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Trinity Sunday

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 parts.

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.

Amen



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