Thunder of the Trinity

- an excerpt  from The Daily Muse - Tom Spencer's Soul of the Garden

29 March - afternoon

I sat on my front porch last night watching a thunder storm pass just to the south of where I live. Occasional sheets of rain swirled through the garden, taunting my hopes for a deluge that would soak the ground and knock the oak pollen from the trees. As I watched, towering storm clouds revealed themselves through the darkness, illuminated from within by an incredible display of lightning.

The spectacle reminded me of a recent interview that I conducted with Episcopal Bishop, John Shelby Spong. During our conversation, Bishop Spong spoke of the Christian concept of the 'Trinity ' not as a way to define God, but rather as an attempt to capture or convey our experience of God: Father- expressing our reverence for creation and creator; Son - the Spirit of God as revealed in Jesus; Holy Ghost - the mystery and power of the Spirit. He was humble, acknowledging that our minds - our concepts, creeds, and words, can never live up to the task of revealing God's true nature.

As I sat in the darkness last night, with the low rumble of thunder echoing through the city, I thought about my own experience of the Divine. In a creek bed just a few hundred yards from my porch, I find stone tools, some thousands of years old. How would the shapers of those stones interpret what happened in the sky last night? I picked a piece of worked flint and held in my hand, would they have prayed for rain, as I was doing? Despite 2,000 years of Christianity, the renaissance, and enlightenment - is my experience of the Divine really that different from theirs?

There is an old Buddhist verse that comes to mind- "The song of birds, the voices of insects, are all means of conveying truth to the mind; in flowers and grasses we see messages of the Way. The scholar, pure and clear of mind, serene and open of heart, should find in everything what nourishes him."

A good verse for the gardener in all of us.

Would it be sacrilege to view all of God's gifts- the lightning, rain, birds, and flowers, as signs of our experience of the Divine, to accept them as our 'Trinity'? What would it be like, to be so "God intoxicated" in Bishop Spong's words, that we would actually do so?

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Excerpted from the March 2000 edition of  The Daily Muse

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