Reflection on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity
This Sunday is known as Trinity Sunday. I have a confession to make. It makes no difference to me whether God is manifested as creator, as Jesus incarnate or as the Holy Spirit. The notion of trinity isn’t a big issue in my life. I would much rather think of God as God, totally present, total mystery, holding all of creation in love.
If we can listen to the following quotations as though we had never heard them before, they can provide us with ways to look at our God, who is ever ancient, ever present.
In Genesis, we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water. God said, ‘Let there be light, ‘ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from darkness. ”
In our first reading from Proverbs, it is Wisdom speaking. This is the same passage but in a translation from the Jerusalem Bible: “Yahweh created me when God’s purpose first unfolded, before the oldest of works. From everlasting I was firmly set, from the beginning, before the earth came into being.
“The deep was not when I was born, there were no springs to gush with water.
“Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth, before God made the earth, the countryside, or the first grain of the world’s dust …
“I was at God’s side, a master craftsman, delighting God, day after day, ever at play in God’s presence, at play everywhere in God’s world, delighting to be with the sons and daughters of earth.”
In the prologue to John’s Gospel, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of all humans, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower. ”
These readings are ancient, written in a time when so little was understood about our world. When the earth was thought to be flat, resting on pillars, and the sky a vast vault protecting earth from the waters above. But I see in all of them hints of what we know today through science about the birth of our planet. The presence of God, of wisdom and of the Christ, before creation. The spirit hovering over the water, the light shining in the darkness.
But what is really my current interest and inspiration is Celtic spirituality because of its focus on the goodness of earth as created by the goodness of God. The earth is sacred; our dwelling place, our home, our playground, to be enjoyed and protected. In Scotland, before the Reformation, the people lived in joy and gratitude, dancing, singing, eating, drinking, giving and receiving, taking from Mother Earth but also giving back and protecting her. This is one of their prayers:
There is no plant in the ground
But is full of [God’s] virtue,
There is no firm (place) in the strand
But is full of [God’s] blessing
There is no life in the sea,
There is no creature in the river ...
There is no bird on the wing,
There is no star in the sky,
There is nothing beneath the sun,
But produces [God’s] goodness.
They made life easy, and natural, full of joy and gratitude. They were at home with Mother Earth, enjoying God’s gifts and sharing their goods and joy with one another. No one was excluded or homeless or hungry. Sadly, the Calvinists came in and exiled the people, burned their homes, destroying their community and their ways of honoring God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises the Spirit of truth. Maybe the Spirit of truth is saying to us, “Don’t make life so complicated. Just look at what I have given you and be grateful.”
God is everywhere we look — in the eyes of another person, in the majesty of a tree, in the gentle breeze, the silent fog, in the antics of squirrels, in the delicate beauty of a butterfly, in the perfect little body of a newborn infant and in the magnificence of a tiny flower. If we choose to look and see what is right in front of us, we will see more clearly our God who is ever ancient, ever present.