What The Trinity Teaches Us About Unity
I preached a sermon on the Trinity for Trinity Sunday a couple of weeks ago, and afterward, I got mixed reviews. For some folks, what I was saying really resonated with them, but others had a difficult time putting their head around it.
I asked my 18-year-old son, who happened to be in worship that day, what he thought of it, and he was kind in his critique. He told me that it was a complicated topic that had the potential to confuse more than inform, but he did allow that in the end, I seemed to tie everything together into something useful.
In other words, he meant that while the theological aspects of the sermon were, at times, hard to grasp, the practical application and implication of the Trinity (God is three-in-one) were pretty okay.
At any rate, I've been thinking about all of it ever since. I'm a 3 on the Enneagram, which means I spend a lot of time second-guessing my performance.
On the one hand, that's not a bad thing to do because it does help me get better, but on the other hand, it can really be a drag when my self-talk takes a turn for the worse.
But in the end, what it did this time was help me to think more deeply about the topic of the Trinity, and I've had a few more reflections that have come to me since I preached.
For example, the quote below from Fr. Richard Rohr was one I had written down in my notes for some time, but I finally felt like it was time to use it.
In this quote, Rohr leans on the theology of God's unity in diversity, a God who is One but also Three, who intentionally exists in community.
He takes the lesson we learn from God's "three-ness" to understand that by continually living with dualistic thinking (either/or, black/white, wrong/right), we aren't accessing the fullness of the Good News that Jesus came to proclaim:
We cannot sincerely love another or forgive another’s offenses inside of dualistic consciousness. In our habitual, dualistic way of thinking, we view ourselves as separate from God and from each other. We have done the people of God a great disservice by preaching the gospel to them but not giving them the tools whereby they can obey that gospel.
For Rohr, diving deeper into the theology of the Trinity is a way forward for those of us who have grown weary of the constant divisions in our culture, the way we tear one another apart, and all because we can't see beyond the idea that there are only two ways to see something.
The Trinity teaches us that not only are we meant to exist in a community as God does, but we can also see the world differently, using a non-dualistic lens to view ourselves and others.
We can employ a "third way" of thinking that helps us move beyond the logjam of opposing views on virtually every major issue that affects our society.
We can see others as more than just actors in an either/or drama. We can see ourselves as co-creators with a God who desires us to experience God's diversity and reflect it to the world around us.
This way of employing the Good News of God's radical love and grace can bring healing, peace, and unity to a world that desperately needs all three.
May we be instruments of peace and "third way" thinking in the world around us. May we find in the triune God the imagination for a better world and a better us.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.