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Trinity Sunday – 12 June 2022

Whatever of our Republican aspirations, I am sure that many of us have been bedazzled by the recent celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. For many of us, it has been a trip down memory lane as images of the Queen’s long life and reign have greeted us – almost from another world. Monarchy speaks to something deep within us; there is something archetypal in its presentation. It sparks something deep within us. In particular, royal weddings capture our imagination. With great vividness, they bring before us something for which we all long: the simplicity of falling in love, the promise of exchanging a commitment to each other, the hope of beginning a life together. A royal wedding imbues this with a special glamour and with extraordinary publicity, but we tune in to the event and take an interest in it because in a subliminal way it mirrors something fundamentally human to us.  We feel right in the world. In the midst of all the other troubles and uncertainties we experience something with all the promise of being good, true and beautiful. And it fascinates us. Somehow it brings us home to ourselves.

This, of course, is something that happens at every wedding. For many, their wedding is not the first time that they have exchanged a commitment to another person. But at a wedding there is every hope that this time the commitment will work. And every person who is at the wedding shares this hope, even though they know that such a commitment is not easy to sustain, and that time may prove it not to be possible to sustain.  Yet, this reality does not take away our hope for a truly committed, life long, and faithful partnership. We have this hope for the couple, because we have this hope for ourselves. Even in the face of what difficulties we may experience in our relationships, we still have this hope that enduring love is possible, and that a life shared together is an undeniable good for ourselves, and in our world.  We want this for ourselves; we want it for others.  And deeply imprinted in our psyches is the recognition that that is the way it should be, that this is the way by which we become fully alive and fully human.

It is this imprint that, in fact, we celebrate in our Christian understanding of God as Trinity. Jesus has revealed to us an understanding of God that is complex.  God is not simply a single form of being, but a complex form of being that is radically constituted by relationship. In God’s very life, eternally, there is a self-emptying, a self-giving, a receiving. The entire cosmos is premised on the nature and the quality of relationship.  And it is in the image of this God which is infinite relationship that we have been made so that just as God is defined, so are we: we exist in relationship or not at all; we are our relationships, we are made for relationship, and can become who we are only through our relationships. There is no other way. It is the truth of God, and because of this, it is our truth also. We are made for communion.

There is nothing more destructive for us than isolation.  This is why the worst punishment we can mete out to someone, other than killing them, is to banish them to solitary confinement. On the other hand, though, there is nothing more life-giving than giving and receiving love, to know that we are being loved, and that we are able to love. God’s very being, from whom all life generates, underscores this for us. This is why our proclamation of God as Trinity is not a strange, ethereal doctrine. To declare God’s life as Trinitarian is to be given the very map of our life which highlights precisely where we take wrong turns and where out true orientation lays.

Communion is our origin, and it is our destiny. It is what makes us come alive.

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