Images of the Trinity

A Monday Meditation for June 8, 2020

Greetings, St. Peter’s:


I listened to the birds this morning.  In my still-sleepy state, I listened and felt the cool breeze of the world around me while enjoying a cup of tea. It was a beautiful way to start the day.  I hope that in these tender days when justice might be emerging from the depths of systemic racism and when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge our daily routines, that you are able to find moments with The Sacred.  That’s what that breeze and those birds were for me – a moment with God when I felt loved and remembered and connected and peaceful.  And now it’s time to get moving.  To get to work engaging our faith and doubt, which (if I am being honest) is rarely as serene as this morning’s time with nature.


I am still pondering the relational nature of the Trinity, which we celebrated yesterday in worship.  My friend, the Rev. Leah Robberts-Mosser (who happens to be leading a discussion group online for St. Peter’s on how to be a good GLBTQ+ ally in July) made a request of her colleagues this weekend.  She said: “Remember to mention that the doctrine of the Trinity was first introduced by Tertullian in the 3rd century. Tertullian was born in Carthage, Tunisia. Tunisia is found on the northern coast of Africa.  Don’t whitewash the Trinity.”  I have been holding that in my heart and mind ever since reading it (which was after we recorded worship for this week), and I hope you will too.


We are all engaged in a shift in our culture right now.  Conversations on race are at the forefront of our lives, and we are being asked to do work that has been avoidable for far too long.  So, if you really start to think about the Trinity, what do you see?  How does it inform your faith?  Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer?  Father, Son, Holy Ghost?  God, Christ, Spirit?  What if you plant your image of the Trinity in northern Africa, where skin colors are dark and the sun is relentless?  Does anything change for you?


This is not to say that you have to let go of whatever images of the Trinity have caused you to take pause in the past.  I am just asking for you to take a moment to consider the history of this Christian doctrine and consider if its history might cause you to think about our current world a little differently.


I wonder…


And to be clear, wondering is an act of faith.  I hope you do it often in the days ahead, and if your wonderings bring you to any thoughts that you’d like to share with another person, please know that both Becca and I are eager to continue these discussions.


With hope for the Sacred moments to move us into renewed life,