Saturday, July 19, 2008

Three holies, one God

by John,

Some thoughts about the Holy Trinity from Trinity Sunday last weekend:

The description of the Trinity as "three holies, one God" sprouted from the children when they were discussing the Trinity with our priest just prior to their leaving for Church School near the beginning of the service. "Three holies, one God" seems to me to bypass the traps of trying to explain God in too many details, ineffable as God is.

Part of the sermon reminded me about the fighting throughout history over religion and who has "it" right. It seems it is always that we have it right and they have it wrong where "we" and "they" are very fluid and dependent upon who is describing it.

Bloodshed. Lots of bloodshed has been shed over doctrines, religious in general, Christian in specific, throughout history. This makes me think that all of the hand-wringing today about a break in the Anglican Communion is really quite tame when other much more violent events in the history of the Church are recalled.

During coffee hour I asked our priest about the bishops that did not, could not, agree with the forming definition of Jesus and the Trinity during the Council of Nicea. I know that history tells us that those bishops left Nicea and formed the Coptic Church in northern Africa. I asked "Since Constantine, during that historic meeting in Nicea, had locked the church to keep all of the bishops inside until such time as they all agreed, when at the conclusion of the Council, when the definition of Christ and the Trinity had been decided, and any bishop that refused to sign the statement was killed, on the spot, how did the dissenting bishops get out of the church so that they could create the Coptic Church?" He replied that they left a couple of days early, before the Council had completed their work and when the direction that the discussion was headed was obvious to them as well as repugnant. They may have escaped through a window!

During the sermon another statement our priest made was that the whole point of the Creed is to get us to do mission. It’s a good thought. I've not heard that before. I wonder if that is really the underlying point of the Creed. If so, then it has certainly lost its emphasis in the Church that I have attended and studied.

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