Falling into the
arms of love.

Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

The quote on our bulletin from Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century abbess and mystic, is from a longer prayer she wrote. The main part of the prayer states:

You shine with radiant light,
in this circle of earthly existence
You shine so finely,
it surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God.

Trinity Sunday seems to be one of those days in the Church calendar that presents a challenge for us as believers and teachers of the Word. We work so hard to understand everything, to make sense of who God is, and to show our theological and philosophical learnings that we can miss what God is all about.

Our understanding must start with accepting the mystery of God. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters tend to accept the mystery of God in a much more open way. They don’t look to over intellectualize God. Rather, they see the whole life of a Christian as a mystery.

The joy of God’s mystery is the fact that this inestimable, incomprehensible God, this mystery beyond our understanding, encounters us and holds His arms open to us. Remember that He came to us and told us that He wishes relationship with us.

Moses encountered God in the burning bush and on Mount Sinai. In these encounters, he was surrounded by all the power and glory of God. Yet these were the words he heard: “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”

In our daily lives, we should reflect back on the prayer of Hildegard. If we have relationship with God we shine brightly. We are different. We have been pulled into relationship with awesome mystery and the key aspect of that mystery is that we can run to it, run into its arms. That is what allows us to be truly radiant.

Over the past several weeks we have worked very hard. The basket social, rummage sale, bread sale. These tasks were done with joy and fellowship, but also added to our stress. We worry over the outcome. Will we have success? Will we live up to past accomplishment? In the face of these concerns, this Trinity Sunday calls us to re-encounter God’s mystery. Paying bills and life can get in the way of being radiant. God calls us back to radiance, back to His arms of love, to fall into His arms today.

Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2014

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A life full of
riches.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! … For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

God’s judgments testify to His righteousness, as well as to His wisdom. God knows how to catch those who oppose him in their own snares by allowing them to fall, not by His doing, but by their own free will and choices that oppose Him. In contrast with His judgments, His ways are the way of grace that lead to eternal life for those who chose Him. How wonderful and wise are His judgments and ways! They make us rich.

Looking back at history and even our lives we can truly marvel at His wisdom. Consider how He: Has mercy on the disobedient; Gathers us out of the many peoples, Jews and Gentiles, into a people who are His own; Uses us to convert others; and Preserves the world despite malice and evil until we have built His kingdom through the grace He gives us.

His wisdom is entirely immeasurable and unfathomable; His judgments and ways are inscrutable and incomprehensible. So lies the emphasis: This powerful and incomprehensible God joins Himself to humanity and sacrificed Himself all so we might be drawn up to be like Him; so that we may enter into glory after glory. So that by the freedom He allows we may chose for Him and bring others to Him.

God wants the salvation of all people, has revealed Himself to us, has shown us the way we should go, has called upon us to proclaim Him and invite others to know Him, and has left us the tremendous promise of eternal life and glory even though we lack His perfection and fall at times.

Paul confirms that the judgments and ways of God are inscrutable and untraceable with three questions, which he borrows from Isaiah and Job: For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid?

Paul reminds us that everything that is and will be has its beginning in God, is carried out by God, and serves God’s purposes. God needs nothing and we can offer Him nothing – excepting this: our faith, like Peter, our declaration that He is our God.

God asks us to come into relationship with Him and each other. He shows us the way and gives us the words that can make all our lives rich and complete.

To him be glory forever! Paul makes this great exclamation, calling on us to give glory to God for His judgments and His ways; for the riches He gives to all who by faith in Him build His kingdom and join together in His life.