Trinity Sunday C – 22 May 2016 – A Stable Trinitarian Church
Last week on the feast of Pentecost I referenced a first century architect who said buildings should be functional, stable and beautiful. I proposed that the holy Spirit can energize us to act as a functional church. Today I ask you to imagine with me how the Triune God is the foundation for a stable church.
Buckminster Fuller was an idea man who worked in multiple fields —architecture, engineering, design. With a commitment to make the world function for the well-being of human beings he crossed conventional boundaries. He colored outside the lines. He used triangles rather than rectangles in his structures because they were more stable and would hold up better under pressure.
Fuller’s perspectives were based on the principle of synergetics — total system behavior unpredicted by the behavior of any isolated components. We function wholistically when our bodies, minds and souls are in synch working together more so than when they are not in synch. In this regard, Fuller understood God as a verb and not a noun.  Fuller would have agreed with author Jason Derr who wrote that God is an action we bring to the world to make love, justice, mercy, joy and goodness known.
I think about the stability of the church and our synergy. What makes us stable enough to hold up under pressure? How do we continue to think of the interdependence of our mystical body in a world that is full of so many dangers, in societies where governments, religions, households and individuals are not functioning wholistically?
The idea of a triune Godhead is not explicitly interpreted in the bible. The Trinity was officially formulated (three persons in one being) at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. Elizabeth Johnson writes that the God encountered in the concrete life of Jesus of Nazareth and was present in the spirit of the church and world “was transposed into an abstract, complex and literal and oppressive trinitarian theology. Salvation through Jesus Christ, Johnson noted, requires a view of God that leaves no one subordinate or silenced … we must think of the Trinity with liberating power.” 
The mystery of the Trinity invites us to see ourselves as part of a divine triangle that functions, that provides stability in a very fragile shaky world environment. In Richard Rohr’s words, eventually we get the courage to say, “I am a little part of that which I am seeking. In this moment, the idea of God as transcendent shifts to the realization that God is imminent.” 
Like a triangle, God is a stable foundation in our lives that provides you and me with the wisdom and strength to stand up against all injustices. How do we know and place our faith in this God? We can count on the witness of God in Jesus Christ. We read in the gospel that the spirit of God provides everything we need to experience how God works in our lives. God is not done yet and cannot be stuck in time. “The Spirit constantly updates our understanding of the once-for-all revelation of God in the Christ-event.” 
Recognizing the spirit flowing in one another is very important for the stability of the church. It is a spirit that is not reserved only to a few privileged members but one that moves freely in and through each one of us and our life experiences. Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich calls it “The everyday life of the soul (feelings, thoughts and words), the things that the big picture of history usually omits, or disdains.” Sadly some church leaders do the same by overlooking the ways the Spirit guides everyone.
Carl Elefante, FAIA (the next president of the American Institute of Architects) spoke recently about how architecture influences behavior, how it shapes human performance, productivity, well-being, and health. He said “we don’t have to seek relevance but seize it.” So too, we who make up the church, fashioned after a triune God, can shape human performance, productivity, well being and health. All we have to do is discover anew every day how God exists in our own lives, grab hold of it and then share it with others.
- Fuller, Buckminster. No More Secondhand God (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Univ Press,1963)
- Johnson, Elizabeth. Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God. ( NY: Continuum) 2008, 208-9
- Rohr, Richard. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. (NY: Crossroad Book, 2003) Adapted in part.
- Reginald H. Fuller and Daniel Westberg. Preaching the Lectionary:The Word of God for the Church Today. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press. 1984 (Revised Edition), 442-443.