Homily for Trinity

June 7th, 2020 by admin-su



Homily for Trinity-20

Let’s go back in time 150 years – you are living on a small-holding near the edge of nowhere. It’s late autumn and you are up well before dawn, dressing as warmly as possible against the chill of the morning. You make your way to the cow shed where Bessie awaits her morning milking. Going inside you stumble slightly on the uneven floor of the shed and sit down to get this first chore done. Finally finished you get up, taking your precious pail of milk and head back to the cottage. The uneven floor again makes you stumble and you almost lose your precious cargo. As you steady yourself you thank heaven for the milking stool which kept you stable as you did your morning chore. Heading back into the relative warmth of the cottage you push that last thought aside and get on with the rest of the day.

It’s Trinity Sunday where we who preach vainly try to convey some sense of this God of ours which is one yet three. Over the centuries many things have been used as an analogy for the Trinity: eggs, the three states of water (ice, liquid, steam) a shamrock and other things. I’ve even used the three coloured dots that make up our TV and other screens.

I’m not sure that a milking stool has been used very often (if ever) to try and make sense of the trinity.

I’m sure the Lord will forgive and understand me as He has others, comparing the Trinity with such things as an egg, a three leaf clover, water and now a milking stool. But he knows the importance of trying to help us understand the intricacy and unity of his almighty being, three in one. So a   milking stool it is.

The inherent stability of a milking stool is its three legs which will find a firm footing no matter how uneven the floor.

Four legs however are no good as we have all experienced in a restaurant where the table wobbles badly till you finally put something under the offending leg. In this case less is better and three infinitely better than four. The milking stool doesn’t level out the floor – it remains uneven – the stool just allows us to be stable on the uneven floor. God is like that.

He doesn’t level out the uneven floors of life, he just holds us steady as we traverse them. Jesus knew about this. He told a parable of two people who build a house. One built on sand the other on bedrock. Jesus said that when the storm came it washed away the house on sand but the house on bedrock remained firm. (Matt 7.24-27) Jesus didn’t say IF the storms come, he said WHEN they come. Life’s storms come, and for those with no foundation those storms can (and sometimes do) overwhelm. For the person of faith however life’s storms batter, and may even bruise, but the bedrock of their faith gives them stability.

If there is one thing we all need in these turbulent times it is stability. And God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – can be to us that milking stool providing a stable platform upon which to sit. For the milking stool to be effective though all three legs need to be equal. If one is too short or too long it reduces the effectiveness and stability of the stool. Just as the legs of our stool need to be equal, for God to be fully functional all three persons must be equal. Unfortunately we often see a distorted image of God. Some churches/individuals focus mostly on Jesus while the Father and Holy Spirit are minimized.

The official creeds of the church are partly responsible for this. 80% of the Apostle’s Creed is devoted to Jesus leaving only 20% for the Father and Holy Spirit and they are not equally divided. Our creeds and our traditions help distort our perceptions of God, but our distorted perceptions don’t in any way change him – he remains three persons equal in importance.

But our distorted perceptions can reduce the effectiveness of God working in our lives. If we largely ignore the Holy Spirit, then we reduce his ability to work his part in our lives by giving us insight into the truths of the Bible or guiding us. Or to work in from our own limited strength rather than His.

Here we are in the midst of a pandemic that has changed our lives; possibly forever. Let’s ask God the Father who creates all things to create the antidote to this virus. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide those working on this antidote. And let’s ask Jesus to continue his work of salvation bringing hope and comfort to many.

The floor of our lives has always been uneven, but it has gotten more out of kilter and will likely remain that way for some time. As we tread that floor into the future let’s cling fast to our stabilizer asking God to steady us through this uncertain time. And remember that through all this there is one certainty and that is God. Let’s follow St. Peter’s advice given in his first letter to Christians “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Pet 5.7) The psalmist tells us “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (Psalm 37.23-24)

So as the hymn tells us Put your hand in the hand of the man From Galilee and allow God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – to be a stable milking stool upon which we can rest.