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Trinity Sunday 2021 - Year B
Memorial Day this year coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Hundreds of Blacks were brutally killed, their homes and businesses were wiped out. They were casualties of a furious and heavily armed white mob of marauders and arsonists.
Remembrance of the massacre has been stifled, resisted and contested ever since it took place. It is not commemorated like Memorial Day a celebration that emerged out of the Civil War tradition of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.
Given all the deaths suffered because of war, racism and other disparities (e.g., people without money, food, water, and shelter) tomorrow is a day to imagine a better world for all people.
And, today is Trinity Sunday on the Christian calendar. What can we make of this unexplainable mystery in a world torn by so much inequity, vitriol and division? Liturgical theologian Cláudio Carvalhaes reminds us the Trinity “is a Christian belief where God is one in three persons: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You would think this is craziness! But for Christians, it is how God moves, relates, dances, and manifests Godself in the world—always through relations.”
While the word “trinity” does not appear in Scripture, nuanced references are found in Matthew 28:18-20 and 2 Corinthians 13:14. We can can gain some insight from today’s biblical texts that might help us understand the importance of treating one another with fairness.
In the Psalm (33: 4-6, 9, 18-20, 22) we read that God’s works are trustworthy, that God loves justice, and that the earth is full of God’s kindness. But to keep the presence of God engaged in our lives we need to cooperate with God with acts of love and kindness. (Deuteronomy (4:32-34, 39-40)
The commission in the gospel to baptize all nations (Matthew 28:16-20) needs interpretation. We can encourage others to join our efforts to establish peace on earth through evangelization and by example but not through proselytism or violence.
Right relationships, are key in any community organization. Imagine what the world would be like if there was a congenial and respectful interdependence among all peoples. Nation states, organized religions, political parties, and local neighborhood communities would not be at such odds with one another. Different races, genders, and ethnic groups would no longer hate one another.
Dr. Carvalhaes continued: “In many ways, the Trinity is an entanglement that keeps unfolding back and forth, a sign and metaphor for our own ways of living together, being different and yet being a part of the same life.”
Karen Kilby uses the term social trinitarianism to describe the Christian interpretation of the Trinity. She sees it as consisting of three persons in a loving relationship, which reflects a model for human relationships. 
There are countless people and groups of individuals who, in the steps of their forebears, continue to support and sustain diverse relationships among human beings that can be both complicated and wonderful.
One example is an artist who contributed to social concordance her entire life. A current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — Alice Neel: People Come First — is a retrospective of this radical American portrait artist who died in 1984. Neel’s life was marked by sorrow and joy, depression and resilience. Nevertheless, she was always an advocator of social justice. She exuded a creative commitment to humanist principles that inspired her life as well as her art.
Art historian Hall Rockerfeller wrote “Her [Neel’s] work was undiscriminating … Her sincere and thoughtful engagement with her subject regardless of their color or creed was unusual for the time, and men and women of varying race, sexual orientation, and religion can be found throughout her oeuvre, all rendered with the same honest brush.” Neel herself once said: “For me, people come first, I have tried to assert the dignity and eternal importance of the human being.”
On this Memorial Day weekend we remember lives lost because of war and hate crimes. Our association with a God who continues to create, a child of God (Jesus) who made God known to us and a holy Spirit that steadily sustains us can energize us to become more resilient in a period of history where we cannot be sure of anything the tide changes.
1. Karen Kilby is an American theologian and is currently the Bede Professor of Catholic Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.
5/31/2021 09:34:27 am
Thank you for interweaving the here and now of contemporary events with the here and now of God’s kinship building
6/6/2021 12:17:20 pm
Thank you for your thoughtful words. Enjoy the summer and I look forward to your return in the fall.
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