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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In thought, word and deed...

No audio this week, I am afraid, as I had to use visual aides and step away from a comfortable pulpit upon which to place my little recorder, but here is the writ:

I may have mentioned in a previous post how the Trinity is a poorly understood theology, and even more poorly explained by most theologians.  The reason this is so is that it is fundamentally a mystery, and there really is no way to explain it accurately.

For example, explain love.  Can't?  There you go, mystery.

Trinity Sunday is usually the day where most of us trot out really bad metaphors for the Trinity, and I am not going to be any different.

I have had the Trinity explained to me as an egg: shell, white, yolk, but all one egg.

Yeeeeeeahhhh, no.

I have had it explained as a cup of coffee with cream and sugar in: three ingredients, fully incorporated.

Neither.

My metaphor is this: there are three main ways you and I interact with our world: thought, word and deed.

Thought is pretty self-evident: it is the source of all motivation and inspiration, the source of all action, the source of intellect, judgment, discernment, interpretation.

Word: we speak, we hear, we communicate.  We state our intentions, we question, we explore through word and language.

Deed: we act.  We build, we destroy, we heal, we hurt through our actions in the world.

What I would like to imply is that the the three modes of interacting with the world correspond to the the three way God interacts with creation.

So you have in the Trinity God the Father/Mother, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Or God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the Sustainer, etc, etc.

In other words, you have God, Jesus and the Spirit.

So let's bring this back to thought, word and deed.

God as thought is once again the source of all knowledge, wisdom, morality, inspiration, motivation.  God is the wellspring through which all goodness flows.  God is the starting point of all action and indeed of all creation.

Jesus is often referred to as the Logos, the word of God made flesh.  Jesus literally spoke to us God's mind.  he told us about God's infinite love for creation, and he told us how we were meant to treat one another.

Then you have the Holy Spirit.  The problem with God is that he is not really accessible to us in the way our five senses normally access the world.  Nor is Jesus accessible to us in the same way he was to his disciples 2000 years ago.

But the Spirit is.  The Spirit used to be called the Holy Ghost, which freaked the crap out of me as a kid because it sounded like God was haunting me, but in reality we use the word all the time in a more understandable context: "They were in good spirits", "The spirit of the law is..."

The Spirit is not a ghost, the Spirit is an intention, a mode of being that puts God into action.

In effect, we are the Spirit.

Let me explain.  There is a mode of prayer that consistently annoys me.  It goes like this: "Dear God, please feed the hungry and clothe the naked".

I think many people walk away from that prayer feeling they have actually accomplished something.  Like the Holy Spirit is going to start flying around dropping food and clothes on people.

No.

A better prayer would be "God, I am thankful that I have extra clothes and food to give to the needy.  Please give me the strength and the will to go out there and find them and to do your will in the world always".

We are the vessels out of which the Spirit flows.  We are the lights through which it burns.  We are the tools through which good deeds are built.

Everywhere acts of justice, mercy, love, compassion, peace, forgiveness are wrought, there the Holy Spirit is found.

May that Spirit flow through you today.

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