I was going to say that it is the wedding season – but that isn’t true really. It always seems to be the wedding season nowadays and not just in the traditional times of the year. I officiated at a wedding last Saturday and was just emerging from a church I was visiting this weekend when I, almost literally, bumped into a bride arriving for a her wedding. You can see weddings taking place at any time of the year!
There was a time when I really didn’t like having to ‘take’ weddings. I think that was all to do with how much work surrounds them in the parish and how much potentially can go wrong. But in the Cathedral, with lots of colleagues sharing the workload, it feels a great deal different – and in fact I can genuinely say that I love weddings.
What I particularly love is that they are a genuine opportunity to celebrate something that is vital to us and that is relationship. In the book Genesis God, looking at Adam, says
‘It is not good that the man should be alone.’
He was looking at Adam but in fact looking at us. There are some of us who genuinely prefer being alone, who are called to a single life, who don’t need love or friendship, companionship, in any way – or at least that is how it can appear. But I do think that people like that are a very rare breed. God saw Adam and saw a person who needed a companion. It was not good for him to be alone and in that good creation Adam’s loneliness was making him stand out. He was created for relationship and so were we.
But where does all that come from. I think that Genesis is a help once again because in Chapter 1, when it speaks of the creation of humankind it says of the creation of man and woman
‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’
We, men and women, were created in the image and likeness of God, who is already in relationship. ‘Let us’ says God, perhaps in that ‘royal’ use of we, but maybe in the community sense of us.
Trinity Sunday forces us to engage in some theology and that is always good for us, whoever we are and whether or not we think of ourselves as theologians, and it encourages us to think about the nature of God. And as I was thinking about the bride I almost bumped in to I was thinking about how relationship, so fundamental to us, is so fundamental to God. Part of that image and likeness that we are created in is the need not to be alone as God is not alone.
We constantly use the phrase ‘God is love’ and this phrase again reminds me that God is always in community otherwise God cannot be love. Love at its purest is the activity, the quality of relationship. There has to be more than me for there to be love. There has to be you as well as me, so that I can love you and you can love me – then there is love. For God to be love there needs to be two; there is in fact three.
The Trinity is the divine expression of relationship, at the very heart of the nature of God, love in relationship at the very heart of the nature of God. True love doesn’t exist if I just love myself, true love always involves the other.
C S Lewis writing about this says
[Christians] believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.
So as we celebrate the nature of God and our understanding of the nature of God on Trinity Sunday, as we immerse ourselves in the mystery of God on Trinity Sunday, I’m forced to think about relationships. I cannot think of God outside of relationship, the divine relationship and my relationship with God and others which must reflect something of the image and likeness into which I have been created and that must be good.
So that has given me something to think about this week – every relationship of which I am part, that whole circle of relationships into which I am drawn. How can they fully reflect the nature of that greater relationship from which they take their origin, how can they be truly, creative, truly good, truly of the God in relationship that we celebrate today and know each day?
God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
draw us into your heart of love,
enfold us in your creative goodness,
and bless our relationships
that they may draw their life