(a full copy is available at Church)
suppose you are the chairman of a bank and one of your staff gets kidnapped. He
will be killed unless you pay a one million pound ransom.
One million pounds is nothing to you, but if you give in, then it is a
signal to every potential kidnapper that you are a soft touch. If you give in,
you risk the lives of all your employees. If you don't give in, the hostage
might be killed.
similar tough decisions almost daily. Currently, the most publicised of those
dilemmas concern situations in Iraq. We might say that the politicians should
never have got into Iraq in the first place, but that doesn't help anyone to
know what should be done now.
Over time, various
virtues have taken it in turns to be considered to be of more importance than
the rest. In the Victorian era, a reaction to drunkenness, sexual licence and
poverty made temperance, chastity and philanthropy the favourites. In recent
years, truth and justice have taken their place, at least in the circles in
which I move.
It is not since Bible
times that wisdom was thought of as being supreme. Not even Pope Gregory
included wisdom in his list of seven virtues. Nor did he include the opposite,
'folly' in his list of deadly sins, either.
Yet, from the time of Pope Gregory till the present day, the lack of
wisdom has caused immeasurable suffering across the globe.
The scriptures say that
wisdom is supreme. It is better than rubies; and all the things that may be
desired are not to be compared to it. When
Jesus' growth is mentioned in the Gospels, it is said not that he grew in faith,
hope or love, but that he increased in wisdom.
It is time for us all to put the quest for wisdom
near the top of our list of priorities and to pray for it for politicians and
all who hold power, regardless of which side they are on. Without wisdom, they
will never know what justice is, let alone be able to bring it about. Without
that divine gift, the world's intractable problems are doomed to fester on. Let us pray ...
We continue our series on…
The A- Z of the Christian Faith
one can ever define God. God does not fit into the limits of our human
minds. But the Christian faith proclaims that, though there is only one God, He
has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – what we call the Holy
Trinity. What does this mean?
Scripture and Church tradition tell us that God created the world, God saved
the world, and God dwells in the
world – in and between people. Also, scripture and tradition shows us that God
is experienced as above or beyond us – God the Father. God is
experienced as alongside us – God the Son. God is experienced as within
and among us – God the Holy Spirit.
three ‘persons’ of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit demonstrate that God is
active and dynamic, reaching out to persons and to the world – not unreachable
and unapproachable. God is also unity and community. Within the oneness of God,
there is a community of persons.
all seems very much a theory, but it shows us the ideal for us as
Christians. We are called to be like God – a dynamic community of love, which
is united in creating, saving, and hallowing our world.
belief in the Trinity is at the heart of our beliefs, our liturgy, and our
prayers. Our mass beings with “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit.” The blessing is also the in the name of the Trinity. Our
prayer of Thanksgiving is addressed to God the Father, and prays that he will
send the Holy Spirit on the Church, and on the bread and wine, so that Jesus the
Son may be present among us in the communion. The heart of baptism is the
pouring of water on the person with these words, “I baptize you in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If you go to confession,
the words of absolution are, “I absolve you from all your sins in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The same is said when we
anoint people with holy oil for healing. Always, we act in the name of the
“Christ” gives us the name of “Christian”, but his preaching and
teaching pointed always to Father and to Spirit. He was sent by the Father to do
his will, and Jesus promises the indwelling Spirit for people (the Church) when
he returns to the Father at the Ascension.
story from the Bible which shows us most clearly how the Trinity is a real unity
is the account of Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus emerges from the water, the Spirit
descends on him life a dove, and the Father’s voice is heard saying, “This
is my Son, my beloved, with who I am well pleased.”
love and unity of the three persons of the Trinity is our ideal. It is the
vision of God that has been given to us down the centuries. We are to adore and
worship God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – beyond us, alongside, between,
and within us, and try to live as the Church in imitation of that dynamic,
loving community: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and
the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us, now and always. Amen.”
For other A-Z articles click below