Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Location, Location, Location

Let me start off by acknowledging that everything I am about to say is to some degree wrong, or at least incomplete. God exists outside either time or space. We are the ones confined to those dimensions. But if we limited ourselves to saying only those things about God that were fully,completely accurate, we would be left mute. Even Jesus is stuck using metaphors and parables to try and explain what is, in its fullness, beyond our comprehension.

Today in the gospel we have the Our Father, and being practical people we tend to jump over the intro and go right to the list of requests, "give us...forgive us..lead us...deliver us."

But let's step back and look at those opening words: "Our Father, who art in heaven." Yes I know there are those who still go apoplectic over the male language, but Father is a simple statement of fact. If Mary was Jesus's mother and we are his adopted siblings, then Mary is our mother and God is therefore our Father.

More to the point of this reflection. The father is described as being in heaven. And I find that for me location is a better way of understanding the Trinity than function.

When I was in seminary there was a period when you would hear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit replaced with Creator, Redeemder,and Sanctifier. The problem with that is that it was all a collaborative effort. The first thing the Father does in Genesis chapter 1 is send the Spirit, the Ruah to bring order out of chaos.

For me the simplest way to grasp the Trinity, with a modicum of accuracy, is by location. The Father is in heaven, the anchor point. The Son became incarnate, lived suffered death, rose, remained on earth for bit, ascended and sits at the right hand of the father, and will return at the end of time. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, the temples of the Holy Spirit.

Two important notes:
1) I heard someone recently refer to Holy Week, as "the last week of Jesus's earthly life." We need to remember that all of Jesus left the tomb. Between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus was not Casper the friendly ghost. When Jesus ascended, he ascended in his entirety, body and soul.

2)While Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, sits at the right hand of the Father, he is also present here on earth in every tabernacle in the world. Because he is God, and lives outside time and space, he can do that.

We pray most often, to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. Do you want to spend time with Jesus? Don't sit at home and imagine, find an open church, and go and sit with him.

Father in heaven, Son in Eucharist, Holy Spirit in me by virtue of my baptism.

All the one God.