12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to
come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access[b] to this grace in which we stand; and we[c] boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we[d] also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
A couple of Sundays ago was Pentecost, the day we recognize God’s Spirit in and around us. This past Sunday was Trinity Sunday, the day we recognize the mystery of a 3 in 1 God.
Now, I know that there are all sorts of theological terms and understandings of how this whole Trinity deal works. There is the Greek word Homoosios, which means the same substance, not to be confused with the word Homoiosion, which means like the same. Both are terms used by theologians throughout the centuries to describe their experience of God.
I think it’s best to understand the Trinity simply as this, three beings that are of the same substance and mutually indwell in each other…so much that they are one.
Now, I’m not the Trinity, none of us are, but there are glimpses of this kind of close community from time to time. A few years ago, we started the Conspire Gathering. Tim Soerens and I co-created this idea very simply. We were sitting in Peter Block’s living room and were having one of those conversations where we were simply starting and ending each others thoughts and each adding in different flavors as we were cooking up what this Gathering could be. We quickly involved other friends like Paul Sparks, Peter Block, and Dwight Friesen, the co-authors of New Parish along with some local friends like Josh Stoxen, Brooklin Taylor, Daniel Hughes, Troy Bronsink, Jane Gerdsen, and others.
After some great conversations and plans, this whole Gathering came together. It really wasn’t much work on our part, but simply inviting others to be a part. It quickly became something that that our local Presbytery at the time really owned, as well as the Episcopal Cathedral and others.
At the end of our first Conspire Gathering, our friend Peter Block asked for reflections on the Gathering. We heard so many folks say how it seemed like Tim, Paul, Dwight, and I must have known each other for years, how things seemed to flow between us, and how this Gathering came together so well. Many more things were said that were wonderful, it turned out better than we could have planned really.
The point being, the four of us initially, and then others, were so committed to this and to each other, that this project was blessed by a sense of deep unity around a common purpose…we came together in friendship and unity.
I’ve also seen that in this church, this past week alone. I’ve had so many conversations around what we’d like to see happen in church, even in this service. It’s been fun, actually, even with some dissonance here and there
In God’s nature, God’s deepest defining character, there is a deep unity, one that goes beyond human comprehension to the point where lines seem to be blurred and there is a deep sense of mutuality, of mutual indwelling. Out of this intense community, there is One God.
As we’ve mentioned before, in Quantum Physics, physicists use a word describe how atoms, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc. work together…how they form and create. It’s called “relationship”. Atoms are attracted to each other, there is chaos at first, sparks fly, and then there is some structure and things are made.
They produce energy.
In theological terms, this relational energy in the divine, in the communion of the Trinity creates all things, it is the energy moving things, evolving things. It also saves, redeems, and reforms things…and, it holds things together, us together. We attempt to describe this three in one God by saying that all things originate in the Father who creates, the Son who saves and redeems, and the Spirit that sustains and moves. But, all of these attributes work within the Trinity, in the mutual indwelling of the relationship found in the Trinity.
The energy of this Holy community caused what Tielhard De Chardin calls the Big Bang of creation, and the 2nd bigger bang of Jesus…divinity and humanity coming together in what ancient theologians called the Homeostatic Union. This union of divine and humanity gives us the witness of God in flesh, and the “with-ness” of God with us, if you will, of Immanuel. This “God with us” is carried to us through the Trinity by the power of God’s Spirit, this Spirit in relationship with the Trinity, being poured out on to us, gives us energy to grow, mature, change, be aware of ourselves, others, and with a God who’s closer than the air we breathe.
Our lectionary passage this past Sunday gives words to Jesus’ promise that even though he would not be around in the flesh for much longer, that his Spirit, God’s Spirit, would be poured out on to us, that we would find the strength and energy to form as communities, to be together as God always intended.
In other words, we are not alone.
We also talk a lot about being the truth. What is truth? In Christ, we are pointed towards Truth. Jesus says elsewhere in John, that he is the Truth! Truth is not some abstract or even black and white rules, Truth is relationship. Truth, as God sees it, is expressed through God’s entering humanity, God’s demonstration of what it means to be truly human in Jesus. We are called to live into that truth, to follow the example of Jesus.
Now, we can’t do it on our own. We need the Spirit, God’s Spirit, carried to us through God’s conspiring with us, or sharing space breath with us as the word conspire means.
I have friends that are Greek Orthodox…The Greek Orthodox have a great term, it’s called “theosis”. It means that we are not the Trinity, we are not God, but we are drawn into communion or relationship with the Trinity through our shared humanity with Jesus and through the dynamic energy of God’s Spirit that is everywhere showing us how to live in community with others, God, and with ourselves.
A friend of mine that grew up Greek Orthodox, is the owner of Ludlow Wines in Clifton. I told Michael a while back that he gets what we are talking about in terms of the relational energy of the Trinity, he loves his neighborhood and is working towards a better community, better relationships. He’s not concerned about competition, about being right all of the time, but he demonstrates hospitality, humility, and how to work together. That’s from the very nature of God, that is practicing truth as demonstrated through Jesus, and…I’d say, Michael is a great example in a very humble way for the church to be inspired by, just as we can be inspired by the everyday moments in life where we can see God’s movement, God’s energy. God takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary through the dynamic energy of relationship demonstrated in this 3 in 1 God…may we find ways to have our eyes, ears, and hands see, hear, and partner with God’s work out ahead of us and in us.
Friends, it is my prayer that you walk away from this posting inspired to live in “theosis”, to cultivate an awareness that you are never alone, that God resides within you and all around you…and, as that awareness continues to dawn on you, on all of us, that we remember and, maybe even record, where we’ve seen God’s moving in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Here’s an invitation: Take out 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your day, and at the end of your day. Reflect on the day ahead, or the day that you just had. Write down where you think you may see God at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, where did you see God? What were your surprises?
Keep this in mind, God’s relational, 3 in 1 energy, is constantly at work around you. Take the time to cultivate the awareness of God’s presence in you, in others, and in all things and time.