Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
God is complicated.
We like to begin with gross understatements sometimes. And yet, there is something delightfully simple and true here, too. Isn't it enough to just say it - God is complicated? ...Perhaps beyond our human ability to grasp all that means and that is ok? God is complicated.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, a culminating day of sorts in the liturgical year. We have walked through the Advent, waiting and watching for the birth of Jesus, celebrated the incarnation on Christmas, and studied the ministry of Jesus, turned our attention toward Lent and Jesus' walk toward the cross, marvelled at the miracle of Resurrection on Easter and then witnessed God's gift of the Holy Spirit to the church during Pentecost. And here we are recognizing the generative and creative God who chose to walk amidst creation as an embodied human and then graced the church with a Spirit presence that is still moving.
The concept of a Trinity - that God is really three distinct and unique manifestations - is really tough and theologians and scholars have invested lifetimes trying to understand and describe the Trinity. At one very base level, though, it just meshes with our experience. God is so much - how can we relate to God in only one way? It's easier to embrace God as creator, co-human, or spiritual presence, practically speaking. How about for you?
In the reading from Proverbs, the writer describes "wisdom" as a presence that has always been and will continue to be. Wisdom is credited as "created" by God at the very beginning. And this meshes with opening of John, written much later and influenced by the Jewish understanding of Creation, where Jesus is described as the Word that existed in the beginning. A takeaway here is that this concept of God in multiple manifestations is not a strictly "christian" notion.
The psalmist praises the Lord's creation and is marveling at the relationship of Humans to the rest of creation. This passage can make us wince a bit - with reference to human dominion over other created lives. This is certainly a verse that has been used to justify acts of destruction by humans in the created world. But in the context of Trinity Sunday, it also says something about God and the unique relationship that we as humans can access with God. Our very design somehow drives us toward a relationship with a God that we cannot fully comprehend. We have a gift of both rationality and faith and find ways for those to rest side by side.
In Paul's letter to the church at Rome, Paul has been exploring our human relationship with God. This is t first mention of the Holy Spirit in this complex relationship. As he describes it, the Holy Spirit is a direct conduit between God's love and the human heart.
Finally, in the selection from John's gospel, Jesus is laying out a bit of a mystery without apology. Essentially, he tells the disciples that there are many things that he could tell them that they would not understand. Instead, the Spirit of truth will come to them and they will be guided into truth. (It's worth noting that that they will be "guided," not filled in. There is a role for their own action, discernment, understanding still.)
So much of what we experience in life is complicated. And sometimes that can be paralyzing because we do not fully understand something or completely know the answers to every question. But what if we were to free ourselves of having to understand it all? What if we just accepted that there are many manifestations of God that we cannot comprehend....and do our best to connect with God in the ways we know we can connect? What if we accept what Jesus tells the disciples?
God, we hardly know ourselves
Much less You.
We seem to be hard-wired to search for answers
And fairly incapable of
Help us to learn to trust
that we will know
what we need to know
when we need to know it.
Help us to trust.
Help us to trust.
Help us to trust.
© matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
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