Divine Love

     The feast of the Holy Trinity celebrates the sharing of a love-relationship between God and humanity as Father, Son and Spirit. Without God’s willingness to share that relationship, we would find ourselves cut off, alone, unfulfilled, and spiritually deficient.  However, we have been made aware of that divine love affair that causes us great joy.  Julian of Norwich described that love connection in powerful words:  “As truly as God is Father, so, just as truly is God our mother.  …That is to say, it is I, the strength and goodness of fatherhood.  It is I, the wisdom of motherhood.  It is I, light and grace of holy love.  It is I, the Trinity.  It is I, the unity.  I am the sovereign goodness in all things.  It is I who teach you to love.  It is I who teach you to desire.  It is I who am the lasting fulfillment of all true desires.”   We have all been invited into that divine love relationship for all time.

     Our Gospel today speaks clearly of that love relationship.  These few familiar words of Scripture contain the very essence of the Gospel itself, and identify that love relationship in a short intimate statement:  “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him should have everlasting life.”  The initiative to love began with God. 

     This is not the action of an angry and stern God who viewed us differently than the loving and forgiving Jesus whom he sent to us.  This is not some “good cop, bad cop” routine designed to demand our allegiance.  And this is not some hard-working Jesus who came among us to change the mind of his Father.  It was God who began this love affair and sent his Son to reflect that love among us as free gift.

     The God whose very being is love is not happy until we accept that love, believe that love, and reflect that love to others.  It is reassuring to remember that this God so loved us that he extended that love to all, the lovable and the unlovable, the lonely and the preoccupied---those who love him and those who reject him. It is not a reward for those who obey the law, but God’s gift to sinners prompted by his love with no strings attached.  We don’t earn it, deserve it, or merit it.    As St. Augustine put it:  “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.

     It would be well if we do not waste any time struggling to comprehend the mystery of how a Trinitarian God is possible.  In all our efforts, we eventually come to understand that we don’t understand.  Let’s focus on what we celebrate today, not some theological mystery that we struggle to understand, but a love-relationship to be believed and shared.  It is only through Jesus that the mystery of that love affair is made known as Father, Son, and Spirit.  We will have a difficult enough time getting our minds around that wonder.  Believing it and sharing it will take an eternity.  Until then, we allow God to find us when we least expect it, love us when we feel undeserving, and begin again when we have given up.

~ Deacon Wilson Shierk