinity Sunday brings to the forefront one of the most challenging concepts of Christianity: the concept of a triune god. 3=1=3=GOD. I have heard teachers try to explain it using the states of water, something almost everyone is familiar with, to explain the concept. Solid, liquid, gas, but all the same compound. The explanation fails in that the three states do not exist naturally at the same time. The physics of temperature prevent that. Our triune God, though, exists constantly and eternally, in all iterations simultaneously. The passages today force us to consider some of the difficult questions about God.

Job has long proven to be a thorn in the side of theologians as the interaction between Job and God raises questions that are difficult to answer. God fails to answer Job’s challenges, instead responding, in an Oz-ian way, “I am great and powerful. Fear me.” After a time, Job comes back with a response that is ironic at best and possibly sarcastic. God ultimately caves and restores to Job double what was taken as part of God’s wager with Satan. The idea that God would wager with Satan and then cave into the object of the wager, raises immense challenges to the idea of an infallible God.

The Revelation passage offers a brief description of universal praise. The use of the word, “Hallelujah” occurs only in these passages of the New Testament. It is a Hebrew word used in the Old Testament that means, “praise Yaweh” and comes in here as it occurs in the celebration of the restoration of the Holy City. It comes at the time when humanity begins the eternal life in Heaven in the presence of God.

In John, John recounts the baptism of Jesus, not by telling of the event, but revealing his reaction to it. The passage reflects typical John writing with riddles and twisted sentences that logically prove Jesus’s “Christness.” Among the Gospels, the John account of the baptism differs in that it does not describe the actual event and it does not describe the distinct presence of each part of the Trinity. It does emphasize Jesus as Christ.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in each of the passages today comes from the fact that each of the passages leaves us with an incomplete vision of God. Recognition of the complexity of the deity builds the greater part of the wonder of Trinity Sunday. As we take this time to look into the nature of God, we can celebrate a God bigger than we are capable to understand. Passages through the Bible present the argument of the wisdom tradition and of the knowledge tradition. Both are panes to the same window that give part of the picture. Today, we rejoice in those parts we know and look forward to the time when we can see clearly the triune God we worship.

Today’s Prayer: Let us recognize our limitations and accept the limitlessness of our God. Open our eyes, ears, and hearts to rejoice in the challenge of the present and promise of the future.