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Today is Trinity Sunday:


Time to consider the Church’s dogma on the Trinity.  This follows Pentecost simply because having  been through Lent Easter Ascension and Pentecost the church feels it important to  make a statement about the nature of the Faith , the construction of God it is  promoting as true.


The early church councils sought to produce an agreed formulation on the relationship between the Spirit the man Jesus and the Christ and the Creative force while simultaneously holding the position of Sarah and Abraham that there is one living God, a singularity.


Centuries of argument produced the final creedal statements. The need the church has always felt to show internal consistency on these matters drove the need for formulation over encouraging enlightened experience of the living God and began down a path that lead to schism and argument and from there pronouncements of heresies, persecutions, wars and horrific murders.  Sometimes these were about the issues of Trinitarian thinking more often outflows of the need to control the hearts, minds and religious experience of the people.


Power bases were being built and the church no longer wanted reconciliation with Judaism.


The desire early on was to produce a single monolithic religion where all churches agreed some basic creedal statements. At best these were intended to be helpful to the laity at worst they were to offer political control and to promote need to be “right” and to identify the other as wrong – which have plagued the church ever since. Internal disagreement is found in all the great world religions as religious ideals defend to operations of power.


We know that the Bible clearly refers to the Spirit of God, the Creator, the Christ and the person Jesus while also staying monotheistic. The need to clarify what is inherently confusing or mysterious   transmuted into a need to codify (God!). What flowed directly from that were questions:


  1. The pecking order inside the Trinity.

Codifying this produced the great schism between the Easter orthodox church (Constantinople the Middle East Africa) and the Churches in the West (Rome and the rest of Europe with their own emerging power). The West have the filioque clause in their creed which says the Holy spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son” the Eastern churches say the Spirit proceeds only from the Father where the Unity resides in its partial expression of the Father. The West argued for the unity actually in the Trinity per se.


2. The nature of the Christ and the development of Christology around the incarnation, the life teaching death and resurrection of Jesus.


  • it also began to limit the language around the stuff of God. This meant feminine images of the Godhead were ignored or supressed and cultural biases began to be laid over the raw teachings of Jesus. His teaching began to be represented in constricted ways.


3. Probably the worst effect of these formulations was that the decisions were presented to the laity, not as helpful tools for thinking about the nature of God, but rather correct positions to adopt. The irony of this process seems to have been completely lost as followers of Jesus were brutally murdered because of perceived threats to religious orthodoxies developed and promoted and policed which promoted religious in and out , right and wrong positions.


4. The most subtle and the most sad effect has been dogmatic teaching which has supressed the natural experience of Christians or  left them concerned that they will fall out of relationship with God for getting it wrong as opposed to falling out with God because of greed violence, love of power, exploitation oppression, laziness and cruelty – demanding instead  conformity to the somewhat ambiguous teaching of the church, and that the church will tell people the nature of God rather than foster the inherent natural relationship between all people, all creation and the transcendent.


The Trinity is a difficult teaching though if you interested it does produce very interesting profound and even liberating catholic (across all people)  views of God. The Best of this is LaCugna

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_LaCugna ). “God for Us“. This is the best book on the Trinity you will ever read.


The church’s often undignified, misguided and oppressive shoring up of temporal power has never the less been a bit of an ark – carrying the precious teachings of Jesus through the centuries. In the right hands Trinitarianism has the possibility for expansive and great thinking. In the wrong hands it can be an instrument to undermine and to limit the understanding of God to church authority rather than the people of God and to Jesus the Christ. It can lead to an idea that the church owns God.


The Mysterious character of God is a constant source of joy and wonder and fear not, you are probably closer to an understanding of the Trinity if you find it baffling or irrelevant than if you believe you  feel certain that you have God pegged.




Music suggestions


Trinity Sunday

7 June 2020


Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

FIRST READING (click to expand)

Isaiah 40:12-17. 27-end

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or as his counsellor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burntoffering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

PSALM (click to expand)

Psalm 8

R O Lord our governor,
how glorious is your name in all the world!

