Creative Relations

(Genesis 11 – 2:3; Hebrews 1:1-4) J G White

Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017, UBC Digby

This afternoon Sharon and I head to Truro for an annual seminar on spirituality and new thinking. On two occasions there in past years, I have had the pleasure of hearing Sister M. T. Winter, a feminist theologian and author. We here know her best, perhaps, as a songwriter – Joy Is Like the Rain, I Cannot Come to the Banquet, Spirit of God.

M. T. asks, in her 2009 book, Paraxodology,

What would it be like if we approached every new acquaintance as if we had met before?  As if we had something in common. As if we were related.  As if we were already friends.  Can you imagine what this would do for planetary peace?  There would be no point in building walls along our nation’s borders when the walls within us that keep people out are finally coming down.  (p. 165)

At the heart of Faith, our Faith, is relationship.  We are relations to one another.  And to all of creation.  And to God.  Hence the old language of God the Father and Jesus our Friend and Brother.  Hence, the beautiful picture of One God as Three Persons.  Yes, the Holy Spirit is one of the Persons, not an It, but a Him (or Her). God is Three; God is Relationship: good, beautiful, perfect relationship. God is love.

All the broken relationships call out for the healing and reconciling God gives.  Our broken relationship with the earth and all living things. Our broken relationships with people: lately, I have been longing for healing among some folk I know who have become enemies of each other.     Our broken relationships with the Divine.  The Good News is that the Holy One takes the big steps to reconcile with us: the story of Jesus brings us back.  

I looked for a short story to celebrate our God who is the very model & source of good relations & conversation.

Cynthia Bourgeault, of the Center for Action and Contemplation, in New Mexico, shares this illustration of communication and fellowship with God.

(https://cac.org/the-tea-cupboard-2017-03-13/)

…Let me offer you a story that was told to me by my longtime friend and teacher, the Abkhazian dervish elder Murat Yagan.

In the years immediately following World War II, Murat recounts, he spent time in a remote corner of eastern Turkey. There he became friends with an elderly couple. Life had been good to them, but their one sadness was that they missed their only son, who had left some years before to work in Istanbul.

One day when Murat visited them, the old couple were bursting with pride, eager to show him the new tea cupboard that their son had just shipped from Istanbul. It was indeed a handsome piece of furniture, and the woman had already arranged her best tea set on its upper shelf. Murat was polite but curious. Why would their son go through such an expense to send them a tea cupboard? And if the purpose of this piece of furniture was storage, why were there no drawers? “Are you sure it’s a tea cupboard?” Murat asked. They were sure.

But the question continued to nag at Murat. Finally, just before taking his leave, he said, “Do you mind if I have a look at this tea cupboard?” With their permission, he turned the backside around and unscrewed a couple of packing boards. A set of cabinet doors swung open to reveal inside a fully operative ham radio set.

That “tea cupboard,” of course, was intended to connect the couple to their son. But unaware of its real contents, they were simply using it to display their china.

Bourgeault concludes: what if inside the Trinity is concealed a powerful communications tool that could connect us to the rest of reality (visible and invisible), allow us to navigate our way through many of the doctrinal and ethical logjams of our time, and place the teachings of Jesus in a dynamic framework that would truly unlock their power?

It is simply a matter of turning the tea cabinet around and looking inside. I know that there is indeed a ham radio concealed inside this Trinitarian tea cupboard. At a time when spiritual imagination and boldness are at an all-time low and the Christian church hovers at the edge of demise, perhaps now more than ever the time is ripe to remove the packing board from this tea cupboard and release its contents.

Look deeply into God.  The Trinity is not afar off, but is very close.  Remember – every day this week, every morning, noon and night – that the Saviour is communicating, in every language you can hear and see and smell and touch.  God is cheering us on, in every one of our prayers, every flower blossoming before our eyes, every scripture we read.  The connection can seem hidden, but it is there.  There is a Spirit who is bringing your spirit to birth, in every chapter of this life.   AMEN.

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