In the last two months I have seen two plays put on by a first class
local theatre group. In fairness I was anticipating the second more
keenly; written by Alan Bennett there was a promise of wit and
thoughtfulness whilst the first play was more serious social commentary
less likely to amuse than to provoke. To my mind, however, the
performance of the David Hare piece outshone the Alan Bennett by far.
There was nothing wrong with the content of the play, the wit and
thoughtfulness were there but the production did not gel, did not come
alive, did not lift itself off the stage cloth into my heart. The truly
extraordinary attraction of live theatre is that each night something is
created from the indefinable intermingling of actors, actresses, music,
light and set. An intermingling that produces something outside of the
mind of the author or the director and which is more than the sum of its
There is an understanding among vicars that Trinity Sunday is difficult
to preach about and therefore this is a fine exercise for the curate
fresh from theological college: Let them sharpen their teeth on this
thing rather than blunt our own. But I disagree, three-in-one,
one-in-three theological examination is a poor starting point for the
deep, enriching mystery at the centre of our belief that Father, Son and
Holy Spirit intermingle and relate to each other.
In fact we understand this intangible perfectly well. It is rooted in
the feelings we have beyond description for those we love, parents,
siblings, children, it is there I would argue in all great music that
moves us, in many works of art and in the mysterious vivacity of a play
well performed. Of course God chooses to reveal Himself to us in
different ways Ė in different persons but most clearly in the
perfectness of the relation between these three. There is something more
to be discovered in that perfect flowing of love between Father, Son and
Holy Spirit than we could ever imagine or hope to discover from our
human vantage point.
And that our triune God is not simply singular allows us to dwell on how
the Father is towards the Son, how the Son loves the Father and what the
presence of the Holy Spirit at creation, incarnation, baptism and
Pentecost as an indwelling sign of Godís being truly means.
Alan Bennett fathered a good script, the director revealed Bennettís
intentions, the theatre, stage and lighting contained it all but the
meaning lies in the whole, the interaction and comingling of these
things and then most importantly our engagement with them.
The Holy Trinity invites us to look more carefully at our place in
creation, ourselves in Godís image; how we are meant to be, how we are
and how we will be.
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