The View from the Vicarage: Trinity Sunday

On Trinity Sunday, every year I realise the impossibility of ever doing God justice by talking about him.  Today I have not focused on the Trinity as much as the mystery, the question and the poetry of it all.

Todays Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 40:12-17 & 27-31 holds for me that great mystery of God – it is there I want to spend some time this morning.

The prophet says:

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counsellor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?

The prophet starts by pointing to mystery, to big questions that cannot be answered –  I too am tempted to hold on to the questions rather than try out a neat explanation.

Yet the world cannot cope with mystery. We have as humanity always tried to apply reason and logic, everything must be explained away. The theory behind this approach to life is to  give us with wealth, security and with control.

Yet here we are in the powerful United Kingdom with deaths of over 40,000 from COVID19 – here we are seeing racism and protest still exploding onto the streets of the world – today is not a day to neatly explain things away. It is not just COVID19 and the murder of George Floyd, just look at the map of history, unfurl it and you will find that our instance on logic, on reason and that desire to explain everything away has brought two thirds of the world famine and strife, this way of life has brought war and prejudice, this way of life has given us debt and stress.

Even before our current crisis we could walk the streets of our cities where homeless people sleep, by going to any major city where people are trafficked from poorer countries into the sex trade, where people live in fear of the next bill, in fear of their parents, in fear of theory husbands, in fear of their lives.

I wonder if we are missing something, maybe it is time to live with the big questions as the prophets did of old. Time to hold these questions in tension we turn to scripture, the Bible the inspired word of God – not as  a set of answers, but poetry, beauty, and mystery. A mystery that points to a God beyond our imagining, beyond our questions, our logic and our reasons.

The answer to the questions of mystery asked by the prophet in our reading this morning is this:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

The answer is poetry itself, a poetry that highlights the majesty and the mystery of our creator, our redeemer and our sustainer of this Trinity Sunday.

It joins the poetry that starts with creation in Genesis that moves the songs of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Psalms and the prophets.   We hear the poetry when Mary finds she is to bear the world it’s saviour and when Simeon, meets him – and now Lord you let your servant go in peace.

This is wonder, it is mystery and part of the very nature of serving God.

This Trinity Sunday I wonder if we might stop trying to find all the answers and hold on to the questions, love the mystery – take the words of scripture and let their poetry sing and then transform you.

We live in and in a world of heartbreak, disease, poverty inequality and injustice remember the poetry of the prophet  his words  are for you this morning:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

A Trinity Sunday hymn for you as we hold the mystery

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
Perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity. *

Your friend and vicar

 

David

*Words by Reginald Heber (1783-1826). Music by John B. Dykes (1861). Public Domain
CCLI 285604

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