“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now” (John 16:12).
Any summary of international, national and even local news will show that the central issue facing human beings is whether we can get along. Conflict arises wherever there are differences or competing interests. Communities divide along racial, religious, economic and class lines. Nations dispute over trade rules, access to water and mineral rights, borders and ethnic purity. Wars and poverty produce refugees and immigrants no one wants, and politics is reduced to fear-mongering and demagoguery.
Unity in diversity and the use of dialogue to resolve problems have been the goal of civilization from the beginning, and yet we seem no closer to achieving them now than ever. How can we go forward together?
The revelation that the one God and Creator of all is a community of divine Persons is Christianity’s contribution to the Great Quarrel over unity and diversity. Jesus’ central teaching that God is Love is not just a feel-good divine name, but it affirms that God is the dynamic and defining principle of all Creation. Love is what holds the diversity within the created universe together and in balance. Without the collaborative interplay of cosmic forces and complex evolutionary systems advancing to higher and higher life forms, there would be no world, no human race, no conscious dialogue and participation between human intelligence and divine purpose.
Wherever human cooperation and tolerance have held diverse peoples together in community, great strides in learning and culture have occurred. The incalculable destruction now occurring in Syria, the ancient cradle of civilization, represents not just political conflict but the tragic devolution of a 4,000-year old, multi layered civilization that until only recently held together every major world religion and ideology within a culture of exquisite beauty and grace that observers for centuries have called a paradise.
Where such human tolerance and unity has been fostered, we see the face of God, the image and likeness of the Creator, the Trinity seated at the table of love as it has been depicted in Byzantine icons for centuries. Where this unity is being willfully destroyed, it is as though the presence of God is being driven out by human pride, selfishness and ignorance. Across the world, the struggle over whether order and unity will survive the forces of chaos runs along the seam of every society, including the United States, now witnessing, like a disease we assumed had long ago been eradicated, new forms of racism, xenophobia, and moral fascism rooted in fear and absolutism.
What can be done? Worship is the first act, the foundational commitment to a vision of the world and of our own future that God invites and empowers us to build upon into every aspect of our lives. Therefore, if we are the People of God, we are living exemplars of the Trinity, called to find unity in diversity, dialogue in conflict, reconciliation where there is fear and discord. This is the seal upon our hearts and our share in the redemptive mission of Christ. So let us celebrate the Trinity, because it is Who God is, but also who we are.