I collect stories or ideas about how God speaks to human beings today. Some of the most creative stories are about how churches have hired billboards to preach to Americans. Actually, some of these preachy billboards appear often along I-55 as we drive into the city. Once I read that a church actually printed a sign that read, “Keep using my name in vain and I’ll make rush hour longer- God.” The most profound sign though would only need five words, “We need to talk- God.”
Many religions of the world tell us that God speaks in many and varied ways. However, it is only Christianity that claims that God speaks through a person…his Son, Jesus Christ. And it is only Christianity that says that God’s message is interpreted in a powerful way through another person, the Holy Spirit. This is what we call the Trinity.
Down the ages, the Trinity has been interpreted in many ways. St. Augustine’s model is based on love: God the Lover; God the Beloved and God the Love Shared. Others said: God the Speaker; God the Word and God the Interpreter. These are expressions of the Trinity and ways to understand how a personal God speaks to us and inspires us. According to St. John, everything that the Father has belongs to His Son, and, then the Son hands it to the Spirit to give it to us. According to Fr. Robert Barron, our faith is an intimate faith. He says, “Christians do not pray outside of God…we pray IN God: IN the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. When we pray and when we act as the Church, we are IN God. How do we know when we are IN God? According to the Book of Proverbs, we are IN God when we “delight.”
There is rich imagery in the Book of Proverbs that speaks of the Trinity. God begets Holy Wisdom personified in the feminine. She was always there with God the Creator as a builder, as an architect and, as a nursling. Wisdom is there at the beginning. Wisdom witnesses creation. Wisdom plays before God, and, is God’s delight. And she delights in the creation of human beings. Yes, we are IN God when we delight. As a nursling delights in feeding, in holding, in fondling, in beholding the face of a parent, so we are IN God when we delight. And when we delight we are at peace.
But it is difficult to be so delightful when we bump shoulders with other human beings. That is why we need a billboard from God that says, “We need to talk.” Most of the time, we are IN and out of God. We do not delight. We are not at peace. And when we are not at peace we act the opposite of wisdom. We are foolish. I have to admit that what keeps me out of God is my envy and jealousy. I hate when I am not included. I turn green when someone is lauded and I am not praised. I get angry when someone steals my thunder. I am a fool when I do not delight in my fellow human beings.
My brothers and sisters, the Trinity is that Love that Delights. God the Father loves us so much that God sends his Son, the Wisdom of God, so that we can delight. God does not take away pain or the old age or the sadness of death. But as we progress through the life cycle we come to that stage called wisdom…here at the Villa we are in that wisdom cycle. We know that we are wise when we look over our shoulders and whisper to ourselves, “I delight.” “I delight in my family.” “I delight in my friends.” “I delight in my sisters in community.”
At this Eucharist that we begin IN God, God delights in us. Here in this chapel, the womb of the Trinity, God holds us and delights in us. Sometimes we need a billboard that reminds us that God wants to speak to us and nurse us. What a delight!
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.