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Wonderful Words of Life

Preached:  May 26, 2013 (Trinity Sunday)
Scripture:  Proverbs 8; John 14

Today is Trinity Sunday – when ponder the doctrine of the holy trinity – Some people repeat the whole trinitarian formula – in the name of the father, and of the son, and the holy ghost.  I remember, as a child – every Sunday we sang the Gloria Patri – “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. Amen.”  I know that is still meaningful to some people.  When we sing the Doxology the Old 100 – we recite the trinitarian formula – Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In our new version we sing – Praise God the source of all our gifts, Praise Jesus Christ whose power uplifts, praise the spirit, Holy Spirit.

Ghost or Spirit – does it matter?  Do you remember what you grew up with, do you think about whether you relate to Spirit or Ghost?  Have you ever thought about what aspect of the Trinity you have related to over the course of your life?  My story…

You know what’s curious about the Doctrine of the Trinity?  Jesus never talked about it; neither did Paul. They both talked about God, and they also talked about the Spirit, but neither came up with the trinitarian formula.  Our understanding of The Trinity comes after the bible was written.  You won’t find “the Trinitarian formula” anywhere in the Bible.

That didn’t happen until the 4th century,  300 years after Jesus. When the early church fathers met at the  Council of Nicaea in 325 they formalized the idea of the Trinity at that point.  Do you know what the result was? The Nicene Creed. 100 years later in the fifth century, more Christian leaders, (men) wrote another creed trying once again to clarify the Trinity for folks, particularly the Jesus part. That Council resulted in the Apostles’ Creed.  But what do these old councils, creeds, and conflicts have to do with how we live our lives today?

What I think is important is to reflect on the various and different ways that God does show up in our lives.

St. Patrick described the Trinity as the Lover (God) – the Beloved (Jesus) and the love between (Holy Spirit).  Others look at the Trinity as a three-way dance.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;  Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer;
Presence, wisdom, power;  Womb of life, word in flesh, brooding spirit;
Almighty God, incarnate word, holy comforter

A more recent, contemporary theologian – husband of Congregational Pastor – Kim Buchanan which I really like.  “The Trinity reveals the creative, the ethical, and the mystical.  The essence of God is creative. That’s what God does, God creates. And Jesus’ whole thing was doing good; God sent Jesus to show us how to live; that’s ethics. And the mystical? The mystical is all that Spirit stuff “prayer, meditation, being fully present with God, with ourselves, and with others.”

A dance of creative, ethical, and mystical and since we are created in God’s image, then we are whole, which is to say, most God-like when the creative, ethical, and mystical dance interdependently in our lives. And when the creative (our imaginative thinking), the ethical (what we do and how we decide to do it), and the mystical (how we pray) when the creative, the ethical, and the mystical dance interdependently in our lives, then we are dancing with the Trinity.

Wisdom (hokmah in Hebrew, sophia in Greek) has been identified with the Trinity, at varying times in Scripture and in church history, both the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Proverbs 8 offers a definition of Holy Wisdom (Hokmah).  Holy Wisdom is often seen in feminine form.  This scripture suggests that Wisdom is a helper in Creation, a partner with God in creating the world.

Wisdom is a creation of God, there from the very beginning::
“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.”

 Scholars associate this mysterious figure with the Word (Logos) in the Prologue to John’s Gospel (that is, with Jesus Christ), and with the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) in that same Gospel.  The figure of personified Wisdom is a powerful Old Testament figure who remained an important symbol in Judaism.

In the name of our God, who creates us, redeems us, sustains us, and hopes for our wholeness. Amen.