In a memorandum to Anglican priest David Russel in 1974 expressing his ideas about God, Steve Biko wrote,

am sufficiently religious to believe that man’s internal insecurity can only be alleviated by an almost enigmatic and supernatural force to which we ascribe all power, all wisdom and love. This is ultimately what makes us tick.

I was astonished to find these were exactly the same words used by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, in a lecture on ‘The Trinity in Julian of Norwich’ in the fourteenth century mystic’s writings. Biko would not have claimed to be a theologian but he hit the bull’s eye here, especially when he added, ‘This is what makes us tick.’

As children we were supposed to be satisfied by being told the Trinity is ‘a mystery’. And since mystery is, by definition, beyond understanding that was the end of it and the teacher went on to more manageable subjects. But to move on hurriedly is to deny ourselves a glimpse of something essentially nourishing, something that ‘makes us tick.’ What is revealed to us in the scriptures becomes increasingly challenging the longer we stay with it. The story of Christmas is attractive and bathed in excitement. The life in Nazareth is some thing we can easily understand and relate to. The ‘public’ life of Jesus was fraught with misunderstanding and opposition, but also with acceptance and joy. The passion was terrible but again we can grasp the story as we see it daily. So we progress from what is easily intelligible to what is more difficult. Then the going gets really tough. Resurrection? What does it mean? We have no experience. Can we relate to it? The Ascension too. It is beyond us. Then there is Pentecost and gift of the Spirit. More drama. Wind and fiery tongues. But does it touch us? Finally the Church throws everything at us: she has us celebrate the Trinity. Now we are really lost.

From Bethlehem to the Trinity sounds like a course with ever more demanding modules to master. And yet it is all an invitation to go ever deeper into the loving friendship God offers. God is power (the Father) Julian, Williams and Biko are saying. He is almighty. He is also wisdom shown in the Passion accepted by the Son. And it is all because of love (the Spirit) leading us to our ‘homecoming’ (Julian). These attributes are all one, interdependent on each other. This whole movement makes sense of our life. It is what makes us tick. For Julian, we are anchored in God (power) in our vulnerability (wisdom) as we follow our destiny which is love.

May 26, 2024.     Trinity Sunday.     Dt 4:32…40     Rm 8;14-17.     Mt 28:16-20