On Understanding the Trinity
We believe in a triune God whose very nature is communal and social….God reveals God-self to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational. We who are made in God’s image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
I could just stop right there. Given the events of the last few weeks, we could say that our work is really cut out for us. We can’t avoid it: racism, mass shootings, gun violence, cult deaths– we know who suffers most. Perhaps we are observing communal acts given to lament, to cry out for mercy and justice. Perhaps we are participating in action for justice. Perhaps we are questioning if love and justice are even possible. Perhaps we can only imagine. Perhaps we are paralyzed by fear.
Beverly Harrison, a feminist ethicist, wrote an article many years ago entitled, “The Power of Anger in the Work of Love.” Many of us fear anger. But at times anger—the kind that says “Enough already” or “I’m not going to take this any longer” is just what propels us into action. It takes a fire in us, a scream of sorts that will not let us be silent. It takes our knowing someone, our being in relationship to someone who is suffering to act. To be in God’s image, that of a triune God, is to be participants in creating, redeeming and inspiring. The Holy Spirit is not passive, but active. The words in the letter to the Corinthians are strong: Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace.
Friends who wish me well have added another dictum—educate yourself! Educate others. So I have been reading voraciously, watching videos, talking to others and listening to podcasts about gun safety issues, the status of public housing, corporate tax abatements that take needed money away from the education of our children. I have written to and spoken to elected officials asking for commitments to change and expecting accountability for their actions.
My prayer now echoes the words of Moses: “O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” Be with us as we work for justice and mercy. May our understanding of the Trinity, of a Triune God be not only about identity as a “concept” to be analyzed and explained, but rather a way of being to be lived. It is about relationships!