Trinity Sunday speaks of unity in diversity
The who and what of God
Reflecting on life in lockdown and the shocking death of George Floyd, Rev Mark Broadway, Parish of Coity, Nolton and Brackla, reflects on the message of unity in diversity this Trinity Sunday.
I wonder if I am alone in having, occasionally, caught myself enjoying aspects of Lockdown Life?
Certainly, I haven't enjoyed it all.
I've missed friends and family, and I have been frustrated by the seemingly endless curtailing of personal liberty. But, I have enjoyed the slower pace of life and the opportunity to reflect, which the lockdown has afforded.
Opportunities to reflect on two great questions: who am I, and what is going on around me.
These two questions have played themselves out, writ large in the riots we have seen on the news following the tragic killing of George Floyd. Each of us, if we look with open eyes, will find that when we ask these questions of ourselves, we discover things that unify and things that divide. Indeed, many of us, when we take these two questions seriously, realise that 'who we are' is broken, in one way or another, and 'what is going on around us' is hard to digest, and painful to observe.
This brokenness, this pain, has its roots in what Christians call sin. Sin has its roots in the human failure to live according to the image of God which is held within all of us.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Who, and What, are vital questions. In our search for ultimate meaning we find that we must ask them not only of ourselves, but also of God.
This coming Sunday - which I believe will be the eleventh Sunday of Coronatide - is Trinity Sunday, where we explore something of the who and the what of God.
When asking "what is God" we encounter a unity of simplicity, a unity of love. As St John writes, "God is love."
There is so much to be learned from reflection on the oneness of God, as we find it expressed in the Bible, the unity we see, and the absence of "body, parts, or passions" as Article One of the 39 articles puts it.
How might we learn to live a life which better demonstrates the image of God, insofar as God is one?
However, as we change the question and ask "who is God", we change our angle of enquiry and see the divine from a new perspective. Here, as we focus on the "who" of God, we encounter "three persons, of one substance, power and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" - as Article One continues.
Crucially, this does not say that God simply reveals himself in three different ways. No, we proclaim that the "who" of God *is* Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
It is this true distinction of persons which makes the unity of the Trinity so powerful and so beautiful. Real personal difference, real substantive unity. As the ancient creed, the Quicunque Vult, appointed to be read this Sunday, puts it:
The Catholick Faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.Quicunque Vult
Unity not uniformity
As, in the power of the Spirit, we do the work of bearing the image of God, in his unity and his diversity, what might our communities look like? Could we continue the work of basing our relationships on this idea of unity in diversity; respecting the personal distinctions and diversity that exists between us, without dividing the body of humanity?
As lockdown begins to inch towards an easing here in Wales, I hope that new opportunities present themselves to make time for reflection on who I am, and what is going on around me.
I hope that I begin to see that unity in diversity which is true of God become true of our society.Rev Mark Broadway