Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, the day set aside for congregations to contemplate the mystery of the three in oneness of God. And for pastors to struggle at writing sermons that address church doctrine without putting their congregations to sleep.
To keep folks awake yesterday, I included a Juggling Interlude in the sermon (Three Balls, One Juggling!). It’s one time when I can say with assurance that I didn’t drop the ball (or balls, although I was woefully out of practice).
The non-circuslike bulk of the sermon dealt with our discomfort at dealing with unresolved mystery in general and the mystery of the Trinity specifically.
It was one of those sermons where I was preaching to myself. I want ANSWERS, doggone it, not mystery. I wrote a poem while I was struggling with the sermon. I left it out when I preached – it didn’t really “fit” (as if the juggling did). I’m no poet, but here it is:
I want answers
Equations that balance
God you give me mystery
Agatha Christie with the last page ripped out
Murder mystery movie missing the last reel
And you want me to be okay with that?!
One plus One plus One
I struggle and strain against the unresolved
With analogies and theories and doctrines
Solve for x
Fit it into a tweet
(144 characters or fewer)
But that’s not God
That’s God in my image
Not the other way around
God says “Come”
God says “Lay down your calculator
And your dictionary
And your commentaries
And your theologians
And your Google searches”
God says “Come”
God says “Believe”
God says “I love you”
God says “We love you”
God says “Don’t try to figure Me out”
God says “Dance with us”
Keep your day job! I was “struggling” with your poem. You are a wonderful Pastor!
Free verse is great! Just words tied together like our thoughts sometimes are! It goes from our human ways to God’s grace! Just accept it He says! How can our small minds comprehend? Believe and accept !
When you relax and let the 3 balls become one dynamic, dancing blur, the trinity begins to make more sense.
I have explained it to myself in these terms. I am David. I am a father. I am a son. I am a husband. I am a lover. I am an office worker. I am a trivia enthusiast. I am an anthematologist. I am not 7 (or more) things, I am David. But none of these (for the most part) come into contact with each other. Those at my work know me as David the office worker, not David the lover. My parents know me as David the son, not David the anthematologist.
God is similar in that way. He is God the father – creator of heaven and earth. He is God the Son, Jesus who came to earth to tell us His word in person. He is God the Spirit, the God who resides in each and every one who believes in Him. These all have different roles, but they are all God.
Of course, this isn’t the best analogy, as the Trinity is unique, there is no other like it, and how do you explain something that’s unique, one of a kind? But, like many other unique things in the Bible, a rough human equivalent that we can relate to might help us understand it more, whether it’s my many faces of one David, or your juggling three balls in one juggle.
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