Saturday, June 10, 2017

2017 06 11 Gospel Text for Trinity Sunday, 11 June 2017

Matthew 28:16-20        The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Reflection      A Gift of  Love poured out, love received. This is the dance, perichoresis, the eternal movement or aliveness of the Three Persons of the Trinity. God pours God’s self out to be incarnate in the Son revealing to us that God is both transcendent and immanent, which is to say, God is both beyond all things and within all things.  By this same interpenetrating love, Jesus pours himself out, gives himself away to everyone he encounters. And then, to insure the continuation of the dance, the Holy Spirit breathes in each of us so that we too can pour ourselves out for the good of others and take our place in the divine dance of the Trinity.

Last week eleven members of Church of the Apostles accepted an invitation to join our Muslim sisters and brothers breaking their Ramadan fast with an iftar meal. I believe our Muslim sisters' and brothers' hospitality and our apostles' experiences exemplify what it means to pour ourselves out and take our place in the divine dance of the Trinity.

Our Muslim sisters and brothers warmly welcomed us to a carefully planned and lovingly prepared meal, shared their call to prayer and explained the blessings of the Ramadan fast. In other words, they poured out love to us. Each one of us was moved by our new friends' grace and generosity. Later one of the apostles meekly admitted, “I have been afraid of Muslims and never would have attended an iftar in the past. It has taken a lot of work to see my way clear of it,  so I told myself I should accept this invitation and face my fear. And then I sat at a table and met Muslim people who have the same cares, interests and desires as me. This has changed me. It has made me see everyone differently.” This is perichoresis, participating in the divine dance. 

Another wrote to me following the iftar meal,  “Now when I pray for my Muslim neighbors, they are more than a group; they are individuals with faces and stories and dreams.” And another, “ I got to know a family of five. We exchanged phone numbers and they are going to come to my home. I have to admit I had a fleeting thought “is this safe”?  The news has been so horrible lately.  The thought seems ridiculous when I remember the evening and the kind people.”” This is perichoresis, participating in the divine dance.

In the words of Jürgen Moltmann, “True human fellowship is to correspond to the triune God and be (God’s) image on earth…” (Holy Spirit, 60). We are meant to be the outward and visible sign of life shared in mutuality of love as exemplified by the Trinity. As we accepted the invitation to taste and see and be part of the iftar meal with our Muslim sisters and brothers, we participated in the aliveness and abundance of the Trinity.  A Gift of Love poured out. Love received. This is the norm for human relationships and beautifully revealed in the mystery of the Trinity. As God is so are we fundamentally relational. We are meant to taste and see and be in loving relationship with all people - no exceptions. 

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