Last week we celebrated the great feast of Pentecost, the miraculous coming together of people of all languages and nations by the power of the Holy Spirit. We acknowledged this Pentecost Power coming down upon us in a time of great divide. We have seen the pain of this great divide driven wider this past week in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.
Rioters and arsonists hijacked a number of peaceful protests across the country. We witnessed the ransacking of mom and pop shops, even stores like Macy’s in New York City. They vandalized and defaced property and set fire to stores and torched police cars across the country.
In some instances, stones and bottles were lobbed at police. A policeman was run over, another shot point blank in the head. A number of officers have died.
In addition, peaceful protesters have been called terrorists. Following police protocols, peaceful demonstrators in some places were tear gassed, pepper sprayed, rubber bullets shot, manhandled by police, leading to significant injuries and even death of protestors. But not even the rioters or the police could stop this movement. It’s gone worldwide.
During this very same time, we have seen communities pulling together to heal in the aftermath of destruction. Strangers bringing truckloads of food to help those who lost their grocery stores. People reached out to shelter and tend to the injured. People are reclaiming their streets, sweeping away debris, removing graffiti. In some places, police and protesters joined together, marched together, affirmed each other and spoke out for justice, cooperation for peaceful assembly. Some police departments have announced their reexamination of the use of force policies.
Between the pandemic, the high unemployment, the desire for just change, we are witnessing the groaning of birth pangs of creation to bring forth a new world, through the power of Holy Spirit. The experience of this past week brings us to our knees, first, with the renewed awareness of the presence of evil and injustice in our world, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that he/she who is without sin deceives themselves; as Jesus’ forceful reminder to us that he or she who is without sin should cast the first stone.
Second, our reading from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians today calls us to hopeful action, it refocuses our attention to another extremely important message we need to hear. Hear again what Paul writes: “This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect…Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” This message gives us our marching orders in the context of this turmoil we’re facing -- that through Christ, as we act like Christ -we are called to become perfect- perfect in a biblical sense. Perfect as in becoming whole. In being rounded. In our completeness. In lacking nothing. That’s how we begin to put things in order, so we can ultimately live in peace.
Today we focus on the Triune God – God, Three-in-One; One-in-Three, and how this concept calls us to live in holy perfection, calls us to put things in order, calls us to agreement. We put things in order by naming the disorder: the inequalities, the injustices, the hurts that won’t go away while oppression is alive and well. We turn to the order that we find the sacred symbol of diversity and community, present within the Godhead itself, that gives form and shape to human life and all creation. The Trinity is the most ancient archetype and the DNA for human life. That is our order.
Made in the image of God, we are made in the image of Trinity, body, soul and spirit, we are created for relationship, for connection, for community. We are reminded that made in the image of God, Trinity informs how we are called to put things in order, a harmonious order that leads to us live in one accord. How can we be in agreement if a brother or sister is brutally denied a place at the abundant table God has created for us all? So we are called to agree, we are called to make things right, to live out the good and holy so that even in the midst of pandemic, in the midst of economic unrest, and in the midst of protest, we can achieve love and peace with each other.
The protests of this past week are just a tip of the iceberg. We must live together in such a way that we can put things in order the right way, to hear the pain of ancient wounds caused by the sin of racism, caused by all the sins in our hearts, to seek forgiveness by putting things in right order so we can come to agreement. We remember that soldiers were among the earliest converts to Jesus – they found in Christianity a principle, a mercy, a humanity missing in the Brutal Roman Empire -- so we pray that this same grace would fill our police – that they can be agents of transformation– just as we pray for this grace to fall upon us and communities of color historically harmed by violence, so acquainted with police misconduct, so all of us, all of us, putting things right with each other, being of one accord may experience the love and peace of Jesus Christ and in this know perfection.
Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff describes Trinity it as a primal community; "just and equal in all its parts...and, therefore, a model for human society." So, the Trinity models the communal life to which we are called; a life together marked by justice and peace, creativity, a place for all marked by equality and held together by love. This is God’s vision for us, for human society.
We the church are called to model this sacred community, to point the way to justice and peace, to put things in proper order, to strive to agree with one another, to strive for the peace of Christ. We do not achieve this by ourselves. But through the grace of Jesus Christ. Even in the turmoil of this past week, we saw glimpses of these holy deeds rippling throughout our land, police and protester alike listening to each other, agreeing with each other, struggling to put things right. We must cling to these examples, promote these works that lead to holy perfection in our midst.
Our understanding of human rights, our life of caring together, our interconnectedness with each other has only come from acting on the justice of Jesus and the creative power of God, the source of love and life that is Trinity.
God has something new to say to us every moment of our lives – even if it is in the midst of pandemic, of economic upheaval of protest: The blessed Trinity declares “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Don’t you see it?” This is good news, as we face uncertainties in the days ahead; God loves us, charges us to love, to embody love in a love starved world.
So, the Triune God – perfect community of love– seeks communion with us. Holy Community of Love sends us out to love. To put things in order. To be of one accord. With faith and courage, open us to new ways and new visions, seeking agreement and peace with each other. Let us put things in order. Live in agreement, be an example in midst of a world longing for justice, love and peace and in doing do, find the perfection God calls us to. Amen, Amen, Amen!