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Sunday, June 04, 2023

Trinity Sunday: Imagine!


Sunday morning FaceBook Reflection
Trinity Sunday - June 4, 2023

Good Sunday morning, good people of the universe. It's a lovely, sunny-but-cool Spring morning, the first Sunday in June, and the early days of Pride Month.

In Christian circles, today is Trinity Sunday. I didn't go to church this morning. I watched it live-streaming. But, last night, I read a really good sermon on the Trinity written by a dear friend and colleague who is an octogenarian which really resonated with me. I've been "chewing" on it ever since - the mark of a good sermon, in my book.

I wish she had told a story - she's a good storyteller - but she had just enough of what I call "pragmatic mysticism" to be satisfying to my spirituality. I'm not going to get into a whole discussion of all the different kinds of mysticism practiced by various folk. Here's what I want to say about it:

A mysticism that is pragmatic deals with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations but not in the physical world. It deals with knowledge inaccessible to the intellect obtained through contemplation and meditation; it is not a system of beliefs or theoretical assumptions that are unreliable.

I think Jung described it best when he talked about things like "synchronicity" and "collective unconscious"- that place in the cosmos (or unconscious mind) that contains archetypes, or universal primordial images and ideas. It's a manifestation of the old saying, "There is no original thought."

In her sermon, my friend asked why we need a Doctrine of the Trinity. She answered it simply and honestly by saying that "we humans have to have an explanation for almost everything."

And thus we get not only one but two Creation stories in Genesis. And, the Virgin Birth. And, the Resurrection. And, of course, The Trinity.

I think the best explanation I've heard of the mysteries in life like The Trinity came from the character Neytiri in the epic film Avatar. Her student and Avatar, Jacke Sully, reports what she has taught him from her people, the Na’vi, who live on Pandora.

"There is a network of energy that flows through all living things. All energy is borrowed and one day you have to give it back."

That's it. Right there. The Resurrection and the Trinity explained in two simple sentences. We could bundle up all the theological doctrine and mysteries in those two sentences as well, including the Virgin Birth and Eternal Life.

It's pragmatic mysticism - something we 'know' to be true without needing an intellectual discussion or explanation. Or, perhaps, in spite of it.

I'm not preaching on The Trinity in a church today but if I were, I would begin by calling for a Spiritual Revolution, because that's what I think The Trinity does.

I think it begs for it. Insists on it. Practically demands it by continuing the Pentecost Effect and confounding everything we have carefully constructed to keep us separate: language, race, and now, creed and time.

God is no longer just a white-haired old man sitting high in the heavens, judging us. God is within us, revealed to us in Christ Jesus. And, God is around us and in all of creation, as revealed to us by The Spirit, the Advocate, the Paraclete.

God is not just one thing or one person. God is not even just The Trinity but more than that - dummied down so that we can pretend to understand how it all works.

But, we don't. We simply don't have the intellectual capacity and the language as humans to express the mystery that is at the center of every creature which lives and moves and has its being in all of the greater mystery of creation.

The closest we can come to understanding The Mysterium Grandum is that God is like a network of energy that flows through all things.

The Chinese call it Chi. In Sanskrit, it is called Prana. It is also called Ki or circulating energy in the practice of Asian acupuncture. In the Qur'an, it is called Ruh. In the Talmud, Ruach. In Greek, pneuma.

Among the indigenous people of the Algonquin, it is called Manitou. Among some Native Americans, there are nine spirit guides that sometimes appear on a Totem, calling their spirit energy to enlighten, enliven and protect the community (tribe). In some Native American cultures, the four winds are also called into being in the Medicine Wheel or Sacred Hoop to maintain health and healing.

There's more - much more - but I'll stop there.

Christians call it "Holy Spirit" which we say is part of The Trinity. And, in our arrogance, we think and act like we own the idea.

I think Trinity Sunday calls for a Spiritual Revolution to honor the network of energies - the Eywa - which connect us, everyone of every race, culture, language, age, and creed, and time to ourselves and to each other.

Imagine what would happen if we moved beyond the words on the dusty pages of doctrine and discipline and opened not just our minds but our hearts to be in relationships and interrelationships with each other and all creatures and creation.


I think that's exactly the Spiritual Revolution that The Trinity calls us to experience, deep in our souls. Imagine more than what's here. Imagine more than the limits of our intellect and the constructs of our time and place. Imagine relationships with some ones and some things vastly different from our selves.

Imagine what that would do to our world. Could war even be a possibility anymore? Might we be able to stop pollution, repair our climate, and heal our planet?

On this Trinity Sunday, were I in a pulpit, I just might challenge everyone to begin the Spiritual Revolution by eating an apple. I mean, eat it and really taste it - its skin and pulp and juices - and enjoy it as if it were a forbidden fruit.

Look at the Spiritual Revolution our ancestors tell us started when a man and a woman ate an apple in a garden and began to realize things they had never before imagined possible.

As Jake Sully says, "Sooner or later though, you always have to wake up."

Make it a great day, everybody.

Bom dia!

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