The doctrine of the God who is three in one, while not defining God (God is beyond any human definition) does reveal some important facets of God’s nature. This God is, within God’s own nature, a community of love. But, God does not intend or seek to keep this community closed. Rather God seeks to draw all people, all creatures, and the entire cosmos into this loving community.
Cosmology teaches that the three essential dynamics or principles of the universe are differentiation, subjectivity, and communion held by the unifying force of love.
What does this mean?
- Everything in the universe is different from every other thing
- Everything is made differently / wired differently
- Everything brings different attributes, traits and needs
- The interiority or sense of self
- Subject rather than object
- A consciousness of self and therefore of others
- A sense of self and creating selfIn people we can recognise this trait reasonably easily but did you know that it is present in everything in the cosmos. That you can hear rocks sing! That particles behave differently for scientists just because they are being observed! That the atoms and molecules that make up the chair you are sitting on behave differently when you are sitting on it!
- All in communion with one another
- All part of the wholeAs faith communities we sometimes do, and should, have a good sense of being held in communion. We meet; we share; we say, "It takes a village to raise a child"; and "do this to re-member me." Many of the pressures we face in our everyday living in our modern western society are pushing against this. "Do your own thing." "Be independent." "You need this thing to make your life better."
The words from Matthew today are Jesus’ last instructions to his disciples. Listen again.
Matthew 28:16-20 The commissioning of the disciples
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshipped him. Some though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorised and commanded me to commission you: go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father Son and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
Now think back to that time...
There was no Christian religion to be brought into. Jesus wasn’t commissioning the disciples to bring people to a new religion. He was asking them to make sure everyone knew that God wanted them to live freely and abundantly in the knowledge that they were loved of God, loved and valued within the universe. Baptism was a way of saying we are changed; we are moving from one state of living and being to a different state of living and being. Think of John the Baptist doing it earlier in the gospel stories for the Jews who recognised they needed to do things differently and were wanting a deeper relationship with their God. It is reinforcing the resurrection principle that everything must die for new life to be born.
And notice also that the doubts are recorded - "some though, held back, not sure . . ." In Washington I visited the Hirshhorn Gallery and Museum - part of the Smithsonian Institutions. They had a quotes exhibition. As you went down some stairs there were quotes along the stair wall. As you came into the downstairs area you were faced with quotes on the floor and walls of that space. One whole wall had "belief + doubt = sanity." Doubt is normal and natural. Remember Sarah in today’s story. Sometimes we need a light handed approach to many things of faith and living so that we can be open to further learning and leading.
God invites us into God’s reign. Jesus calls us to follow the ways he taught and lived and to teach others to do the same, and the Spirit fills us with God’s presence and power.
And from our Corinthians reading
And that’s about it friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.