"Come, Prince of Peace" Against the background of the recent politically meditative violence in KwaZulu-Natal,you are warmly invited to our annual Advent Celebration. Date: Tuesday 27 November 2012 Time: 5:30pm...
If we go through, slowly and carefully,
TODAY’S SECOND READING [ROMANS 5: 1 – 5] we should recognise a good Confession of Faith. I am particularly partial to these verses because they end with the words “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I have often wondered why it is that the central fact of God’s love is not mentioned in the officially approved Creeds?
Once, years ago, I mentioned this at a clergy meeting. The first response was: ‘because that should always be presumed.’ Well I never?! One of my basic ‘tags’ is that presumption is the mother of all screw-ups! In the immediate past reflections the dreadful Catholic obsession with guilt has been mentioned on a few occasions. Perhaps if we did not presume God’s love we might arrive at a clearer and surer faith in it, and guilt would not be so predominant in so many people’s lives.
“Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
I learnt that (by heart, nogal!) many, many, years ago. At a much later stage I happily began to learn about God’s love, was relieved when the ‘double’ my fault plus the added grievous was removed, and then horrified by its return (with the THREE beatings of the breast)! Oh dear! Perhaps we should learn, BY HEART, (and repeat it over and over again) the opening verse of the simple hymn – “My God loves me. His love will never end. He rests within my heart for my God loves me.”
He rests there because of the Holy Spirit. It is the same
Spirit who, as Jesus informs us in
TODAY’S GOSPEL READING [JOHN 16: 12 – 15] “will take what is mine and declare it to you.” Do not overlook that the Lord also tells us that this Spirit is the “Spirit of truth (who) will guide you into all the truth.” We need to know and believe, very clearly, that GOD IS LOVE! It is not so much a matter of God loving, but that he IS love! Faith, hope and love – and Paul reminds us elsewhere that “the greatest of these is love.” (see 1 Corinthians 13:13)
This is why
TODAY’S PSALM  is able to proclaim “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name through all the earth!” Is OUR God majestic because of his love or because he makes us feel guilty? Take your pick! Make your choice! However, before doing so see the closing words of our extract from ROMANS which proclaim that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
THE FIRST READING TODAY [PROVERBS 8: 22 – 31]
speaks of the Holy Spirit as “the Wisdom of God,” and then goes on to list, as it were, that as Spirit he (she?) was involved with The Father’s activities from the very beginning. Finally, the extract tells us of a Spirit who is “the master craftsman,” the One always “rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men.” Here in a nutshell is what the Holy Spirit, in Jesus words from the Gospel extract, declares to us. Now, how much rejoicing or delighting is possible within the living of anyone who is constantly feeling guilty?
At the same time, today especially, it is vital for us to note other words from the Gospel reading – “all that the Father has is mine.”
It does not need an advanced course in theology for us to discover within all three readings from today’s liturgy a powerful, moving and intimate description of the Christian God’s character and activity? These scriptures present us with a ‘keyhole’ insight into the perfect unity and harmony (the relational interplay) between Father, Son and Spirit.
ONE God is a community and unity (but not uniformity!).
is the challenge presented to us on TRINITY SUNDAY.
Our Christian God is a community. The Church is a community. We, therefore, are called to be
COMMUNITY. Is this not the one, dominant, area and sphere of activity in which we fall short? We have the theory but how is the application?
Nikolai Berdyaev, a Russian religious and political philosopher who died in 1948, wrote that “where there is no God, there is no man – that we have found out by experience.” What is too often forgotten or dismissed is the fact that men and women were created in the image and likeness of God – and God is community.
TRINITY of our God must be the challenge for each one of us to involve ourselves in and work for the RECOVERY OF COMMUNITY – in our world, in our families, in our Church, and in our parishes.
How else is it possible for us to rejoice in God’s world, and delight in its inhabitants?