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.
In my church we've been exploring the idea that God is fully present in each person of the Trinity. Recently our focus has been on the Holy Spirit. On Trinity Sunday, a week after Pentecost, it might be fruitful to consider the implications of this full presence of God in the Spirit.
My church was celebrating a reaffirmation of baptism, and the pastor encouraged us to ask people who were present at our baptism to tell us about it. I called my mom and asked what she remembered. "I don't think you were baptized," she said. "Really?" I responded. "Could you check with Dad? It's kind of important." She did, and they decided that I hadn't been baptized. I was 37.
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.
As a pastor in New York City, I've found myself challenged to think more deeply about “stuff." I've come to believe that the truth about what we too casually name “materialism” is not so simple. It ought to be clear, after all, that God doesn’t hate stuff. Witness the creation story. God invents stuff. At the end of each of six days, God engages in self-congratulation, pronouncing serial evening benedictions on the stuff created that day: “Good!”