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The Still Point
A Time of Meditation and Reflection
First Sunday after Pentecost:
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.
Praise to you, God, for all your work among us. Yours is the vigor in creation, yours is the impulse in our new discoveries. Make us adventurous, yet reverent and hopeful in all we do. Amen.
The Gospel Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Poem: “Trinity Sunday” by Malcolm Guite (b. 1957) (from Sounding the Seasons)
In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time,
In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,
In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,
And makes us each the other’s inspiration.
He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,
To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,
Three notes resounding from a single tone,
To sing the End in whom we all begin;
Our God beyond, beside us and within.
To say the least, the concept of Trinity can be elusive and hard to grasp — an abstract doctrine full of paradox and puzzle. Once the mind seems to hold the idea for a moment, it quickly slips away! But what if the Trinity is actually one of the most personal and intimate aspects of our faith, one to be comprehended more by the heart than the head?
In the book Mysteries of Faith, Mark McIntosh suggests that by simply by stating that God is Love, “we come to understand that God is God through relationship: the communion of Lover, Beloved, and Enrapture.” And that we are called and drawn into this communion: “God has chosen not to be God without us. We have been invited…to become participants ourselves in the divine relationship, the Trinity.”
The poem by Malcolm Guite seems to delight in both cosmic and intimate aspects of the Trinity, using vivid images of poetry, music, and dance. The sonnet begins by imagining creation before time and space but concludes with an image of close relationship — God is not only beyond, but also beside and within us.
Questions for Reflection
- What have your experiences of Trinity? Do you find you approach it with head or heart, or some combination of the two?
- In addition to the traditional ones, there are several words used for the three persons of the Trinity, such as “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.” In the context of God as Love, the writer referenced above used “Lover, Beloved, and Enrapture.” Which words are meaningful for you and give you new insights? (You may wish to create your own!)
- The poem refers to inspiration and musical improvisation. Do these words resonate for you? Improvisation suggests spontaneity and creating something new in the moment. How might this be a part of our relationship with God, and with each other in community?
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.
Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen.
Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.
Reflections this month offered by: Frank Nowell