Trinity Sunday – 19th June 2011

Why is it that we struggle to accept as truth, anything that we do not understand? Soon after we learn to talk we start to ask “Why?” and “How”, wanting to pin down and explain the “why’s” and “wherefores” of our existence in the hope that such knowledge will bring us control of that which is now understood…but some things defy easy explanations.  Today we celebrate the Feast of Trinity… one of the most difficult of doctrines emanating from the pages of Scripture.

While the word “trinity” is not found within the Bible, we cannot deny that the portrait of one God existing as three persons is present. We know those as God-the Father, Jesus Christ -the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We recognize the mystery of God being One, yet Three. We don’t necessarily understand how this is so. At best, we simply accept and believe. But, for some, the conundrum is too unfathomable to be accepted; with the result that such a God is rejected. Others, possibly the majority of believers, wrestle with the Mystery.

Christian history is littered with theologians who experimented with new conceptions of the Trinity. All they got for their efforts was the title of heretic and, often, expulsion from the church. To be fair, the Bible does not provide a finished formulation of the doctrine. It took a succession of ecumenical councils over the course of centuries to finally articulate the biblical view of the Trinity. Each Sunday we use one or other of these creeds which seek to encapsulate in a few words, the enormity (or awesomeness) of God.

Try unpacking what you understand of the Nicene Creed, or consider the meaning of the last verse of a favorite old hymn “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation” or the older “Blessed city, heavenly Salem,”

Laud and honor to the Father,

laud and honor to the Son,

laud and honor to the Spirit,

ever Three, and ever One,

consubstantial, coeternal,

while unending ages run.

In the end, all we can know is that God is God… Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Human and Divine, Truth and most wonderful Mystery!

Love and Blessings

Rev Shan.

Pentecost – 12th June 2011

This week I have struggled to write a reflection, mainly because I have been laid low with an infection which has made it difficult to keep my eyes open, let alone concentrate enough to write anything. I fall back on Wisdom from the Desert Fathers… these words ring true for me.

Once Abbot Antony was conversing with some brethren, and a hunter who was after game in the wilderness came upon them. He saw Abbot Antony and the brothers enjoying themselves, and disapproved. Abbot Anthony said: ‘Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it.’ This he did. ‘Now shoot another,’ said the Elder. ‘And another, and another.’ Then the hunter said: ‘If I bend my bow all the time it will break.’ Abbot Anthony replied: ‘So it is also in the work of God. If we push ourselves beyond measure, the brethren will soon collapse. It is right therefore, from time to time, to relax.’

Relax, eat some chicken soup, drink hot chocolate, be kind to yourself, take some time to reflect and, above all, begin each day with the realization that you are a beloved child of God and infinitely valuable in His sight!

Much love and Blessings

Reverend Shan

7th Sunday Of Easter -5th June 2011

Listening to the news this week it has been hard to find anything really positive… in fact, I found myself weeping as I heard that Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding had died, without regaining consciousness after being shot in the face in the line of duty.

We heard of the deaths of 2 more Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, and news continues regarding former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, now in custody, facing trial on genocide and war crimes charges after 16 years on the run. In recent weeks we have heard of unnecessary deaths because of the mad craze of “planking”, and horrific car accidents, caused by speed and alcohol.

And the question is asked, “Why doesn’t God do something?”

We want a loving benevolent God, who requires nothing of us. We want freedom to live our lives without rules and regulations… and then wonder why God doesn’t intervene, and why bad things keep happening.

We want our freedom, but we want God to stop the bad stuff.

In the 10 commandments we have a fairly simple set of rules to live by… which can be easily condensed into 2… “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Unfortunately, our various freedoms compete and – where we cannot, or will not, compromise – conflict continues to arise, so that there has been a constant need to refine these commandments into a complex set of rules. Today, one person’s freedom to drink and drive conflicts with another person’s freedom to travel in safety! The books of Old Testament law did not arise because God is a “control freak” but because of our hardness of heart!

As our own children mature we give them freedom to live and grow and learn for themselves… rather than confine them or bind them to ourselves. In the same way, our heavenly Father loves us and has given us free will/choice … along with a world rich in all that is necessary for all of us to live well. The problem is not with God but with us!

Love and Blessings

Rev Shan