Saturday, June 14, 2014
The Love who is
Love is. Love speaks. Loves breathes ... and draws us home.
This is the message of this Holy Trinity Sunday. We name God as Father, the Eternal Love who is the Source of all that is. We name God as Son, the voice of the One who is Love speaking in time and space. We name God as Holy Spirit, the breath of Love that flows in every time and place to draw us home to God.
In the early centuries of the church, St. Augustine labored 15 years to explain this doctrine in his great work, On the Holy Trinity. And he tripped over himself badly as he tried to express his thoughts.
Now, it is my turn to trip. But I will start with something close to our experience.
When was the last time you looked at the night sky? It is hard to do. There is too much light where many of us live. It gets in the way of seeing the dusty white of the Milky Way sprinkled from one horizon to the other.
Apps on our smart phones can help us identify stars and planets we can see from our patios. But it is not as good as leaning back, lying in the grass and drinking it all in. There were so many summer nights as a boy when I had nothing better to do than this, also times when I could watch the northern lights put on a shimmering show until I no longer keep my eyes open.
It is wonderful to see and so feel small and yet so graced to behold such a staggering universe, gorgeous and unimaginable.
When we look at the heavens or a delicate flower, a leaf, or a single blade of grass, we might discover we are sisters and brothers of the Psalmist, who looked at the heavens in wonder and praised God for being a human soul who could drink it all in and give thanks.
The wonder that moved the Psalmist is deeper for us today. We know: All we see in the night sky is a tiny drop in a cosmic ocean. There are billions of galaxies bigger than our Milky Way. Each of those galaxies has billions of stars, most of them hundreds and thousands of times larger than our sun.
Our physicists tell us that the universe is finely tuned for life to appear: 14.7 billion years ago the universe exploded into existence. We call it the Big Bang. Had the speed of matter racing away from that explosion been one trillionth of a second faster, it would have been moving too fast to come together to form moons, planets and suns … and life.
Had it been racing one trillionth of a second slower, gravity would have drawn it back into a big crunch, and the universe would have been an undifferentiated mass …with no living thing, no greening of leaves, no brilliant flowers, no laughter of children, no flesh to touch, no eyes to see, no hearts that love.
At the foundation of our Christian faith, there is a crazy, wonderful, audacious and beautiful affirmation. It is this: Love … an unimaginable, uncreated Love is the mysterious Source of all that is … of the immense cosmos in which we live.
This originating Love speaks in creation but most particularly in Jesus. We call Jesus, the Christ, because he is the voice of the Love who is the Source of all that is.
When we see Jesus joy, making wine at the wedding feast at Cana, we hear the voice of God inviting us to celebrate the marriage of heaven with earth.
When we imagine Jesus sharing meals with his friends, we hear the joy of God blessing human community.
When he read of his anger at hypocrisy and hatred, injustice and blindness, we hear the voice of God’s anger directing us to do justice.
When Jesus invited children near so he could touch and bless them we hear voice of God inviting us to come close to be touched and blessed.
When Jesus told the rich man to sell what he had and give it to the poor, the voice of God warns us from loving what we have—or what we want—so much … that we poison our souls.
Jesus stories about seeds growing in the earth, about fathers waiting for wayward children to return home are God’s voice telling us about the Love who longs to grow in us, and about God’s arms always open, waiting for us to come home.
And when extends his arms on the cross, he speaks with God’s voice telling us that all we are is embraced, welcomed and transformed by the Love who reuses to let us go.
God is the Love who speaks … and breathes in all of life … even our patios.
On recent summer days, I sat on several patios, swapping stories, eating too much, laughing a lot and feeling the goodness of being human. Each was a time of communion … holy communion, sharing memories, hopes and mutual support.
Each time a river of peace flowed across the patio, making us a little community, drawn together in mutual love and care. It happened because the Spirit of God is the breath and energy of Love creating true community to renew and refresh us and make us more alive and beautiful.
It happens because Love is, Love speaks. Love breathes and draws us home even when we are not looking for it.
Pr. David L. Miller