Your majesty above the heavens is praised
out of the mouths of babes at the breast.
You have founded a stronghold against your foes,
that you might still the enemy and the avenger. R

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have ordained,
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them;
mere human beings, that you should seek them out? R

You have made them little lower than the angels
and crown them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of their hands
and put all things under their feet, R

All sheep and oxen,
even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea
and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea. R

SECOND READING (click to expand)

2 Corinthians 13:11-end

A reading from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

Matthew 28:16-20

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


Almighty and eternal God,
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:
hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all your ways
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
who are three Persons yet one God,
now and for ever.

Trinity Sunday Homily


Let us pray to the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit,

through Jesus, the Son.

We bring before you, O God, the needs of the Church, in its weakness and its potential; we pray for that day when churches will be open for worship again, and thank you that we have discovered new ways of being together in these last months.

Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, revive and refresh us, teach us and guide us, and uphold all who suffer for their faith in any way.

Holy God: help us to know you more

We bring before you, O God, the needs of the world; for peace and harmony in places of discord and violence. May the world’s leaders seek not personal power but public good, and conflicts be faced honestly. We pray for the building up of communities and economies as the world strives for normality again. May the weak, the poor and vulnerable be protected, as decisions about the future are made

Holy God: help us to know you more

We bring before you, O God, all engaged in public service; in health care; in education; in provision of essential services; in shops and business. We remember paramedics working today and all attending to people in their homes. Protect them from risk of infection. Keep all the people of this parish safe, and mindful of the need to be careful where they go and whom they meet.

Holy God: help us to know you more

We bring before you , O God, those who feel fragmented; and for those forced to live apart from loved ones. We pray for the ill and those who care for them; the unhappy and those who comfort them, and all who have no-one to turn to. Help us to be ministers of compassion and healing wherever we can.

Holy God: help us to know you more

We bring before you, O God, the departed and those who mourn for them. We give thanks for Dalia’s life, and pray for John, Thomas and Catherine.  May the dead rise to new and eternal life, and the bereaved find comfort in the truth of the resurrection.

Holy God: help us to know you more

We bring before you, O God, all that we are, and pour out to you our praise and wonder at the hidden mysterious holiness of your Being, so full of glory and love.

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen


A prayer on Trinity Sunday

O God the Father, we thank you that you have made all things, and have made them well, that you have given to us all things richly to enjoy. For the beauty and the bounty of this earth, we thank you, Father. Forgive us if, in pride and selfishness and in anger, we have misused your gifts and have used for death that which was meant for life.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of our Father, we thank you for your redeeming power. You love us and we see your love shown most clearly on the cross where you gave of your life to conquer death and to make well the brokenness of the universe. We thank you, Son of God, for loving us with a never-ending love. Forgive us if we have treated your love lightly, as a little thing, and if we have shown little love in return.

O Holy Spirit of God, we thank you that you are with us at all times and in all places. We thank you for the guidance and knowledge which you give to us, for your continual upholding, strengthening and protecting power. We thank you that you are with us, Spirit of God. Forgive us if we have been reluctant to walk with you or draw strength from you.
May the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Three in One and One in Three be on us now and stay with each one of us, always. Amen


Extract from the poem Trinity by Dave Hopwood

In the beginning,
when all was not as it is now;
in the darkness,
when light was just a twinkle in the Creator’s eye;
in the past,
when history was waiting to be born;
a new day dawned.

A day when the Creator shaped the universe
by the power of his living Word,
and the breath of his life-giving Spirit
He spoke and called forth life,
he breathed and his spirit hovered over the waters,
he took dust and formed the foundations.
Creator, Word, Spirit.

The Holy Community,
working, living, being as one,
harmonised in love and purpose,
shaping, forming, gifting light and life.
Before time, throughout time, when time has run its course.
Days without number, life without end.
Love without limit.

Three and one, above us, beyond us, beside us, within
Mysterious and majestic…



In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.

By Malcolm Guite

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