What difference does the Trinity make in our lives?
I have to tell you a secret. I spent a week here on earth, walking with the Trinity. And like the triune God we know and love, it was in the form of a single person. His name was Benjamin. He was 33. I found out on Sunday night that he was going to be one of my 3 charges for the week. He was a mentally handicapped resident like all the people on “State” week. That, I was used to. He was also deaf. That I wasn’t. I wasn’t sure I could handle that. But when he came off the bus and I “mimed” and introduction as his counselor, he smiled a smile that lit his entire face up. And I thought: I might just be okay.
After two days – we developed a few rituals.
When the morning wake up call came, he was always cocooned in his blanket– oblivious to all the commotion around him. So I would gently wake him. The covers would come back, and his first act of every day was to smile…. His first act each day was to smile. And in that moment, I knew a God who smiled upon me. I knew a Father who in his goodness blessed me with life and love and the gift of a new day.
A second ritual was around his smoking habits. He always wanted the “after-meal cigarette.” So he would mime that he wanted one. I would mime walking down to the cabin so my other campers could do what they needed. He was always contented to wait on me and always trusting that I would be fair/would live up to my promises. And as he smoked, he would stand there in my presence, and there was nothing more important in the world than being there and enjoying each other’s company. If I tried to leave, he’d get agitated. But standing there with him – that was his universe, all in that moment. Standing there, he was connected to me and I to him. And that was all he needed. I came to know what it was to be “Son” at that moment. Obedient to the father. Content to trust in the father. Content to delight in God’s presence.
Finally, there were the crafts, though we only had them twice – Wed and Friday. He liked to draw with crayons. It became a guessing game as to what he would draw. On the last day he drew something I couldn’t figure out. I gestured. (hold hands up in questioning form) He held up hand in the “Wait” gesture. THEN HE WROTE the word WINDOW below it. HE could write. NO ONE TOLD ME! He could communicate by writing. I was blown away in joy and amazement. The last thing he wrote that Friday was: “I love you”. And I knew God’s Spirit – who surprises us with joy, who teaches me how to communicate and who finds a way to speak the Love of God into our hearts…
That is what we celebrate this day. Not an abstract concept of Trinity –one nature, two processions, three persons, four relationships – not the technical vocabulary that the church so carefully hammered out with words like spiration, perichoesis, homoousion – but a personal God – a God in whose image we are created. And if we image that God, then we will only find our fullness as human beings when our lives mirror the actions and life of the Trinity.
Though my experience of God as triune is not limited to Benjamin, it is a good place to start. So I invite you this week to walk in the awareness of the Trinity.
Walk with the Father who smiles upon his world, and who created you and me with such dancing and celebrating in our presence. Let your first act of each day be to smile upon this world…
Walk with the Son – who is obedient to the Father, who delights in being in the Father’s presence, whose whole world is the Father’s will. How will you let your life be ‘turned toward the Father’? How will you be obedient this week?
Walk with the Spirit, who will help you find ways to communicate love to the world. Seek to discover a vocabulary to speak to those who are far off in your family or in your world. And expect the Spirit surprise you with joy sometime this week.
It was not a text book – but a person who taught me best about the trinity. So, too, it will not be a homily- but a walking with God who is Father, Son and Spirit who will teach us to live his life more deeply. May we walk with our God this week…