Sunday, May 22, 2016

TRINITY SUNDAY C- May 22, 2016

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
Br. Reinaldo Martinez-Cubero, n/OHC

Trinity Sunday  Sunday, May 22, 2016

Icon of the Trinity  

Breaking News   
I regret that I must begin this homily with a very alarming, even distressing… News brief… from Heaven…  
Calling the Holy Trinity "overstaffed and over budget," God announced plans on Friday to downsize the group by slowly phasing out the Holy Ghost. "Given the poor economic climate and the unclear nature of the Holy Ghost's duties, I felt this was a sensible and necessary decision," God said. "The Holy Ghost will be given fewer and fewer responsibilities until His formal resignation from Trinity duty on May 23. Thereafter, the Father and the Son shall be referred to as the Holy Duo."
During the past two weeks or so, it has been an interesting experience for me to tell people that I was preaching on Trinity Sunday. The reactions have gone from: a simple shrug of discomfort and “ugh”, to “Oh, I’m sorry. It must be because you are one of the newest monks.” The truth is, that upon discovering I was to preach on Trinity Sunday, I was delighted. The day is dear to my heart since it is the Feast Day of the parish in Manhattan where I was a parishioner, and where I worked for fifteen years before entering the Order.

What’s interesting is that today, we are celebrating, not a Biblical event, but a doctrine. This doctrine is a description of the human experience of God, as the source of life beyond any limit we can imagine, God coming to us uniquely through the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and, God as the ultimate depth of life. According to the more creative biblical scholars of our day, the doctrine was ‘created’ to describe, define, and safeguard an experience. Sadly, in the process of time, the ‘experience’ seems to have been drained out, leaving just a formula to denounce those who imagine things differently. But quantum physics, and cosmology are now helping us look at this Mystery of the Trinity with a new level of understanding. Reality is relational. This Mystery of the Trinity is about relationship, indwelling, and interrelatedness. It is about God within God, mutually depending and dwelling together in a holy unity. And we are invited to be a part of this Mystery through which God relates to us.

The one thing I remember more than anything from my formation classes before being received into the Episcopal Church is the definition for mystery given to us by Mother Johanna-Karen Johannson at Holy Trinity Church, Inwood. Mystery is that which cannot be apprehended by reason, but once apprehended, is not contrary to reason. Mother Johanna assured us that we could not have an authentic experience of God with easy formulas and clichéd explanations. What’s interesting is that, Science, once considered the enemy of religion, is now helping us realize that we are in the midst of awesome Mystery. Astrophysicists are much more comfortable with emptiness, black holes, and living with hypotheses than most Christians.

This Mystery of the relatedness of God’s very being, the multiple-ness of God’s very unity invites us to find peace in the unknowing. It is not an exam question that we must answer correctly before we meet Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Rather, as Catherine Mowry LaCugna explains in her book, God For Us, the Trinity is “ultimately a practical doctrine with radical consequences for Christian life . . . [it] is the specifically Christian way of speaking about God, [and] what it means to participate in the life of God through Jesus Christ in the Spirit.”

The Mystery of God as Trinity invites us into a relationship, a participatory experience. In Christianity, it is Jesus who teaches us through his ministry of love and healing, to live our interrelatedness with God, and with one another. His teaching leads us to a God whose very essence is structured around relationship. Jesus talked about his connection with the One he called Abba, and then he promised us the Holy Spirit, who would guide us into all truth. This plurality within unity is depicted in our reading from Proverbs this morning, with Wisdom declaring, “when God marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” The playfulness of the language cannot be overemphasized, Wisdom dancing playfully before God, the creator, and sharing her delight with the human race. God is always relating, within God’s self, and beyond God’s self, a love and joy so unimaginable that it cannot be contained. It is sad that long-faced piety, discomfort, and even condemnation of those who experience things in a different way have overwhelmed the sheer joy of this connectedness.

In his Commencement Address for Oberlin College in 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “… all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

Living as related beings means that we seek out the voices in our midst that are not heard. It means we work through all of the barriers that seem to divide us, dismantling power systems based on hatred and domination. It means we treat the Earth, not as a reservoir of food and fuel, but as a dynamic and living organism to treasure and nurture. It means we learn to love the complexity within ourselves, having patience with the parts of ourselves that still need conversion. It means we give thanks for having been created as a part of a web of life and love that pours out of God’s own inner web of connectivity and relatedness.

A poem by Korean poet, activist, and former Zen Buddhist monk, Ko Un goes like this:
One day, I thought it was a visitor
One day, I thought it was the master
Over those years
I dreamed of the smoke
Coming from the chimneys
I still do not know who the poem is
Today we are invited to contemplate the visitor, the master, the smoke, the mystery and wonder of God, with all of creation. In the midst of all manner of brokenness, we join the joyful dance of unknowing, with delight. We still do not know who the poem is, but the Spirit of truth will guide us, and all will be revealed in the fullness of time.          Amen

References:, God Quietly Facing Holy Ghost Out of Trinity (February 26, 2003), My adaption

2.John Shelby Spong, The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic (HarperOne, 2013)

3.Richard Rohr, The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity (Center for Action and Contemplation).

4.Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (San Francisco: Harper, 1991)

5.Raimon Panikkar, The Rhythm of Being (Maryknoll: Orbis Books)

6.Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution: Commencement Address for Oberlin College (Oberlin, 1965)

7.Ko Un, Korean Poet, from webpage:

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