Contemporary Scripture Reflections for Spiritual Seekers
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, BCC, PCC
SUNDAY BIBLETALK
May 30th, 2021
FEAST of THE HOLY TRINITY

Excerpt from
Jesus the Holy Fool

Once, when I was a guest at a Unitarian church, the presiding minister gave a sermon on "the absurd arithmetic of the Trinity." Perhaps he thought he was impressing his audience with his iconoclasm; perhaps his efforts at being witty camouflaged his inability to say anything of theological substance. At any rate, as he joked about the "nonsensical concept of Three in One and One in Three," it was clear to me that in attacking this "absurd arithmetic," in ridiculing the Three-ness of God, he was directly attacking the core of Christianity.

In the early church, candidates for baptism were taught creeds not as as test of orthodoxy but as "summaries of faith." The creeds varied in wording according to their place of origin; however, they agreed in content, for all made statements about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They did not explicitly mention the word "Trinity," but they told the Christian story -- a story with Three Protagonists who reveal something about who God is and what God has done. It is a story filled with absurdity, one that demonstrates how the very Power of God was willing to humble itself and become vulnerable for the sake of wayward humankind; it is only in this respect that Trinitarian arithmetic can be said to be absurd.



QUESTIONS
FOR REFLECTION

  • In what ways do you relate to the Holy Trinity?

  • On what occasions are you more likely to pray to God as "Father, Son and Spirit"?

  • What does it mean to live in this world as a spiritual being?

  • Are there any limitations in your life right now that are holding you back from living in the fullness of God's Presence?





Greetings, SBT Readers!
The scholar Mircea Eliade once wrote, "The dead are those who have lost their memories." To find the exact passage, I would have to thumb through several volumes of his work, scanning the underlined passages; however, it's enough to say that these "dead" are the ones who have yet to learn either the lessons of history or the lessons of their own stories. We keep events alive so as to be "re-membered," that is, made whole. Our fragmented selves find this wholeness through reflection and ritual action. We make present the events of the past through memory, so as to stay connected to each other and to those who have gone before us-- hence the importance of national holidays like Memorial Day. Merchants have hijacked this day for commercial gain, but the real meaning of Memorial Day is to remember the fallen ones who sacrificed everything for the sake of their country. The best way we can honor them is to pause, reflect and say, "Never again!" -- to say "NO!" to all those forces of hatred, division, greed, and injustice that are at the root of all wars.

Many Blessings!
Elizabeth

PS Please note my new address at the bottom of this e-letter!

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are led by the Spirit of God
are sons and daughters of God. For you
did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall
back into fear, but you received a Spirit of
adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God, and if children, then
heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him so that we may also be
glorified with him.
Rom 8:14-17

Fear is the antithesis of love; slavery is the opposite of freedom; and "living small" contradicts what God desires for each of us. Sadly, there are many people who, enslaved by every kind of fear imaginable, never find that fullness of life that awaits us. Instead, they cling to old, outmoded ways of thinking and being, defining themselves by what they do and what they own, by whom they know, and what they have achieved. Of course, they have no idea as to what their true destiny is. Instead, they continue to repeat the old patterns of behavior because they cannot imagine anything different; to them, what is most important is staying in control and avoiding losses of any kind. Whether they are narcissists with inflated egos or timid, self-effacing people-pleasers, they cannot see beyond their illusory world. For some, life is a pleasure palace that teases and tantalizes all the senses but never satisfies. The more one has, the more one wants, and with each acquisition come more craving, more disappointment, more frustration, more heartache. For others, life is a desert, devoid of sustenance and hope, filled only with snakes, scorpions, and heaps of whitened bones. They see only scarcity and want, unable to believe in possibility, incapable of asking for manna...

Change will only happen when we allow the Spirit to break through our boundaries and barriers, our limitations and defense mechanisms. As St. Paul reminds us, it is the Spirit who leads us out of slavery and into the liberation of the Divine embrace where we know ourselves to be sons and daughters of a loving God. In that awareness, everything changes. We discover that our true nature is to participate in the life of the Creator, Sanctifier, and Redeemer. Like St. Dominic, we discover that everything we imagined was important, was only "straw," that the goals for which we strived so hard were often nothing more than detours and distractions, leading us away from our true destiny as "heirs with Christ."

The Trinity is no mere theological abstraction but Love itself that flows in us and through us and around us, beckoning us to leave behind all that ties us down or prevents us from living as spiritual beings. This Love is always creating and re-creating, leading and guiding, inspiring and sanctifying, companioning and encouraging. It warms our hearts and activates our minds; it sets us on fire with the desire to live in union with the Holy One; it sends us forth to share the Good News with the whole world, to awaken those who are spiritually asleep, and to live in the joy of the Risen Christ. Trinitarian Love is God's way of encountering us, transforming us, raising us up, and claiming us as Beloved-- not as a monolithic God but as fluid Being that enters into our lives, inviting us to become what we were created to be!

RESOURCES

Check out my Resiliency Assessment Tool on the home page of my new website: https://www.embracingpossibility.com

Try my Spiritual Self-Assessment Tool! After you take the Quiz, you will auto-matically receive a computer-generated analysis of your strengths and "growing edges." https://assess.coach/eastewart/

Please note that I offer Writing Coaching/ Editing, in addition to Life Coaching, Spiritual Direction, and Retreats.
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION AND LIFE COACHING BY PHONE OR ZOOM
This video explains my approach to this ministry, while my website provides further details as well. During COVID-19, sessions are by phone or on Zoom; I am also available to facilitate "virtual" retreats for groups and individuals.
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart | www.elizabeth-annestewart.com | e.a.stewart@sbcglobal.net

C. All Photos by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, www.artfulphotographer.com