John 16:12-15; Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Grace and peace be unto you from God who is our Creator and from Jesus Christ who is our Savior and our Friend. Amen.
One Wednesday morning a couple years ago, the preschoolers came charging into the church as usual and sat down in the front of the sanctuary steps for their weekly chapel service.
Before I had a chance to get things started, one of the children was determined to tell me about how he had thrown up the night before. And this immediately sparked interest in the group.
Hand after hand shot into the air and little voices exclaimed, with great excitement, “I threw up. I threw up.” So I decided to go with it! I invited them to tell me all about it. Where had it happened, what color was it, who did the clean up, etc.
Then I said, “What’s the best place to throw up?” And one little girl said, “the trash can!” And I said, well, that’s a good place, but it’s not the best. And the same little girl said, “A bowl,” and I said, that’s a very good place, but the best place is the toilet! First toilet, then a bowl, then a trash can. And so on.
This was chapel, however, and I kept reminding them throughout that their bodies are AMAZING. If we have something yucky in our tummies and it’s making us feel sick, then we barf it out, and we feel better.
And we say, thank you God, for making our bodies AMAZING. And we also say thank you to the ones who clean it up, usually our mommies and daddies.
It was a delightful conversation and I’ll tell you why. First, everyone was engaged. Every child present could relate to the topic through personal experience. And second, by seeing how amazing God’s creation is, that is, our bodies, we were able to see how amazing God is.
The children, ages 3 to 5, gained an understanding of God’s wondrous creativity and care for us, by making the connection that when something in our tummies is yucky and making us sick, our bodies know what to do. We barf it out. Amazing.
What does this have to do with the Trinity? This Trinity Sunday we are encountering one of the most amazing and delightful mysteries of our faith, that God is one God and yet three persons; that God is simultaneously three distinct persons, yet in no way divided and truly one.
Let’s see if we can connect the wonder of who we are as God’s creation with the wonder of who God is as Trinity, like the kids did in chapel.
In Proverbs chapter 8 we meet Woman Wisdom. In many Hebrew texts God’s wisdom is personified as a woman, and she is a mediator or mediatrix, to use the feminine, of God’s presence. In other words, through her, something of God comes to us.
In the gospel for today from John, Jesus says that the Spirit of truth will declare to us what Jesus has to say, which Jesus received, from the Father. That’s Trinitarian. Father to Son to Spirit. And we want to know more. What is this Trinitarian God like?
How wonderful it is to look at this ancient text, the Book of Proverbs, and see the writer’s awareness that the God of all creation is not simple but complex. This God cannot be fully described with a few images. This God has an incredibly rich and beautiful and loving and creative inner life, and this inner life overflows in all of God’s works.
In our text for this morning Woman Wisdom calls to us. “Listen,” she says, “I have something to tell you and you need to hear it.” Then she testifies that she herself was the first of all creation, and she and God together created the rest of the world. Listen to the poetry of Proverbs.
God created me at the beginning of God’s work, the first of God’s acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth…When God established the heavens, I was there, when God drew a circle on the face of the deep, when God made firm the skies above, when God established the fountains of the deep…then I was beside God, like a master worker; and I was daily God’s delight, rejoicing before God always, rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race.
A master worker. Daily God’s delight. Rejoicing before God always, rejoicing in the inhabited world, and delighting in the human race. Let’s imagine it.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the deep.” Genesis 1:1. What was that wind? God’s breath? God’s Spirit? Holy Wisdom in her earliest form? Yes?
Then God said, let there be light, and there was light. And so it began. From formless void and chaos, the order of creation. From nothing, something, and wasn’t that something something?
According to Genesis God kept stopping to wipe God’s hands on the divine smock, the artist’s apron, and comment on God’s work. Imagine that smock! Smeared and spotted with all the colors of creation, blue and green and gold, and with the elements of creation, dirt and salt and rain and snow and heat and light.
God wiped God’s hands and turned to Woman Wisdom to the Wind to Holy Spirit, and said, “Isn’t that something? It’s amazing. I’m calling it good.” And Wisdom said, “It’s downright delightful.”
“Then I was beside God, like a master worker, and I was daily God’s delight, rejoicing before God always, rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” Proverbs 8.
The world and the human race are delightful in the eyes of our three in one God, our God who had some company when God created, and that company was God. God finds you delightful, you whom God created good, in all your color and variety, in all your largeness and smallness, in all your many interests and abilities and obsessions.
(first image) A human father looks at his child and is filled with pride and a love he hadn’t experienced before, and says, “Baby, you’re amazing and you’re my baby. I’ll always be your Father.” How much more so does God our Father/God our Creator say the same to us?
God delights in your bravery. In how, despite your astonishing vulnerability, despite the limitations of your body and in the reality of the hand life has dealt you, you get up in the morning and you are kind. And you are funny. And you are grateful. And you are generous. (Second image) God and Wisdom stand back and say, “Whoa. That’s some creature we made. She is delightful. He is amazing.”
This observation, this knowing one another, is circular. When we see the complexity and the glory and beauty of creation, and that includes us, we see something of the creator. And the creator who is indeed creative and loving and beautiful and brave has made us in the creator’s image. So we see that we are complex and beautiful and creative.
God did not create all on God’s own – God had a little help… from God. That’s Trinity. We don’t have to fully understand it in order to love it, to say, how cool is that? And to understand that we were never meant to make it on our own. God had some company. God had a little help. We need the same.
You and I. Amazing. Bodies that know what to do when something yucky is in there. Barf it out. Incredible. You and I. Creative. Resilient. Brave. How marvelous is the complexity and creativity of our God and how astonishing that we are created in that image?
Yes, there’s a lot out there (and in here) that isn’t delightful. There’s a lot out there (and in here) that’s painful and crazy. Things and people hurt us, and we hurt the earth and each other. This isn’t Eden, that’s for sure.
But we’re not as far from Eden as we might imagine, because the Spirit of Truth has been sent to us to erase the distance, and Jesus and Creator God are with us always through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. That’s Trinity.
Remember it. Paint it on a canvas in your mind and hold on to this image. God and God in the form of Woman Wisdom, standing back and looking at you. And what do they see? Someone created in the very image of God. Someone amazing in complexity and creativity, beauty and bravery, in resilience and in kindness. And God delights in you. Amen.