A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Prayers of the People: Two Men and a Bird? Trinity Sunday, 1st Sunday after Pentecost '18 Yr B

For Sunday, May 27, 2018, 1st Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29 or Canticle 13, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17

       In the year that King Uzziah died…The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke…Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal…touched my mouth with it and said, “…your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send…” and I said, “Here am I; send me!”  [Isaiah 6:1a, 4, 6a, 7-8]

        Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of Peace. [Psalm 29:2, 11]

       For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God…When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit…heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. [Romans 8:14, 15b-16a, 17b]

      “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit…’You must be born from above.’” …”If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?”  [John 3:6, 7b, 12] 

         It’s so very difficult – ok,  impossible – for us as mere mortals to wrap our brains around the mystical mysterious concept of the Trinity, or mathematically speaking: 1 + 2 = One. Two out of the three persons of this, our Trinitarian God, are genderless although many refer to God as Father and some think of the Spirit as the feminine of Wisdom, or Sophia as it is written in Biblical Greek. While our human minds cannot possibly grasp the Trinity in its complexities, we still wrestle with how to reduce it to fit in a small box in our minds that we can pretend to understand. The mind naturally seeks to sort and file its collected data into usable bits amidst the consternation of those pieces that simply don’t fit the space allotted.
       The Christian Trinity is, plainly and purely, if not simply, a mystery. Yet if it is explained then there is no mystery and is easily dismissed. What is God-like in that? Some minds clamor for any mystery to be reducible and solvable to fit neatly into that file as in wanting to know the steps an entertaining magician uses to perform an illusion. Others are comfortably engaged in the wonder of the ways it is unfolding.
       The mystery of the Trinity is nothing if not confounding. One God/Three Persons – separate yet one, equal with different roles that are ultimately the same, belief in one is meant to be belief in all and the One that is the same but different. “Stranger than we think and stranger than we can think,” to borrow from physicist Neils Bohr’s description of the Universe. Franciscan Richard Rohr tells us that some ancient mystics have suggested that we are called as an almost fourth person in the flow of God, as Jesus says later in John’s Gospel, "so that where I am you also may be" [John 14:3].
       One of my favorite ways to attempt a workable sense of the Trinity – gender language aside 
– is through a piece of a 6th century creed from Dublin known as Tírechán’s Creed ~ when speaking of God it says:

He has a Son who is co-eternal with himself;
   and similar in all respects to himself;
   and neither is the Son younger than the Father,
   nor is the Father older than the Son;
   and the Holy Spirit breathes in them.
And the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

       Perfectly clear now, yes? Well, here’s another wrinkle, someone else once wrote – I don’t remember who – that if your understanding of the Trinity is 2 men and a bird, it is time to rethink! If we can truly understand the mysteries of God, then that God, for me, is way too small.


Leader:  ~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, release us from our quest to reduce You and the vast mystery of faith to our human level of certainty and understanding. Grant us openness of mind, sincerity of heart, and willingness to come to You unknowing, allowing the wind of the Spirit, the redemption of Christ, and our birth from Above, to move through us in Your many and miraculous ways.

                                                Most Holy Trinity
RESPONSE:             In faith we answer Your call

~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, in a world where principle and integrity are obscured in the smoke of fear and confusion, let us answer “Here we are; send us” to seek Your Voice, speak with clean lips, and to bear witness for truth and justice in the halls of governments in our World, our Nation, and in our Community. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Trinity
                                                In faith we answer Your call
~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, embrace and sustain the hope and faith of those bowed low by illness, addiction, or loneliness, and give comfort to all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Trinity
                                                In faith we answer Your call
~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, we joyfully ascribe the glory due Your name as you receive those we love into everlasting life, in the beauty of holiness they have now achieved. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Trinity
                                                In faith we answer Your call

~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Trinity
                                                In faith we answer Your call
~ Abba, Redeemer, Advocate, we lift to Your care the souls and hearts of our Earthly Guides, ordained by You to walk with us, beyond the bindings of earthly things toward the glory of all things of heaven. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Trinity
                                                In faith we answer Your call

The Celebrant adds:  Creator, Savior, Sanctifier, grant us the blessing of Your peace as we accept the strength You have given us as joint heirs of Your eternal Kingdom. Expand and amplify our faith that its depth and constancy are revealed in the ways we answer Your call. We ask through each and all of the Three Eternal Persons in the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity, who are One God, forever and ever. Amen.  

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