What’s the difference?

We have all kinds of solemnities, feast days, and other special days in the church year. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel, the birth of Jesus, the arrival of the maji, the Baptism of our Lord, the Transfiguration when the glory of Christ is revealed, Palm Sunday, the empty tomb and Resurrection of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the explosive coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost … and then we have Holy Trinity Sunday.  And suddenly it is like we have moved from these great events in the life of Christ, and now…. tadah!!  We are celebrating… well… what are you celebrating this Sunday? Take a moment and make a list of the possibilities… (for my own part I am waiting… are you making the list or did you keep reading?) Continue reading

Trinity – what is revealed

Holy Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church, but as with many things the advent of new, sometime heretical, thinking often gives the Church a moment in which to explain and celebrate its own traditions; things it already believes and holds dear. In the early 4th century when the Arian heresy was spreading, the early church, recognizing the inherent Christological and Trinitarian implications, prepared an Office of Prayer with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays to proclaim the Holy Trinity. Pope John XXII (14th century) instituted the celebration for the entire Church as a feast; the celebration became a solemnity after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Continue reading

Proverbs and Holy Trinity

This coming Sunday marks Holy Trinity Sunday (Year C);  You can read a commentary on the readdings here.

Thus says the wisdom of God: “The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world. “When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.” (Proverbs 8:22–36) Continue reading

Being the Promise

When you hear the “Great Commission” what is the prominent part that resonates with you?  “Go” – “make disciples” – “Baptizing” – “teaching” – the declaration of the Holy Trinity: “Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?”

The Great Commission continues “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold…” In my experiment of asking people to finish the sentence most replied “I will be with you until the end…”  But the ending is different:  I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Continue reading

The Dance of Love

We have all kinds of solemnities, feast days, and other special days in the church year. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel announcing the miraculous child she was to bring into the world. We celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings, the Baptism of our Lord, the Transfiguration when the glory of Christ is revealed, and on Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem amidst palms and cheers. We celebrate the empty tomb and Resurrection of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the explosive coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost—and then we have Holy Trinity Sunday. And suddenly it is like we have moved from these great events in the life of Christ, and now— tadah!! We are celebrating a…a…a church doctrine. Continue reading

Become what you see…

I-love-TriniyyWe are a people who profess a faith in a God that has revealed God’s self as a Trinitarian God. In the history of the Church there were many who looked at the same Scriptures and denied that God was one, yet three divine persons. Back in the 4th century, a very large movement called the Arians said Jesus and the Holy Spirit were divine, but kind of a second- and third-tier God, divine but not as divine as the Father. The Sabelliansheld a belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three characterizations or modes of being one God, rather than three distinct “persons” in one God. They were also a pretty large group. A very small and short-lived group were the Pneumatomachians (“Spirit fighters”) – while accepting the divinity of Jesus Christ they denied that of the Holy Spirit which they saw as a creation of the Son, and a servant of the Father and the Son. These were all people who held the New Testament to be the Word of God. Continue reading

It all turns out well….

ShakespearInLoveThe first movie I saw after my years in mission in Kenya was “Shakespeare in Love.” There is a scene between Philip Henslowe, the theatre owner and producer, and Hugh Fennyman, the investor, which I have always remembered.

Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Fennyman: So what do we do? Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. Fennyman: How? Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery. Continue reading