Life In Holy Relationship Is A Mystery:
Savor It, Delight In The Gift & Play!
Trinity Sunday Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
At St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bainbridge, GA, 26 May, 2013
Year C RCL: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
Welcome back to St. John’s Sunday Mystery Series! We pick up from last week’s Mystery of the coming of the Holy Spirit to explore the Mystery we know as the Holy Trinity. I spell Mystery with a capital M – as if it were a name for God.
As you can see from this small sample of books I have with me, I love a good mystery. How many of you do? (For those who don’t, we’ll get to some straight talk about this Mystery.) This Holy Book. The Bible, is filled with Mystery.
Whether it’s Harry Potter or Sherlock Holmes, the main character faces a mystery, a contradiction, & strives to set things right. Mystery writers have a gift of giving us clues, but keeping us guessing until the right moment....The waiting is difficult. . . . . . The waiting is playful.
For those who don’t like mystery stories, here's that straight talk about today's Mystery:
- Today’s scriptures point us to the Mystery of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son & Holy Spirit – the 3 in One / One in 3. When we encounter Mystery words are inadequate.
- We can say the Holy Trinity is like the Chapel at Honey Creek (our Diocesan Camp & Conference Center): its triangular shape IS one building with height, width, depth: 3 dimensions form one building.
- We can use the analogy of family: I am my parents’ daughter, I am my husband's wife, I am our son’s mother: one person with 3 ways of being in relationship.
- These simple analogies are inadequate to describe the profound Mystery of God.
God creates all. Jesus shows us how to live, dies to save us, rises again & ascends, & by his departure increases his presence with us1. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus increases his presence – not decreases his presences2 with us.
God’s love creates us to be “in a relationship”3 (with God & all God’s creation). God the Holy Trinity IS the essence of relationship. God makes us for relationship in community & draws us into God’s Holy Community.
As our lesson in Romans says, God’s love has been poured into our hearts. We have an abiding relationship with the Holy Trinity. In addition to relationship, God also puts into us aspects or characteristics of God. Our Psalm says we have God-given dignity4. God adorns us with glory & honor. It is a gift.
We have more value than we understand.
God cherishes us!
And God gives us Wisdom.
Proverbs poetically tells us about Wisdom, which comes from God, “is an aspect or activity of God...”5, & is available to all people.
Wisdom in Greek is Sophia – Holy Wisdom, sometimes called St. Sophia,6 for which our Daughters of the King Chapter is named.
Wisdom says we have to pace ourselves – especially when we encounter Mystery.
Jesus says in today’s Gospel that we have a limit to what we can hear, what we can understand.
It’s like a dream I remember. In the dream, my husband, John, gives me a gift; I open it. It’s a delightful trinket he with a note that starts a scavenger hunt for a series of gifts. Each gift is better than the preceding gifts. Each gift is the clue to finding the next gift.
At first, I do really well solving each mystery. By the 4th one, I’m clueless. It is a wonderful gift. I’d love to stop & enjoy, but I want to keep going & find the ultimate gift.
But this gift’s clue is a mystery.
John looks really disappointed. He’s pleased that I have found some gifts. He’s disappointed that I’ve run in all directions, finding them, tearing into the gift, saying “Ooo that’s nice; I really like it...” & running to the next.
He says: “I’m happy you like the gifts. I’m disappointed you aren’t giving yourself time to enjoy each one. I wanted you to have fun. I wanted us to play together & savor each gift...”
I think that was really Jesus talking to me in my dream.
How often do we forget to savor the moment? Forget to play? Proverbs tells us that Wisdom delights in humans... Some Bibles say Wisdom is beside God not as a master worker (as our version says), but as “a little child,”7 a “darling child”8 that plays with God while God does the work of creation.
There is Wisdom in being playful.
We do work hard here. Do we play? Do we do what Wisdom does? Do we delight in each other & all God’s creation?
Delight in the Mystery of 3 in One, One in 3.
Savor the Mystery that we are humans with God living within us.
Life in Holy Relationship IS a Mystery.
Delight in the gift
Behind the Name: the etymology and history of first names. http://www.behindthename.com/names/usage/biblical. Accessed: 23 May 2013.
Chittister, Joan. The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life. www.bluebridgebooks.com: (United Tribes Media Inc.) BlueBridge. 2011.
De Waal, Esther. Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing. 1989.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. New York: American Bible Society. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Hughes, Robert Davis III. Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life. New York: Continuum. 2008.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Landinsky, Daniel. The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz. New York: Penguin Compass. The Penguin Group. 2003.
Lectionary Page. http://www.lectionarypage.net/. Accessed: 10 April 2013.
Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2011.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
La Sacra Bibbia. Versione Riveduta. Roma: Società Biblica Británica & Forestiera. 1990.
Seeing God Everywhere: Essays on Nature and the Sacred. Ed.: Barry McDonald. Bloomington: World Wisdom, Inc. 2003.
VOX: Modern Spanish and English Dictionary. Compiled by the Editors of Biblograf, S.A. Chicago: NTC Publishing Group. 1986.
1 Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. P. 1070.
3 Hughes, Robert Davis III. Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life. P. 59.
4 New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. P. 660.
5 Ibid. P. 778.
7 New Oxford Annotated Bible. P. 778.
8 Harper’s Bible Commentary. P. 508.