The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.
Trinity Sunday is all about relationships…
The Trinity – F, S, and HS is all about their relationship and the mystical union of God.
The Scriptures for today reminds us about this union and our relationship to God. The challenge for us today is to remind ourselves that God made everyone in God’s image.
You and me.
Officer Derek Chauvin and George Floyd.
Sadly too often we forget that truth and too many people deny the dignity that God has given to others. As we saw when Officer Chauvin squeezed the life out of George Floyd.
The core of our faith is to take that truth seriously, that everyone is God’s creation and we need to respect the dignity of every human being.
In her book We Are All Shipwrecks, Kelly Grey Carlisle tells of being stopped by a young pregnant woman at the bus station near her church in San Antonio. The woman said she and husband needed to get to Austin and that she was $8 short for a bus ticket. Several people she had approached had already said no to her.
“How much does the ticket cost?” Kelly asked.
The woman explained that she and her husband had called ahead, and the bus company said the tickets were $20 each, but now they were told the tickets were $28. They only needed $8 more for her ticket.
Kelly didn’t have any cash but offered to pay for the ticket with her credit card.
“And we can give you the rest of the money back!” the woman said. “I’m sorry to bug you. I’m sorry to take up your time. My husband didn’t even want me to ask anybody.”
“It’s okay,” Kelly said. And the two walked over to the station.
“When are you due?” Kelly asked, trying to change the subject, not wanting the woman to feel embarrassed.
“I have two more months to go.”
When they got to the station, the woman said, “My husband’s round front,” and went to get him.
As Kelly waited, a man called to her. “Miss, Miss. Don’t listen to her.”
The woman returned. I don’t see my husband.”
Kelly offered to buy the ticket anyway and to forget about the money.
“Ma’am, I don’t want to keep you. I don’t want to waste your time.”
Just then another woman came and up to the pregnant woman. “Here’s your eight bucks, honey. I found some for you.”
“Thank you” she said, taking the bills and holding them tightly in her fist.
“You’re welcome, honey.” And then the other woman left.
“So, you all set?” Kelly asked.
Kelly wished her good luck and turned to go.
On her way out of the station, someone stopped Kelly. “I hope you didn’t give her any money. She’s a professional con woman.”
Kelly assured the man that she hadn’t. “Good!” the man replied.
But Kelly writes that if she had the cash on her, she would have given her the money, whether she was being conned or not.
“I didn’t see that pregnant woman . . . I saw my own mom, thirty-seven years ago, several months pregnant with me and just as desperate, if not more so. My father had just been put in jail. She lived in a motel. She would have lied for money; she would have done anything for us.
“That woman outside the Greyhound station was my mom. That cute little baby bump was me. I don’t care if she was lying or not.”
Kelly Carlisle’s own story enables her to see the pregnant young woman in the looking glass of God’s compassion; Kelly doesn’t see a con woman to be exposed but a desperate sister needing to be lifted up. Such understanding and empathy calls us to a very different perspective of God than we might have been taught or imagine.
I though of Kelly’s words after seeing the death of George Floyd. Did I see the victim as a father? As someone I knew? Or did I make assumptions about him?
Do we recognize a God of unfathomable love that finds no satisfaction in violence or retribution but envisions a world in which compassion and reconciliation thrive.
“One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.” ― Charles M. Blow, journalist and author
May we all become ministers and agents of such God-centered love, rising above our own egos, criticisms and judgments in order to re-create, with hope, purpose and healing, the world God has entrusted to us.
As we say in our own Baptismal Covenant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will, with God's help.
May it be so. Amen.