One of the first sermons I ever had to do was a sermon on John 1 to a church that didn’t necessarily ascribe to Trinitarian theology. Being someone who was implicitly Trinitarian in my perception of God, this forced me to review the concepts a bit more thoroughly than I had previously. I made myself consider if I really was Trinitarian, or if that was an ideology I had just ascribed to because of my Church of Origin. Ultimately for myself, what I found was that the Trinity as a model of the divine was a necessary thing for me, because it is in Jesus (and his being a full and equal part of God) that I come to know God best. The incarnation of God as a human being had implications to the ways that I thought about God. This was a God willing to up-end the order of creation thus far to enter into a more complete relationship with us. An act of radical inclusivity from the divine being who did not demand assimilation from us, but instead became like us to include us in relationship.
Let me be clear – I’m not saying God didn’t have relationship with humanity before the incarnation – I’m saying that the incarnation is how I find a grounding of my relationship – and the directive for how to live out my faith in a way that reflects the magnificent love that God has for all God’s children. I believe that we reflect God, and that the Trinity and the internal relationship or economy of God is one example of how we do so.
Catherine LaCugna points out that “Each Theology is one reading of the economy, one interpretation of God’s self revelation in Jesus Christ.” (La Cugna, God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life, Harper San Francisco, p381). Certainly the conversations I have had with my fellow students on the Trinity have shown this to be the case. Each of us has a slightly different understanding of God – a unique perspective based on not just the relationship each of us has with God, but also our relationships with the communities around us. Where we did agree was that in the relationship of God within Godself, and the relationship of us to each other, there was at least some minimal echo.
I find that in Inclusion the reality of God’s love is revealed. In standing in solidarity with the marginalized – not an assimilative erasure of identity to make us the same, but an act of courageous inclusion which celebrates our differences as well as our core identity as the collective children of God – God’s plan for the Heavenly Realm becomes ever clearer. We strive imperfectly for a relationship of dynamic tension where as individuals we contribute based on our uniquenesses and our fundamental similarities, and where as community we bless each other in our samenesses and our individual gifts. Yes, I admit – its a bit paradoxical – but I also believe that is another way in which we reflect God – we are each a small paradox, in relationship with each other and with the ultimate paradox – the eternal God who loves us, three and one all at once.
To manifest the will of God, we must be in relationship not just with God, but with each other because that IS the will of God. LaCugna puts it this way: “…the exclusion of even a single person is contrary to God’s providential plan.” May we continue to learn and grow so that we may accept each other and each of our uniquenesses better, based on the similarities we share.