Just a word… Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity…
Just a word… Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity… May 30, 2021
“We know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand.” These words are from the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play (reprised as a film in 1955), and are followed by the words “Oklahoma, OK!” Although I was not around when the play was produced, the catchy music from the film was familiar to me growing up, especially the words to “Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day.”
Today, far from evoking pleasant memories of childhood singing, “Oklahoma” con- jures up heretofore neglected history and images of the tragedy in the Greenwood section of Tulsa in June of 1921, when murder and mayhem destroyed what had become a prosperous African American neighborhood. It seems that not all were welcome to belong to their land. The words of another song from the play are appropriate here: “It’s a scandal, it’s an out- rage! It’s a problem we must solve.”
How are we to reconcile these two images; one of an idyllic, pastoral paradise, com- plete with surreys with fringes on top, with the photos and stories that are featured in the news this weekend, making the event impossible to forget or ignore.
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, a mystery that is beyond human understanding, yet from which we are able to glean much meaning. André Rublev’s 15th century icon, picturing the Genesis story of the three visitors to the tent of Abraham, is entitled “Trinity,” and represents the three manifestations of God – Father, Son and Spirit; the Creator, the Redeemer and the Advocate. The icon suggests an array of implications; for our purposes, it is the primacy of relationship that speaks loudly. The three figures are equal in appearance, heads inclined toward one another in a listening mode, full of respect and love toward one another. This icon presents us with a model of how we humans are to relate to one another; indeed, how we are to relate to all creation. Respect, mutuality, deference, equality and love are the hallmarks of this model of living.
In a world, indeed, in a country, where each day brings new revelations of racist behavior, gun violence and other forms of disrespect, intolerance and dehumanization, how are we to reconcile these realities with the image embodied in this icon? Are we taking seriously the lessons to be found in the mystery of our God who models the qualities of relationship God desires for the human race? How do we not despair when we try to deal with the cognitive dissonance that follows any attempt at reconciliation?
From where I stand, my hope is found in this community. For it is here that I see people of different walks of life, political opinions, and ethnicites come together and work in concert for the coming of God’s reign. It is here that I see people agreeing to disagree on some facets of life, yet recognizing that what we share is greater that what might divide us, if we allowed it to. It is here that I find hope that we, in some small fashion, can be a sign that unity of purpose has room for diversity of opinion, and that small as we are, we just might possess the gravitas to model for others the possibility of doing the same.
My hope is such that our behavior, and hopefully, that of others, might prompt the members of the Trinity, our God, to exclaim: “ Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day! I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way.”