TRINITY SUNDAY

Published Sat, 29/05/2021 by

From the Book Deuteronomy: “Understand this and take it to heart, The Lord is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other.  Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you.” 

Margaret celebrated her birthday recently.  A card arrived from David, our son, which was very typical of him and his style.  On the front it reads:

IF EVER THERE WAS

AN APPROPRIATE TIME

TO GIVE YOU

WHAT IS EFFECTIVELY

A SQUASHED BIT OF TREE

FOLDED IN HALF,

IT’D BE NOW.

As the quirky artist who created it sat down to design this birthday card, the very nature of the card in front of him reminded him of its origin: without going into the process of its manufacture too closely, he saw a squashed bit of tree.  The Buddhist writer Thich Nhat Hahn goes further.  In his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life he encourages his readers to think about the paper of the book they are holding in their hands. He writes:

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper … Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either …

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply (he goes on) we can see the sunshine in it … Without sunshine, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper … And we see wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. The logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see ourselves in this sheet of paper too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, it is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. We cannot point out one thing that is not here—time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper … This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.  

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source … Without non-paper elements, like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.”

The mysterious inter-connection of absolutely everything in this world should perhaps, for a Christian, not be too surprising, for today we celebrate the greatest mystery of all – the source of all creation, which is the mystery of God himself: one God in three persons.  From all eternity and to all eternity they are, have been and ever will be Father, Word and Holy Spirit.  We could not know that had not the Word of the Father, who became one with us for our salvation, revealed it to us and, at Pentecost, sent us the Spirit (the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son), to dwell with us and in us.

All things are inter-connected in ways hidden to us most of the time, whether it be the Divine Being, the cosmos he has created, or the profound inter-relations between the two.  Some of the most inspiring passages of the New Testament are those which marvel, in light of the revelation the Christ Event gives, at the interrelationship between Creation and the Triune God through whom, for whom and in whom all things are.

To bring things slightly down to earth – but not much! – this week it was announced that, having analysed the light coming to us from 100 million galaxies, scientists have succeeded in mapping the whereabouts of that invisible so-called dark matter which makes up 80% of the total matter in the Universe.  It has surprised them because it doesn’t correlate with what they would expect from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  One leading scientist said: “I spent my life working on this theory and my heart tells me I don’t want it to collapse.  But my brain tells me that the measurements were correct, and we have to look at the possibility of new physics.”

The learning perhaps for us as we contemplate the even greater mystery of the Trinity is the need to be completely humble – awed before the Lord who is “God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other.”  And to resolve afresh to walk in harmony with God’s laws – especially the new commandment of love he sets before us each day as we read from the Gospel of Christ – so that we, our children and all humanity may prosper and live long in the land, whether this world or the world to come, that the Lord our God gives us.                             

MICHAEL KIRKHAM