Sunday, June 03, 2012
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
On Wednesday our bible study addressed the scripture readings for this Sunday which is Trinity Sunday. We discussed the hymn above, which many congregations sang at the beginning of worship every week for decades. Despite the repetition back then, as well as all the exclamation marks, I think we were in agreement that it didn't help to make this central Christian any less perplexing.
What did help was the brief but thoughtful exploration of the subject in Marcus Borg's book Speaking Christian. He notes that Jews and Muslims, our closest relatives, see the Christian Trinity as an abandonment of monotheism, while we affirm the mystery of three aspects of one God.
Borg suggests taht the word "person" trips us up and instead uses the Greek word persona which means "to speak through." He mentions that in the theatre of ancient times actors wore masks to assume different roles rather than to conceal identity. So God is revealed or speaks in the role of Creator, Christ, and Spirit, interrelated and unique.
Does the trinity baffle you? Have you made your peace with trinitarian theology or just lie down until the feeling goes away? Can we be Christian without it?