From the terrace, I can see the work of your fingers: the constellation Perseus, his sword, trailing the sea, fixed against the sky. The masterwork of light which lingers on the surface of the sea transfixes me.
The nightfall has blurred the place where your fingers bind ocean to air. Stepping off the dock, I shiver against the water, unmindful of my face, hushed and pale and unaware. And, who am I—quivering—
that you would give me heed? A moon-jelly ribboning beneath my feet glows faint like a ghost, its green light tangled in the weeds.
Each year when Trinity Sunday rolls around, ushering us into the
season of the year known as Ordinary Time, my memory travels back to a
Trinity Sunday many years ago. It was my last Sunday living in Atlanta,
where I had gone to seminary and was now finishing a bonus year spent
working on my first book and lingering with the seminary community.
How to comprehend the Holy Trinity? Reflecting on her woodblock and linoleum print, Holly Meade writes, "Well, there is no comprehending the Holy Trinity. And picturing the Holy Trinity? That's not to be either. On the other hand, we've all been given imagination, and a sense of wonder and play. And so here they are, as colorful, holy personalities compelled forward on our behalf—lovely, watchful, tireless." Best known for illustrating children's books (she was awarded a Caldecott Honor), Meade has recently turned to printmaking. "Printing with woodblocks is a somewhat indirect path to take to arrive at an image. In spite of this, it frequently results in images of great immediacy." This indirect path and great immediacy meet in Holy Trinity, which unites artistic medium and an energetic sense of spirit, presence, being and the personhood of God.
In my Living By the Word
column on this week’s readings, I comment on Paul’s readiness to boast
of suffering, because it “produces endurance, and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope. . . .” Suffering is a signal
doorway through which the Holy Spirit enters our lives.
Not surprisingly, given that they are selected for Trinity Sunday, today’s texts point to God-in-three. The good news is that the juxtapositions seem organic, a legitimate highlighting of multiple aspects of the divine.