Everyday, in countless scenarios all over the world, scars and wounds are opened. Hearts are broken, anger erupts, accusations made, blame placed, and responsibility assumed…or denied. That very pain, so unwelcome but perhaps essential to unlocking the full capacity of what it means to be human, is alarmingly real in so many instances. Its existence unlocks empathy and love, and can be a harbinger for change. It reveals, too, that there is a deep senstivity to words and meanings, inferences and implications, that has become both demanding and daring. In a sense, that senstivity opens the horizons imposed by the limitations of language. In another way, that sensitivity challenges the conventional and ascribes a significance which may or may not be merited. Either way opens a portal that persons and communities must pass through. Either way the fragility of human persons is exposed, exchanged and sometimes exploited. Either way is costly. In these days following Pentecost, the channels of change are flowing openly. The celebration of Trinity Sunday speaks to that very phenomenon with completting certainty.
Trinity Sunday is a reminder that every generation, each person, is somehow tethered to a caring God and fastened, then, to one another. The first reading captures the depth of relationship in the passage form Deuteronomy:
Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
Every group of people, every community and ethnicity, religion and nation has a story, a way of having come to this moment in time. The first reading invites each of us to consider the who and what and why and how of that journey. It is a call to respect the wonder of it, the timelessness of it, and the treasure of it. Somehow, this reading offers to the chance to linger with the prospect that all of humanity is somehow riding in the same precarious boat, hardly able to manage alone, and yet alive to a gentle and caring God.
The second reading celebrates the birthright not to be denied. The gift of the Spirit opens the truths of human beings created and sourced and fastened to God. There is a commonality that defies roles and status and challenges human systems and institutions. Children, all children, for better or worse, and living out that connection to one another.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
The Gospel reading seals the deal. Tucked in the end of the passage, past the missioning the disciples to spread the Gospel, is a key phrase: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. This is the promise of presence, the gift of the Spirit, something to tap into, to trust.
It is not an antidote to the suffering of being human, but it is the relationship to carry through on the journey. It is the connection that can sustain us through the anxieties, uncertainties and sufferings.
Each reading captures a dimension of the transcendent presence of a compassionate and caring God. There is a Trinity of support, for the realities of living in every age, even this vortex of change there is the comforting stability of being loved and cared about.