We jokingly laugh when one of us (or better yet, not one of us) is scheduled to preach on Trinity Sunday. Priests and pastors everywhere moan when it rolls around (not soon, by the way). Who understands the Trinity??
Not me, for sure.
And yet, yesterday I was doing something entirely unrelated to the Trinity and had an interesting thought. What I had been thinking about is my once-upon-a-time friend, who is “actively dying”, as they say in the medical world. Translation: within a day.
Death always stirs a rather chaotic stew within me. Like everyone else I don’t relish a changed world and a changed life. Our dear one won’t be calling us on the phone, shaking our hand, writing us a letter, kissing us on the cheek. No, those immediate moments will now live entirely inside us, stored in a marvelous storage bank call “memory”.
On the other hand, I’m a big believer in death as a setting free, a passage, an opening door. We leave our material bodies to become, we hope, good food for the future (really: think about it). And everything else — and I believe that is a lot — is released from the confines of that body to rejoin … what?
We haven’t much in the way of words to clarify that “what”, because we haven’t been there ourselves. Or at least most of us can’t remember anything other than our present incarnate existence. Just the same, I believe we came from a great, sacred Holiness, and when released from our bodies, we return to it. Call it God, the Mystery, the Great Unknown … whatever, I can’t believe that everything that made us “us” somehow disappears entirely.
How could it? Where would it go?
OK, so what does this bit of rambling have to do with the Trinity?
Just this: What if … God is the Great Life Dreamer — that which desires and fosters and sustains all life, forever — and Jesus is the model of holy death? What would that leave for the Holy Spirit?
I believe the only leg of the proverbial three-legged-stool remaining is transformation. We know that life leads to death, which leads to life again, but not until transformation has taken place. Our bodies “decay”, and if made available to nature will be consumed by myriad creatures as (good) food. Then our material good-ness becomes blowflies and maggots, which are then consumed by and become birds, which are consumed by and become coyotes, which are consumed by and become prairie grasses, which are consumed by and become cows, which are then consumed by and become … you get the idea.
All that living and dying is what makes Life able to go on and on and on, mysteriously and brilliantly connected by transformation.
The Holy Spirit seems to me to be on intimate terms with the wildness of transformation. Who can explain it? Who can predict it? Who has never experienced it?
Sure sounds Holy Spirit-y to me …