This weekend we are treated to a fine homily by my colleague and friend, Dick Dahl who subbed for me yesterday as I officiated at a wedding out of town. Enjoy! Thank you, Dick! –Pastor Kathy
“God for us, we call you Father. God alongside us, we call you Jesus. God within us, we call you Holy Spirit. You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things, Even us and even me.” This prayer of Father Richard Rohr’s is one way of being open to God as Trinity. Today’s homily is largely based on his recent two weeks of meditations about God as Trinity.
Although God revealed as Trinity is a central Christian belief, many of us were told we shouldn’t try to understand it because it’s a “mystery.” Fr. Rohr sees mystery not as something you cannot understand; rather, it is something that you can endlessly understand! There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve got it.” There is always more.
This homily’s message is simply this: Jesus revealed God as being all about relationship and connection. Jesus revealed that God is dynamic relationship itself. We hear this in today’s Gospel when at the Last Supper Jesus says, “Everything the Father has is mine…the Spirit will take from what is mine and declare it to you…(in fact) guide you to all truth.” Father, Son and Spirit is all about relationship and connection.
I find it striking that contemporary science, especially Quantum physics, affirms that the foundational nature of reality is relational; everything is in relationship with everything! The mystery of Trinity is embedded as the code in everything that exists. We are part of this dynamic relationship. Therefore this means we all belong. There are no outsiders.
The Trinity opens an amazingly expansive view of reality—all reality. In other words, all creation—galaxies, solar systems, black holes, and wonders beyond our imagining–all reflect the creative presence and signature, as it were, of the Divine relationship. Humans are not independent beings, nor is any part of creation; we all exist in radical relationship—ecosystems, orbits, cycles.
Beneath the ugly manifestations of our present evils–ecological devastation, brutality, indifference to the suffering and desperation of millions, hating each other for their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality—beneath all this dis-ease facing humanity right now is a distorted and painful sense of disconnection.
Many feel disconnected from God, from our planet, from each other, and even from themselves. This sense of isolation is plunging our species into increasingly destructive behavior and much mental illness. A dominant feeling described by a growing number of people, especially young people, is loneliness.
Nevertheless, Thupten Jinpa, who was the Dalai Lama’s English interpreter for many years writes, “We are born to connect.” He goes on, “Real life connectedness is the cure for loneliness. Opening our heart to others, caring for others, and allowing our heart to be touched by others’ kindness, living our life in ways that express compassionate care creates strong connections.” In fact he adds, “Our longing for connection, not just with our fellow humans, but with animals, is so deep that it determines our level of happiness.”
So, a sense of disconnection is based on an illusion. Nothing can stop the flow of divine love; we cannot undo this eternal pattern even by our worst sin. Nothing humans can do can stop the relentless outpouring force that Fr. Rohr calls the divine dance. Love does not lose, God does not lose. That’s what it means to be God!
As Trinity, God can be thought of better as a verb than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than a deity sitting on a throne. And we live naturally inside that flow of love—if we do not resist it. Infinite love is planted within humans and all of creation.
I repeat, whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect active communion between Three—a circle dance of love. God is Absolute Friendship. God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself. This pattern is mirrored in the perpetual orbit of electron, proton, and neutron that creates every atom, which is the substratum of the entire physical universe. Everything is indeed like “the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26-27).
We are intrinsically like the Trinity, living in absolute relatedness. To choose to stand outside of this Flow is the deepest and most obvious meaning of sin. We call the Flow love. We really were made for love, and outside of it we die very quickly.
Father Rohr, writes, “Once we allow the entire universe to become alive for us, we are living in an enchanted world. Nothing is meaningless; nothing can be dismissed. It’s all whirling with the same beauty, the same radiance. In fact, he says, “If I could name the Big Bang in my own language, I’d call it the Great Radiance. The inner radiance of God started radiating at least 13.8 billion years ago. We must realize that we are the continuation of that radiance in our small segment of time on Earth.”
Father Rohr says, “This is nothing I can prove to you. This is nothing I can make logical or rational. It can only be known experientially in the mystery of love when you surrender yourself to it, when you grant a blessed I-Thou relationship to every other thing—a plant, an animal, a single tree, the big blue sky—as Francis of Assisi put it, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.”
The essence of the Trinity undercuts all dualistic thinking. The contemplative mind sees similarity, connection, and meaning everywhere. We know the Trinity through experiencing the flow itself, which dissolves our sense of disconnection.
With this vision you will live in a fully alive and congenial universe where you can never be lonely again.”