A sermon for Trinity Sunday by the Rev. Anne O. Weatherholt
How do you describe a plant?
If you are a biologist, you might describe a plant by its cellular structure, how through osmosis it uses sunlight and water to grow; and how at some point, it reproduces and then dies.
If you are a gardener, you might describe a plant by where it grows, how tall, what kind of soil it prefers, what the bloom looks like and how best It can be nurtured.
If you are a florist, you might describe a plant by its color, size and composition, how, when combined with other plants and flowers, a total composition emerges.
But none of these completely describes a plant.
How do you describe a rock?
If you are a geologist, you might describe a rock by how it was formed, where it was found, and how it relates to other formations.
If you are a landscaper, you might describe a rock by how it interacts with what is around it how it might be used as a path, a border or an accent.
If you are a farmer, especially in this area of Maryland, you might describe a rock as an impediment, something that breaks machinery, something to be rooted out, moved and perhaps incorporated into a fence line.
But none of these completely describes a rock.
How do you describe a symphony?
If you are a musician in the orchestra, you might describe a symphony by its length, its pace and organization and how your particular instrument plays a particular role in the entire composition.
If you are the conductor, you might describe a symphony by the genius of the composer, by the special sound—loud and soft—that you want to use to interpret the work at a various point, or by the over-all picture express by the work.
If you are a concert goer, you might describe a symphony as too long, too short, overwhelming, melodic, or you might compare it to other performances by the same orchestra, or you might tell others that you left refreshed and uplifted.
But none of these completely describes the symphony.
How do you describe a relationship?
If you are in love, you might tell others that you are over the moon, deeply touched, feel the absence of the other when you are not together, or look forward to many more years in the others company and embrace.
If you are in a troubled relationship, you might tell others that you are depressed, worried, feel harassed, not sure what to do, or that you are trying to press forward and tough things out.
If you are in a new relationship, you might tell others that you are unsure, or long to know the other better, or hope that the relationship endures.
But none of these completely describe the relationship.
How do you describe GOD?
How DO you describe God?
How do YOU describe God?
The first Christians described God as love.
The first Christians described Jesus as God.
The first Christians described God as Spirit and Truth
Just as the case of a plant, a rock a symphony or a relationship; describing God is a human endeavor, not made up of simplistic assertions, or random opinions;
Describing God depends on where you are standing- a kind of perspective; and personal experience.
Describing God can change your life in wonderful and profound ways;
Or can come a frustrating, mind bending exercise in futility.
In Barnes and Noble last Friday, I saw titles of new books that blamed religion and the belief in God for all the ills of mankind;
And I saw titles that explored the mystery of what happens after death.
But last Thursday, 16 church members gathered for dinner and a chance to share their faith by sharing stories; followed by minutes of profound silence as they listened, appreciated and digested what they had heard – and how intently they had listened.
And God was there, as I prayed for them all as I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen.
Jesus’ love for the Church was what brought us together;
And the Spirit moved in the moments held holy between friends.
How do you describe God?
In the Trinity we describe God as three in one, and one in three – strange math!
In the Trinity we describe God as relationship and family – more than “one is the loneliest number” but less than “lost in a crowd.”
In the Trinity we describe God as mystery and magnificence;
As complex and profoundly simple.
As known and unknowable.
As before creation and reaching into a yet to be created future.
Trinity Sunday is the time the Church leaves the Easter Season of new life and new possibilities;
And embarks on the long journey of the Sundays after Pentecost;
Ready to take up the stories about Jesus;
The accounts of the people of God from the time of Abraham and Ruth, Noah and Eve;
Ready to walk and rest and walk again and explore and learn and rest and meet a new horizon and see a sunset; and rest and walk and talk with those we meet on the road until we finish on Christ the King Sunday and turn the page toward Advent and new Liturgical Year.
This past week, I heard a poem on the radio that blew me away.
Maybe it is a kind of description of God….
In any case, I exclaimed out loud in the car;
And rushed to my computer to find a copy once I got to the office.
So today I offer it as food for the community of believers; each of us learning each day to describe God in a new way:
by Ronald Wallace
Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.
All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.
Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.
Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
take it with me.
May you always be surprised by love; surrounded by the mystery of life and may you always search for the truth;
Knowing that to know love is to know God;
To find Jesus Christ is to find your true self;
And to ride on the wings of the Spirit is the greatest joy of the Christian life.