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May 27, 2018 – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

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HOW FAR LOVE GOES

My wife Erin and I are big fans of the folk artist, Dar Williams. Back in 2002, during the time we were engaged to be married, we went to a Dar Williams concert in St. Louis. During the show, Dar played a song we’d never heard before, entitled “The One Who Knows”. Here is a snippet of the lyrics:

Time it was I had a dream
You’re the dream come true
If I had the world to give
I’d give it all to you

I’ll take you to the mountains
I will take you to the sea
I’ll show you how this life became
A miracle to me

All the things you treasure most
Will be the hardest won
I will watch you struggle long
Before the answers come

But I won’t make it harder
I’ll be there to cheer you on
I’ll shine the light that guides you down
The road you’re walking on

You’ll fly away
But take my hand until that day
So when they ask how far love goes
When my job’s done
You’ll be the one who knows

When we first heard it, we instantly loved it and decided to have it played at our wedding reception, during the moment I danced with my mom and Erin with her dad. Fifteen years later, Erin and I remain happily married and have four children. “The One Who Knows” now takes on an even deeper meaning for us as we try to love, nurture, and guide our own children. It also helps me remember the lengths that God is willing to go to love us.

This week, we celebrate the Solemnity (dignified rite) of the Most Holy Trinity. If I tried here to explain the Trinity, I would likely fail. While I think I have a decent grasp of the theology, I believe my explanation would ultimately fall short, as there is so much I do not (and maybe even cannot) comprehend about this sacred mystery. That’s why I like this week’s readings so much. The readings don’t try to explain the Trinity from an academic perspective. Rather, we simply hear about the many ways God has tried to love and guide us over time. Just like the parent in the lyrics for “The One Who Knows”, our God is simultaneously many things for God’s people. In the first reading, we are reminded that God is creator and that God, ‘by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors’, rescued the chosen people from enslavement in Egypt. In response to this, the Psalmist helps us remember that God’s “chosen” people are blessed. We’re told that the ‘the heavens…and all their host’ were made ‘by the word of the Lord…by the breath of his mouth…for he spoke and it was made; he commanded and it stood forth.’ By this, we understand that we are part of God’s very being, an indispensable part of God’s creation. The second reading tells us that if we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, we are children of God, not slaves. We are heirs to the Kingdom of God! We have a choice here, of course, but choosing the Christian life leads to us being glorified with Christ. Why would we choose anything else? Finally, in the Gospel, we read about the great commission. Here, Jesus empowers his disciples, those closest to him, to go to ‘all nations’ and bring other people into God’s family, ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’.

Our God will stop at nothing to love us, shower us with grace, and show us the way home. Love, for God, comes in many forms: teaching, guiding, correcting, tearing-down, building up, comforting, etc. Whether this love is experienced as the universe-bending power of God speaking the world into existence or through the intimacy of Jesus reconciling with Peter over a breakfast of cooked fish, the extent to which God will go to find us and draw us into Godself should never be in question. God loves us, a lot, as God reminds us through Dar’s lyrics:

So when they ask how far love goes
When my job’s done
You’ll be the one who knows

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