May 30, 2021
Psalm 29 (NRSV)
First UMC Bristol
Clinch Mountain District
Psalm 29 (NRSV)
Trinity and Mystery1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,[a]
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,[b]
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
DevotionSomewhere around a lifetime ago — three decades, give or take a couple years — my youth leaders took our group outside of WaFloy Lodge in the middle of a retreat and ran an AMA (Ask Me Anything), years before AMAs were popularized by Reddit. I assume they expected questions about relationships and sexuality and popularity, but I was a late bloomer and an outsider, so my question was something entirely different.
What is the Trinity? How does that work?
I didn’t realize at the time that my youth leaders would be woefully ill-equipped to answer that question, and not because they were particularly poorly educated or theologically trained. In the two thousand years of Christian history, nobody has been able to adequately unpack how God is Three Persons with One Essence. Every attempt invariably boils down to one heresy or another.
Whatever answer they offered was deeply unsatisfactory. It glossed around the question instead of addressing it head-on. I’m not sure any answer would have satisfied me, actually. I wanted something concrete, something I could grab onto.
It took me years to come to grips with the reality that my little brain simply isn’t big enough to comprehend the infinite mystery of a God who envelops and indwells the entire cosmos, and who, as its creator, is probably infinitely bigger even than that.
What’s left to me, then, is to react like creation does when God shows up. And maybe that’s as dramatic as ancient cedars bending and breaking and the earth reeling from the voice of the Lord, but on the other hand, maybe it doesn’t have to be as explosive as the psalmist envisions. Maybe it’s the simplicity of leaves clapping and creeks chattering and birds singing the excitement of being alive and around each other.
Sometimes God’s Spirit makes me shout and jump. Sometimes it’s enough to be still and listen. Sometimes I wonder and explore, and sometimes I simply marvel, slack-jawed, at God’s magnificence.
In this moment, if you step outside of the busyness and worry you’ve surrounded yourself with, how does your soul react when you take notice of God? Take the moment. God is right here, waiting for you to notice. God who is Three in One longs to be in community with you, too.