Proverbs 8: 14, 22 – 31
Psalm 8
Romans 5: 1 – 5
John 16: 12 – 15 

One of the great lines from Father Benson, which is among my favourites, is something he said about the Holy Trinity. Writing to Father Rivington in 1875, he says: 

I quite feel that the practical neglect of the doctrine of the Trinity has been the great cause of the decay of Christendom. The Church – the Sacraments – Hagilogy, I had almost said Mythology – have filled the minds of devout people, partly for good partly for evil. ‘Thyself unmoved, all motion’s source’ this mystery of the circulating life of the eternal Godhead, has been almost lost to sight, spoken of as a mystery, and not felt as a power or loved as a reality.[1]

It seems like a bit of an outrageous claim, that the decay of Christendom is because of the practical neglect of the doctrine of the Trinity. Any school child, after all, can tell you that three does not equal one, and nor does one equal three. For many however, the Trinity is just that: a mathematical impossibility. So how is it then, that the neglect of this mathematical formula, and a nonsensical one at that, is the cause of the decay of Christendom?

For Father Benson, the Trinity had nothing to do with mathematics. It’s not about trying to convince people that something which makes no sense, actually does. The Trinity isn’t about math. It is about God, and it has to do with the reality of God who can be known, felt, and loved, in practice. And that’s what Father Benson is getting at here. He’s not speaking of the almost or nearly neglect, as in saying about something well that’s practically impossible, as in it’s unlikely to happen. Instead Father Benson is speaking of the practice, the experience, the experiential. What he is saying, is that people are no longer experiencing the Trinity and that the circulating life of the eternal Godhead is no longer a felt power or a loved reality. Because that circulating life of the eternal Godhead is no longer a felt power, or loved reality, it is rejected as a nonsensical mathematical formula, and one more thing to discredit, an already largely discredited, and irrelevant Church.

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Br. Mark BrownProverbs 8:14, 22-31/Psalm 8/Romans 5:1-5/John 16:12-15

Today we celebrate an idea—an idea that represents our best understanding of the mystery and paradox of God: the Holy Trinity.  There is one and only one God; and this God is a trinity of persons.

There’s a delightful poem about the Trinity called “The Creed of St. Athanasius”.  Whoever wrote it (it wasn’t St. Athanasius) probably didn’t mean to write delightful poetry, but I do find it both delightful and poetic. Here are a few lines from the Creed of St. Athanasius:

“… we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Spirit unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Spirit Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord… And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped…” Read More

This sermon is part of a Lenten preaching series on “Growing a Rule of Life.

Preaching SeriesSQRules of Life & the Rhythms of Nature – Br. James Koester
Our Relationship with God – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
Our Relationship with Self – Br. Mark Brown
Our Relationship with Others – Br. David Vryhof
Our Relationship with Creation – Br. Keith Nelson
Living in Rhythm and Balance – Br. Luke Ditewig

 

Growing a Rule of Life: To subscribe to a daily morning email with a short video and download a PDF of the accompanying workbook enter your name and email.
More information here: SSJE.org/growrule


Br. Keith NelsonGenesis 2:4b-8; 15-19; Psalm 8; Mark 1:9-13

In a small wooden box in my cell here at the monastery, I keep a few simple mementos: physical objects I can hold in my hand, objects that anchor or center me in the remembrance that I am beloved of God. The simplest and most treasured of all is a cow bone from the desert near Moab, Utah. My best friend and I went camping in Utah a few months before I came to the monastery as a postulant. The trip was a pilgrimage into a landscape wonderfully strange to us both.  In the desert, we hoped to taste something of God’s vast, untamed power, just as Jesus did, and just as generations of saints have done from the ancient Israelites to the desert fathers and mothers of Egypt. Perhaps because our eyes and ears were opened by this intention, this expectation to meet this desert God and to travel as fellow pilgrims into our own inner wilderness, God came to meet us everywhere we turned. Every horizon held our gaze and enlarged it, beckoning us beyond that vanishing point where endless blue sky and rippling red stone merged. As we hiked about this desert paradise we wept or fell silent or laughed in wonder, as unselfconsciously as the shooting stars or lightning that flashed in the night sky or the rainbows that shimmered in the rare desert rain. Each moment, we could have echoed the sentiment of author Annie Dillard as she wrote from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains: “I see something, some event that would otherwise have been utterly missed and lost; or something sees me, some enormous power brushes me with its clean wing, and I resound like a beaten bell.” [i] Read More

This sermon is part of a Lenten preaching series on “Growing a Rule of Life.

Preaching SeriesSQRules of Life & the Rhythms of Nature – Br. James Koester
Our Relationship with God – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
Our Relationship with Self – Br. Mark Brown
Our Relationship with Others – Br. David Vryhof
Our Relationship with Creation – Br. Keith Nelson
Living in Rhythm and Balance – Br. Luke Ditewig

 

Growing a Rule of Life: To subscribe to a daily morning email with a short video and download a PDF of the accompanying workbook enter your name and email.
More information here: SSJE.org/growrule


Br. Mark BrownGen. 1:1-5, 26-27/Ps. 8/Matthew 17:1-8

We continue this evening with our sermon series on Rule of Life. These sermons are coordinated with our daily Lenten video offering “Growing a Rule of Life”. There are about 30,000 people sharing this project with us; many are using a workbook as a guide for the series—you can get one at the back of the chapel, or you can download it from our website www.ssje.org.

A rule of life is simply a rhythm or structure or framework meant to help create balance in our lives, to help us “keep the main thing the main thing”.  We’ve organized this series around four relationships: our relationship with God, our relationship with others, our relationship with creation, and our relationship with our own selves.  These are all interrelated, of course: you can’t really talk about one without the others.  But for the sake of discussion and focus, they’ve been divided up this way.  This evening’s topic: our relationship with our selves. Read More

Psalm 8; Luke 2:15-21

You may have seen The New York Times’ front-page article several days ago about the naming of babies, what the article called “the annual most-popular-baby-name derby.”  From all across the United States in year 2011, the four most popular names given to baby boys were Jacob, Ethan, Michael, and Jayden; and for baby girls, Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia.1

The naming of a baby is no accident.  Often times there is great care taken in the naming of a newborn child, don’t you know.  The child’s given name or names may be a sign of the continuation of a family’s heritage, or a sign of a family’s wanting to start anew, signified in the birth of this child.  The child’s name may express identity or hope or gratitude, or through the name, the parents may seek to bestow dignity or particular significance on the child’s birth.  Sometimes names demarcate a family’s history.  – One of my nephews has a middle name “Taif,” which is a Saudi Arabian name, because this nephew was born while his father (my brother) was serving in the Persian Gulf.  Read More

Gen 2:18-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

The Gospels mention the Kingdom of God over 200 times. And Jesus has much to say about it. It will come with power. It is like a treasure hidden in a field. Like a pearl of great price. Like a net catching fish of every kind. Things both new and old will be brought out of its treasury. [Matthew 13:44-52] Today we hear that the Kingdom of God is to be received; that is, the Kingdom is a gift to be received as a little child might receive a gift. The Kingdom belongs to little children, it’s a gift given to children. We may enter as a little child. In innocence, perhaps, with a sense of wonder? Read More