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Monday, June 12, 2017

DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY: "One of the greatest distortions about God is that God is a demanding, punishing, vengeful God that requires various sacrifices, including the death of human beings, and demands absolute obedience to revealed law, in order to love us." John+

The Density of Love
Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the church year dedicated to a doctrine. The Doctrine of the Trinity is not some cold, intellectual statement that we are forced to believe if we are Christian, but rather the best attempt to bring together an understanding of who the God who created heaven and earth really is. The reason it was important for the church to proclaim this doctrine is because of so many distorted notions of God that are about in the world since the beginning of time.

One of the greatest distortions about God is that God is a demanding, punishing, vengeful God that requires various sacrifices, including the death of human beings, and demands absolute obedience to revealed law, in order to love us. The study of comparative religions bears this out. Much of Christian history witnesses this distorted notion of God as well.

The Doctrine of the Trinity corrects this distortion by seeing God as loving the world from the beginning of Creation. The world and all its beauty was created for our enjoyment, sustenance, and discovery. Human beings are stewards of this Creation. When, as Eucharistic Prayer C states: “We betrayed your trust and we betrayed one another,” there was set in motion a loving plan for the Word, the Father’s only begotten Son, to show us another way to live and how to love one another. Jesus showed God’s love by dying on the Cross, not to make it possible for God to love a sinful humanity, for as St. Paul says in Romans “God loved us while we were still sinners,” but to manifest once and for all God’s love for every human being! And because it was not Jesus’ desire to set up a theocracy and rule on this earth, but to return to the Father, he fulfilled his promise to send the Holy Spirit, the love between the Father and Himself, to be with us forever. We are baptized into this loving relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is Love, Love, Love, and nothing but Love!

The distorted notion that God is a God of blessing and cursing is forever rejected by the Doctrine of the Trinity. The violence and cursing of God’s people by the Almighty is only and always human violence projected on God, sacred violence “willed” by God to defeat enemies. This is a distortion of God’s purpose. Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to defeat his executioners, but he didn’t. This is not the way of God. The Crucifixion is the meeting point of human violence and the love of God incarnate in Jesus. Like the densest elements on the Periodic Table, Osmium, Iridium, and Platinum, God’s love for us is extremely dense. God’s love is so dense that it admits of no other element except Love. Hatred, vengeance, and retribution can have no part in the density of God’s love shown to us in the Cross of Christ.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is to understand the truth about God’s love for us, its full extent and density. As it reveals the truth about God, it also reveals the truth of who we are as human beings. We are loved and created to live in love, coming to know, love, and serve God, to seek to achieve love’s density in our own lives, and one day to return to God to experience the beatific vision of this revealed mystery of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
Amen!
John+
St. Alban Mission
Antigua, Guatemala

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