May 26, 2013
Welcome to Trinity Sunday, the day that the Rector punts the sermon to the Deacon. (JUST KIDDING …)
Actually, I am going to hew closely to tradition by doing much the same thing.
The YouTube series “Lutheran Satire” by the Rev. Hans Fiene has done a far better (and more hilarious) job than I ever could of explicating historical and theological conflicts surrounding the Trinity. So I am going to leave you with the video “St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies” (below). (I also highly recommend Lutheran Satire’s other videos, such as “The Westboro Baptist Chipmunks“). I figure after this week, we could all use a good laugh.
But seriously, if it’s impossible for a minister to explain the Trinity – a cornerstone belief of Christianity – coherently and succinctly to his or her parishioners without committing heresy … what’s the point? If the dogma of the Trinity has become so rarified that it is only approachable by dead scholars (or unsuspecting Deacons) … what’s the point? Creating (and enforcing) an unapproachable dogma as the defining characteristic of the Church is going to do nothing but drive people away even faster.
People need to be able to approach the God that they love, in a way they can understand, in order to have a vibrant, living relationship with that God. Let’s call off the Spanish Inquisition, shall we? If someone wants to imagine the Trinity as a three-leafed clover, let him. If someone wants to relate the Trinity as a three-faceted diamond, let her. If someone wants to illustrate the Trinity as Larry, Curly and Moe, who cares? The hallmark of a Church that works is not how pure its doctrine is, but how active and enthusiastic its community is in living out the love of God for each other.
And speaking of living out God’s love: if you, like me, are still reeling from the weather disaster in Moore, Oklahoma (I have several family members just south of there), and would like to know how to best minister to those affected, here is a great article by the Rev. Emily C. Heath (United Church of Christ): “Five Tips for Ministry After a Natural Disaster“. And here is a prior blog post to let you know what not to do: Job 2-23: How NOT to Respond to Suffering. Our thoughts, prayers and hopes are with all those still suffering.