Names

Reflection on Trinity Sunday, Year A

 

 

Text focus: Matthew 28:16-20
Click here for link to texts

 

I baptize you—yes you,
who wants or whom others want
to be a disciple of Christ
or at least a member
of this church or other Christian body
or to be called a baptized Christian
when appropriate—
In the Name of the Creator
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

There’s that Trinity thing
again, pastor says it
at the weekly benediction
as well as at the end
of heavy-duty prayers;
it must be important,
it even has its own Sunday,
but does any mortal
really grasp what early fathers
of holy church
had in mind when they made belief
in Trinitarianism
a test of faith?

Or was it meant only to be a mark
of faith, an enigma
bound in mystery so securely
that we can only repeat over and over:
Creator—okay some still say Father—
Son and Holy Spirit (does anyone
still say Ghost?)—so we know
and we hope God knows too
we are speaking of the Holy Parent
Jesus knew, lived, and taught,
he part of the Trio
dancing across eternity
cajoling us on to the dance floor too
wanting us to hear the heavenly beat,
do more than tap our toes and hum along,
get up, join the romp of living
up and down and around
with history’s most famous gospel rock group
God Son Spirit
except they are not playing in history;
their greatest hits, new releases,
available now wherever we are
whomever we are, whomever we love,
whatever our ancestry—indeed as Meister Eckhart
of blessed memory said long ago,
Creator/Parent laughed,
and the Son was born,
then the two of them laughed
and the Spirit was born.
When all three laughed,
the human one was born.

Whether we understand or not
—its all in the family, each one of us
making a fourth
not for bridge but for life.
 

About this poem . . . Most preachers dread Trinity Sunday. How to engage people in a discussion of a declaration that God is in three persons and yet only one–that is the challenge. I have long enjoyed the idea of these three, the Trio, dancing and getting us to dance. Maybe if we could all get on the dance floor together we would not have to understand the theory, just enjoy the dance.
©Robin Gorsline 2017 FaithfulPoetics.

You Go First

Reflection on the 7th Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

 

Textual focus: Leviticus 19:9-18; 1 Corinthians 3:18-19; Matthew 5:38-48
Click here for biblical texts

 

Give to everyone who begs from you,
Jesus says that, oh yes he does, and more, too:
Turn the other cheek, give up your cloak,
do not refuse anyone, anyone,
who wants to borrow from you.
How can we keep the economy going
with talk like that? And what about the beggars,
what if they use my money to buy booze?
What good is that?
Respond to being forced to go one mile
by going the second mile—what if I don’t have time
to go that far?
Don’t resist an evildoer, love your enemies,
pray for your persecutors:
How can we live in the world today
with attitudes like that? Does he even know, or care,
about ISIS and our opponents from the other party?

The world is a tough place; you’d think Jesus
would know that, given how Rome treated
the Jews, how Herod killed cousin John.
Sometimes, I think Jesus lives in another world.

Oh, right, he does.
And he keeps trying to get me to join him there,
except for him the there is here, now. 

This didn’t start with him either, he knows
Leviticus: leave the gleanings of fields
and vineyards for those in need
(remember Ruth?), no defrauding your neighbor,
no keeping wages of others, no false swearing,
no slander, no unjust judgments;
you shall love your neighbor as yourself
(yes, Jesus was repeating Leviticus).

So why is it so hard for me, maybe you, too,
to go where Jesus goes, to be one
of the people of the Way—some of his
early followers were called that—to live
with open heart and open hand,
to speak in love even to those
whose ugly words and deeds
cause me to shudder and rise in anger
to say No? Can I do both? Can I say no
and also say I love you? Why not?
Is not all possible with God?

Paul told Corinthians the wisdom
of this world is foolishness with God;
so, he said, become fools
that you may become wise.

