• Trinity Sunday
    Published: Monday 31 May 2021 10:12:AM
    Author: The Revd Canon Paul Dawson

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    One wet playtime a teacher gave her class paper and crayons and told them to draw whatever they wanted. Some fiddled with their crayons, others gazed out of the window looking for inspiration. One small girl was head down scribbling away.
    After a while the teacher wandered over – “What are you drawing Mary?”
    Mary looked up. “I’m drawing God” she said.
    “But no-one know what God looks like,” the teacher replied.
    “Well they will when I’ve finished this.”
    It’s an amusing story, but there’s a catch. There is firstly the problem that lots of people think they know what God is like, that their picture of God is all everyone else needs, and that if anyone draws a different picture of God then they are wrong.
    And there’s another problem as well. That God is beyond human understanding, God is unknowable and transcendent. How can mortal humanity even begin to imagine the eternal divinity?
    You see that in Isaiah’s vision in the Temple. God is enthroned, high and lofty, surrounded by heavenly creatures. Isaiah’s glimpse of God only serves to recall his own wretchedness.
    “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

    Jane mentioned last week that Jews avoid speaking the name of God. We know that both Jews and Muslims avoid any representation of God. That is partly an acknowledgement that God is transcendent and utterly beyond human comprehension.
    So my first point this morning is to remind us of God’s transcendence. And that matters because if God is unknowable then the first thing we need is humility. My glimpse of God cannot be the whole picture. Your glimpse of God will be different. We can all take our paper and crayons and scribble away, and none of the pictures will be the same. When we speak of God we need Isaiah’s humility.
    But God also has other ideas. God chooses to be known as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, Father, Son and Spirit. Just when you think you begin to understand you discover that God has other ideas. In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Mr Beaver says of Aslan, “He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.”
    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    In love God becomes human, born to a teenage girl, walked this earth, ate, drank, made friends, and enemies, suffered death and was buried.
    Martyn Percy writes that Jesus is the ‘Verb’ of God. We learnt at school that a verb is a ‘doing word’. The Verb of God means that what Jesus does God is.
    David Jenkins, when asked to explain what he really believed, spoke eleven words, “God is, as he is in Jesus, so there is hope.”
    Your average sermon is about a thousand words. The books written about God run into hundreds of millions of words. But really all you need is just these eleven. “God is, as he is in Jesus, so there is hope.”
    What does this mean for people? What does it mean for you and me? What does it mean for the people we meet day by day?
    It is about relationship. We know God as relationship, Father, Son, Spirit – a community of persons. Look right back to the story of creation, it is truth conveyed in poetry. When God creates humanity we read --
    “Let us make humanity in our image” Not ‘let me make humanity in my image’ but ‘us’ and ‘our’. Humanity is made as a social creature, male and female, interdependent and created to be in relationship. As Thomas Traherne said, “You are as prone to love as the sun is to shine.” We are made in love, to love and to be loved. God is made known through others.
    There is a story of a rabbi asked to comment on the book of Genesis. He thought for a moment then said that when God had created the heavens and the earth, light and dark, water and land, living creatures and plants, at the end of each day God looked as said that it was good. But on the sixth day, when God created man and woman there is no pronouncement that humanity is good.
    In the Hebrew the word translated as ‘good’ is ‘tov’. Tov really means complete or finished. The heavens and the earth are complete. The water and the land are complete, the animals and plants are complete. But humanity is not – we are a work in progress. God has not finished with us yet, the story of our relationship with God is still being written.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    This relationship begins in God’s love. It is restored in God’s love. It is sustained in God’s love. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Father, Son, Spirit.
    This relationship can grow – if we will but accept that we are loved by God.
    I come back to Narnia, this time Prince Caspian. Lucy encounters her old friend Aslan, and finds him to be somehow bigger than she remembered.
    “Aslan, you’re bigger.
    That is because you are old, little one.
    Not because you are?
    I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
    The more you walk with God the more you find yet to discover. God is, as he is in Jesus, so there is hope.

    The YouTube link is