Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 30, 2010, Trinity Sunday (Year C)

Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
v. 1 Does not “Sophia”, I mean, “wisd
om”, call? Does “wisdom” equal “understanding”?

v. 22 Unlike the preexistent Christ, Christ not being one of God’s creations, wisdom is a creation of God, although one of the first creations, even before the creation of the earth (23) and the establishment of the heavens (27).

How does the fact that this passage was chosen for the First Reading on Trinity Sunday influence how we interpret it? How does it influence our understanding of the Trinity? Where does Sophia/wisdom fit within our doctrine of the Trinity?

Psalm 8:1-9
vs. 1, 9 Liturgical repetition?

vs. 3-5 These are some of my favorite verses in the Psalter, verses which seem to capture the childlike sense of wonder which can give birth to a love of wisdom.

How does this Psalm inform our understanding of the Trinity as well as our liturgical celebration and affirmation of the Trinity?

Romans 5:1-5
v. 1 Mention of “God” and “our Lord Jesus Christ” gives of two persons of the Trinity, perhaps.

v. 5 Mention of “God” and “the Holy Spirit” gives us two persons of the Trinity,perhaps
Combine verse 1 and verse 5 and we have a text for Trinity Sunday.

This text seems to offer more theologically than a mere mention of the Trinity. Are we missing Paul’s point by interpreting this passage through a “Doctrine of the Trinity” lens? Let us not forget about suffering, endurance, character and hope

John 16:12-15
v. 12 Are we able to bear today, any more than the disciples could bear, the many things Christ has to sayto us?

v. 13 Is the “Spirit of truth” the same as the Holy Spirit?

v. 15 “the Father”

With Jesus talking, do v.13 and v.15 demand a Trinitarian interpretation?

One of the Professors in my D.Min. program argued in our Reformed Theology Seminar that the Doctrine of the Trinity is not biblical but it is essential.

If God is at all like light (Jesus is, after all, the light of the world) then perhaps our understanding of light can serve as a metaphor for our understanding of God. Sometimes light seems to behave like a wave. Sometimes light seems to behave like a particle. Neither understanding, even combined, fully explains the nature of light and in a sense light is still a mystery. While the Doctrine of the Trinity can (sometimes) help us make sense of the way God behaves in Scripture, I am becoming increasingly convinced that it does not give us a complete picture or fully explain the nature of God. The Doctrine of the Trinity helps us to conceptualize and understand the mystery of God, yet God still remains a mystery we must ponder, a mystery that invites us to marvel at God with the same childlike wonder of the Psalmist in Psalm 8:3-5, only more so.

It has been a while since I last read Carl Jung, but I think he argued that the Doctrine of the Trinity was not psychologically complete, that what humans need psychologically is not a Trinity of Father – Son – Spirit but a Quarternity of Father – Son – Spirit – Wisdom, and that for Roman Catholics the Doctrine of the Assumption of Mary comes close to fulfilling this function.


Stushie said...

Your professor may have argued that the Trinity was not Biblical? What Bible was he/she reading?

The whole of John Chapters 14-16 is so full of Trinitarianism that it makes your head spin.

As I have often said, what seminary professors think and what the Bible actually states shows us the magnitude of difference between human foolishness and scriptural wisdom.

John Edward Harris said...


The professor was actually a well respected Evangelical Conservative. I agree that John Chapters 14-16 is filled with what seems like Trinitarianism, but I do not see a "Doctrine of the Trinity" or the word "Trinity." I think the Professor's point was that the Doctrine of the Trinity is necessary for us to make sense of passages such as John 14-16 when we read Scripture, but that the Doctrine is a creation of human reason and not given to us by divine revelation.