We are coming up to the Sunday of Pentecost. On this day we acknowledge and celebrate the Holy Spirit. Red is the color that is used on days that seem to have more to do with Holy Spirit, so red is the color for Pentecost, on June 4 this year.
The Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday, the day we celebrate the Holy Trinity. The color for this day will be white because it is a festival day.
The creed that traditionally been used on Holy Trinity Sunday is the Athanasian Creed. Most historians agree that it originated in Gaul around 500AD. As a historic collection of authoritative doctrinal statements, it is one of the three ecumenical creeds that Lutherans subscribe to. I like this creed a lot for one main reason. It uses a lot of words, one and half single-spaced pages, trying to explain the Trinity (LBW, pages 54 – 55). By the time you’re done you don’t really understand the Trinity any better than when you started.
That’s how the Holy Trinity is. Not something you can make sense of. Not something that can be defined by words or put in a box. Yet active in our lives and in the world.
In some ways we have God the Creator and Jesus figured out. But the Holy Spirit, not so much. There are books and books written. But words can’t explain the quiet or terrifying workings of the Holy Spirit.
You might know it when you hear it or feel it, or you might not. And you might express feelings, or not. And that’s where we tend to get caught. We Northern European folks don’t often care much for expressing feelings. At least not in worship. Our heritage tell us that expressing feelings in worship is not appropriate. Loud praying or clapping just don’t belong. Tears are suspect.
And yet there is a whole world of brothers and sisters out there who don’t feel like they have worshipped without having an experience of emotions.
Neither understanding is right or wrong, just different. And if we can remember that we will have come a long way.
At our 9:00 service on March 21 we were talking about this a bit, in connection with the readings. One of us was saying that he wishes it were different, that emotions and expressing them could somehow be a normal part of worship. The others of us nodded and agreed, but none of did anything about it. We all stayed pretty calm (on the outside, at least).
These are some of my ponderings. These are things I wonder about, especially as the world becomes smaller and our own lives intersect with more and more people who are different from us.
See you in church,