Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ah, Trinity Sunday

Back in 1997 while on a solo sabbatical journey to the San Francisco area, I happened to be at Grace Episcopal Cathedral on the day of Pentecost (it also happened to be my birthday that year). During the announcements that day, Alan Jones, the then Dean of the cathedral, said (in his wry, British-accented kind of way) something about the fact that next Sunday was Trinity Sunday, "when everything you've ever wanted to know about the mysterious doctrine of the Holy Trinity will be revealed."

I loved him on the spot. There he was in a classily humorous kind of way poking slight fun at this somewhat . . . how shall I say? . . .arcane Christian doctrine about "God in three persons," "trinity of persons and unity of substance," and such. Not the kind of thing that readily impacts most people in their daily lives of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with their God. Nor probably the trigger of the kinds of questions that keep many people awake at night, except maybe clergy who have to think up something to say on the topic.

Over the years in parish ministry, Trinity Sunday often seemed like a very good day for things like: having a guest preacher, holding "youth Sunday" and letting the youth themselves do the sermon, or some other variation on not having to speak meaningfully and compellingly about the Trinity. Not that that scheme always worked, but at least some years it did. 

If you follow David's blog you know that he is working on a sermon today to be preached tomorrow at one of Maine's Episcopal summer chapels, where he will also celebrate the Eucharist. He was a little slow calling back the summer chapel "supply scout" and when he did, he found that nearly all the summer Sundays had been spoken for, leaving only the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend and June 7.

Neither of us thought much about the date of June 7 as having any significance that would explain it's being one of the last chosen. Until, that is, we were counting Sundays forward from Easter and it suddenly dawned on me that it would be Trinity Sunday. I thought it was hilarious that it was one of that last days chosen, an unwanted orphan on the liturgical calendar. David was not quite as amused. And now, bless his heart and mind, he is working hard on a sermon. 

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