Pentecost +1 – Year A
The lection passages this week have been chosen to give authority to the idea, concept, reality, hope, relationships that has come to be deemed "Trinity." A key question is whether this metaphor is still constituent for Christians or if it has passed its helpfulness. My sense is that we are moving past this doctrinal formulation, but there are miles to go. What will be helpful is our not taking it more seriously than a vision of the past can bear. If the Trinity can't take being laughed at, it probably needs to be sidestepped in favor of a larger picture. Panentheism would broaden it to Infinity and monotheism would return it to Unity. Are you on one pole or the other or on the continuum between?
Paying attention to context is helpful. Here we have travel-tired disciples worshipping and doubting, at one and the same time. This is key to the on-going debates about Trinity and how difficult it is to teach this concept.
I am presuming that more than Thomas are doubting, that others learned from him that doubt is an acceptable beginning spot for interaction with Jesus.
In this mix of tired, worship, and doubt Jesus draws nearer than his worshiped distance would otherwise allow to say four things, with the Trinity being but a subset of one of them:
In these we find some basics.
Go can also be Be. There is a journey and we are on it. Authority that can motivate to journeying is helpful. Authority that constrains to pre-ordained outcomes is not helpful.
Baptism and it's qualities of Repentance, Turning, Belovedness takes precedence over any institutional words that define and limit it. To be baptized by John is as significant as that in one, two, or three names of what we call Trinity. Whatever leads one to a reconsideration of life and recommitment to larger life is holy.
Baptism is an entry into learning; learning even from temptations. Teaching is thus a holy endeavor as significant as journey and baptism. Teaching how to love one another, love enemies, love self and neighbors, and love G*D goes beyond mere obedience, all the way to life itself. What else are we teaching all day long? What else are we learning all day long?
Each of these points finds new and renewed life in the context of an on-going experience of G*D's incarnation – re-membering or rebirth in the mangers of our hearts. This experience vivifies authority and journey, visions new baptisms, challenges teachings and doubts.
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A census of remaining disciples brought them back to Galilee. Here angelic song and shepherdic doubt came together one more time. In this crucible Christ was heard to say: I'm entrusting the creative authority John sees in me to all of you. Get moving to share what you know. Start with repentance from past and present (use any experience base you find helpful – that of creation, resurrection, or interconnection) and move deeper into a preferred future through the five love images I taught. Most importantly know that Love never ends and my participation in that will help sustain you all along life's journey. We are yoked together – onward – Emmanuel begins again – in you!