So let us dance in the street
when there is no music
except the tapping of our souls,
let us toss coins in the air
and take beggars to lunch,
let us hug the racists and the thugs,
let us find men and women in need of coats
and strip ours off our backs,
and do all generous, foolish things that
will cause authorities,
and our families and churches,
to question our sanity,
believing, knowing(?), that is where and when
we will find Jesus.

You go first, I’ll follow.

 

 

writing+poetryAbout this poem: As faithful people we really do love Jesus, want to serve God, but it can be very difficult when what we encounter in Scripture demands a whole different way of living, not just a way of life, but actual behavior changes in everyday life. The texts in this week’s lectionary really challenge me, and I imagine others, and frankly I am uncertain how to proceed. If I do as they instruct, it seems I shall soon be a pauper, probably begging myself. Can that be right? Maybe, if we all did it together…….would that work better? Is that what the writer of Leviticus, Paul, and Jesus are talking about?
©Robin Gorsline 2017 FaithfulPoetics.net

Endless Dance

Reflection on Trinity Sunday, Year C
(click here for biblical texts)

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Ghost).
This the formula by which all things holy are done in Christian contexts.
But what does it mean? Does anyone really know?
Trinity Sunday—first after the Day of Pentecost–is intended
by liturgical planners to help us understand the ancient doctrine
containing all the power of our faith.
But what kind of power is it?
A cleric intones the words, all respond Amen, seeming to say
the deed, whatever it is, is now done.

But what if the Trinity is not done, what if instead
of finality it is just the beginning?  What if that Blessed three-sided
family is always on the move in a dance of divine proportions,
touching, engaging each other and all living beings in an endless
do-si-do, moving themselves and us to embrace and part over
and over to create new life, new meaning, without end?

trinity theologybyheart com
theologybyheart.com

And more, why does it have to be Father, white Father with white beard
at that? If the Creator is old why is he, or she, not black—the first
humans were Black in Africa, and their parent surely could be, should be
it seems to me, the same. And why not mother, does not a woman
give birth to all life of all sorts? Holy Mother God, an ample bosomed
Parent in whose loins all are birthed and at whose breasts all are suckled!
But more than a birthing, nursing machine, She sets the beat
of the dance, teaches the steps, commissions her two cohorts
to go forth to touch, empower, raise up, renew all life .

And they, Blessed Son and Holy Spirit, eager always to engage life,
on the move, being fed and taught by Mother, bring fierce truth
and energy everywhere whether invited or not, even as
they know rejection and avoidance from all at least some of the time.
But they do not stop, when dismissed or slain they do not truly leave
or die but await a new opening to heal the breach and recreate
the love of life they carried and taught the first time, indeed
every time, world without end.

Blessed Son is male, with penis and all that signs maleness,
going forth among us from time immemorial to teach and counsel and lead,
daring to be what no man before or since has been or will be.

Could then Holy Blessed Spirit be some of both, Mother and Son, transcending,
indeed expanding, preciously paltry ideas of gender?
So that where She/He goes we are impregnated and birthed
at the same time, to join the endless dance, the do-si-do
of eternal creation, growing, when we listen to the divine beat,
in spiritual strength, claiming our holy origins,
unafraid to be really alive from the soul out to
pulsing fingertips and toes, whirring brain
energy seeking not stasis but vibration that moves
all life to be in relation with Holy Mother God
and all She creates and nurtures.

In the Name of the Mother, Blessed Son, and Holy Spirit,
may it be so, and more, may we not miss the dance!

 
©Robin Gorsline 2016 faithfulpoetics.net
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form
writing+poetryAbout this poem . . .The Trinity seems to most of us a mystery explaining a mystery. And sermons seeking to explain it can become pedantic, especially if they are consumed with the need to defend that which really needs no defense. Doctrine rarely makes good homiletics, or indeed poetry. I am indebted to a somewhat mediocre yet strangely powerful work of fiction, The Shack, by William Paul Young, for sharing a glimmer I have long had of these three-in-one moving, alive, laughing, living to the fullest in all directions, dancing because there is no tomorrow, only always today.