I’m preaching today at the local Presbyterian church, which is in a time of transition and has invited various spiritual leaders in the community to take a turn in the pulpit. I’m grateful for the opportunity to preach today, because I have a natural “hook” to catch people’s attention.
You see, Henry and I have three wedding anniversaries—and thus three chances to celebrate. There have been some years when we’ve celebrated all three, and other years when we’ve been apart for one of those anniversaries, and have celebrated on another. There have also been times when two of them have fallen on the same day, but I don’t think they’ve ever all three fallen on the same day again. Have I confused you yet? Here are the three anniversaries: the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 29, and today: Trinity Sunday.
We call this our “liturgical anniversary.” Although we didn’t schedule our wedding with this in mind, it has become a beautiful connection for us: here we were, celebrating and deepening our commitment to this relationship, receiving God’s blessing upon it—through human hands and words—on a day in the festal church calendar that also celebrates a relationship.
In fact, Trinity Sunday is the only church feast that celebrates a relationship. There are feasts celebrating events in the life of Christ, like Christmas and Easter. There are feasts that celebrate the holy men and women who, throughout the past two millennia, have had an impact on the lives of the faithful. But this is the only feast that celebrates a relationship—the particular relationship between the three persons of the Trinity.
Over the years since our marriage, I’ve had lots of time to think about the importance of inviting the Trinity to guide our relationship. I’m not going to reproduce my entire sermon here (who knows, I might get to recycle it in another context, some other year!), but here is where I ended up.
So what does it mean to live by the Trinity? We are created to be social beings. God wants us to be in relationship—but not just any kind of relationship. We are more whole when we carry each other’s burdens willingly, voluntarily, through love, rather than because the rules and regulations tell us that we must. We are more whole when we lean on each other, learn from each other, grow alongside each other, depend on each other—in that positive sense where we each contribute to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Trinity is like that: a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Creator, Christ, Holy Spirit. Together, a mystery beyond our comprehension. There at our beginning, our ending, and every moment in between. Infusing our lives. Sometimes leading the way, other times seemingly absent, yet always present.
What relationships in your life are more than a sum of their parts?
What might it mean to view your personal relationships—such as marriage—through the lens of the Trinity, as you understand it?
Shirin, we celebrated our anniversary this weekend and I got to preach at the United Church of Angel Fire – much along the same lines as you, I imagine. Title of my sermon – “Its all about Relationship.”
How wonderful, Pat! Yes, it seems that we were thinking and praying along the same lines! Thank you for sharing this.