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Trinity B

Dt 4:32-34, 39-40 / Rom 8:14-17 / Mt 28:16-20

 

A priest sent me a meme the other day. . .

it read:

 

Everyone is an atheist until. . .

 

until they clog the toilet in

someone else’s house.

 

Please God,

Please!!!

 

Happy Trinity Sunday.

 

I want to make just a few points today,

on this Trinity Sunday.

 

First point :

Who God is not!!!. . .

 

Second point:

Who God is!!!. . .

 

Next:

If this is who God is,

what does that say about

who are we.

 

And then I’ll end with a little fable.

 

Who God is not. . .

 

Who God is. . .

 

Who are we based on who God is. . .

 

And then a fable

 

First who God is not. . .

 

It’s just as important to know who God is not,

as it is to know who God is.

 

Here are some popular,

but incorrect notions of God.                    (See Spitzer, God So Loved the World, 277)

 

“Steve, this is God talking”. . .

 

“The reason you got colon cancer

was because you deserved it.

 

I was just waiting to punish you for all your past sins.

You deserved to get cancer.”

 

The Payback God. . .

 

Wrong!!!

 

Here’s another one:

 

“I’m and so tired of you, Steve.

You’ve made so little progress in your spiritual life. . .

I’ve run out of patience with you. . .

You disgust me!!!”

 

The Disgusted God. . .

 

Wrong!!!

 

“Steve, I am sick and tired of your

whining and complaining,

stop being a wimp. . .

 

Things aren’t that bad. . .

 

shape up. . .

show some strength and character for once.”

 

The Stoic God. . .

 

Wrong!!!

 

“Steve, this is Jesus talking. . .

see what I am capable of. . .

 

“I never submitted to temptation. . .

I died on the Cross for people who are

completely unworthy. . .

I bend over backwards to help sinners. . .

 

And just look at you. . .

you just don’t measure up”. . .

 

The Competitor God. . .

 

Wrong!!!

 

Here’s the last one.

“Steve, I am primarily a God of justice. . .

justice dang it. . .

 

And I judge harshly. . .

So you had better bow down. . .

Grovel. . .

and fear me and my justice.”

 

The Fearsome God. . .

 

Wrong!!!

 

Payback God. . .Disgusted God. . .Stoic God. . .

Competitive God. . .Fearsome God.

 

Not the God who

has been revealed to us.

 

So, Who is God?

 

God has been revealed as a triune God. . .

Three persons. . .

 

But One community of relationships. . .

One unity. . .

who just love!!!

 

So the nature of God. . .

the essence of God. . .

 

The DNA of God, so to speak,                                   (Casy, Balaam’s Donkey, 422-3)

is one of communion. . . relationship. . .

 

and love.

The Crux of God is giving and receiving love.

 

The love of God is not a noun. . .

it’s a verb. . .                                                                            (Buechner, Beyond Words, 394-5)

 

For God to be. . .

is for God to be in relationship. . .

and love.

 

So now we have insight into

who God is not. . .

 

and who God is. . .

 

what does that have to do with us?

 

Well, we know the nature of true love. . .

 

Love can’t be contained.

 

Love has no borders.

 

Love has no boundaries.

 

Love naturally overflows.

 

Love spontaneously bubbles over.

 

This is especially true with God’s love. . .

Remember it’s a verb.

 

So God’s love. . .

overflows. . .

and bubbles over. . .

 

And creation happens. . .

 

And we happen. . .

 

We were created from an

overflowing of God’s love. . .

 

And we were created in God’s image and likeness. . .

 

Which means. . .

 

Which means . . .

 

That OUR true nature. . .

 

OUR true essence. . .

 

OUR true self. . .

 

OUR DNA, so to speak is,

is encoded to be in communion. . .

in relationship. . .

 

with God and. . .

and with each other.

 

OUR true nature is a to love. . .

To be a verb.

 

And out God’s love. . .

One of the persons of the Trinity

becomes one of us. . .

 

To show us what a human verb of love looks like!!!

 

And Jesus challenges us to be our true self. . .

 

It is Jesus who is our example. . .

Jesus is the model of our true nature. . .

To be a human verb of love.

 

So we know who God is not. . .

 

And we know who God is. . .

 

God’s essence is to be in relationship. . .

and love. . .

A verb.

 

And created in God’s image and likeness. . .

Our true nature is to be in relationship

with God and neighbor. . .

 

and to love. . . to be a verb. . .

And we are most in God’s image and likeness

when we act like Jesus.

 

So, Who God is not. . .

Who God is. . .

Who we are. . .

 

And now. . .

a fable.

 

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank

of a rising stream.

 

It’s too dangerous to cross,

so the scorpion nicely asks the frog to

carry him across the stream on its back.

 

This makes the frog a little suspicious.

 

So the frog asks,

“How do I know you won’t sting me?”

 

The scorpion says,

“Come on now,

you’re smarter than that. . .

 

I won’t sting you because if I do,

I’ll die in the stream too.”

 

“Makes sense,” the frog thought.

 

So he allows the scorpion to climb on his back. . .

and they shove off across the flowing water.

 

They get halfway across the stream and

the scorpion stings the frog right

in the middle of his back.

 

The frog feels the onset of the

scorpion’s poison and starts to sink.

 

He manages one dying breath: “Why?!”

 

And the scorpion replies: “It’s just my nature…”

 

Now Brother and Sisters in Christ,

 

Based on who God is not. . .

 

and who God is. . .

 

and who we are. . .

 

this is not a Christian fable!!!

 

Now it is true,

that somewhere along the line

our nature became somewhat distorted. . .

 

We got in the habit of misusing our freedom. . .

 

Somewhere along the line. . .

some scorpion genes got into our DNA.

 

We can sting like a scorpion at times!!!

 

But that’s not who were created to be.

 

Through Jesus. . .

the God who can only love . . . forgives!!!

 

And God the Holy Spirit. . .

Comes to reside in our souls. . .

if we so allow. . .

 

And God the Holy Spirit will dissect out,

so to speak. . .

the scorpion genes that somehow

found its way into our genetic code. . .

 

Dissect it out. .

so we can be our true selves. . .

created in the image and likeness of God.

 

To be in communion and relationship. . .

with God and each other. . .

 

and to love!!!

 

Who God is not. . .

 

Who God is. . .

 

Who we are. . .

 

And the very un-Christian fable of the scorpion.

 

I started with an atheist joke. . .

I’ll end with an atheist joke.

 

One night in Belfast, Ireland. . .

 

a man was walking alone down a dark street,

when he felt a gun at his back.

 

A voice asked, “Are you Catholic or Protestant”

 

Knowing the wrong answer could get him shot,

he thought fast and said,

“Neither. . .

I’m an atheist.”

 

Impatiently,

the gunman snarled,

 

“Yes, yes, me too.

But are you a CATHOLIC atheist or a PROTESTANT atheist?”

 

Happy Trinity Sunday!!!

 

Holy Spirit 05/29/30/21