Union with God: Thoughts from the East for Trinitytide

The theme of union with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is a common thread that runs throughout the history of great Christian devotional writing. Every stream within the Great Tradition has reflected on the meaning and means of union with God through Christ, as well as his call to, “…abide in me.”

Trinitytide worship is pointed towards the kind of life that reflects the love of the Trinity, the journey “…to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Growth in grace is a trek towards home, a return to the source and sustainer of life.

“The aim of man’s life is union (henosis) with God. This participation takes man within the life of the three Divine Persons themselves, in the incessant circulation and overflowing love which courses between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and which expresses the very nature of God. Here is the true and eternal bliss of man. Union with God is the perfect fulfillment of the “kingdom” announced by the Gospel, and of that charity or love which sums up all the Law and the Prophets. Only in union with the life of the Three Persons is man enabled to love God with his whole heart, soul, and mind, and his neighbor as himself.”

-Fr Lev Gillet (1893-1980) in Orthodox Spirituality: An Outline of the Orthodox Ascetical and Mystical Tradition

 

Happy Trinity Sunday!

 

“And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father: another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is: such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost.”

— The Athanasian Creed

“There is no logical, chronological, or ontological separation of the three as they are always one. There is only distinction of the persons in the Godhead between the Father, Son, and Spirit. There’s the tension … but don’t be tempted to resolve it.”

-Scot McKnight

Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person’d God

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Abbeville (Come Holy Spirit)

A classic Sacred Harp tune for Pentecost:

Listen to a folk version by Liz Jayne

Lyrics:

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
With energy divine,
And on this poor, benighted soul
With beams of mercy shine

Melt, melt this frozen heart;
This stubborn will subdue;
Each evil passion overcome,
And form me all anew

Mine will the profit be,
But Thine shall be the praise;
And unto Thee will I devote
the remnant of my days

Praise Father, Spirit, Son
The Mighty Three in One
Creator, Saviour, Fiery Breeze
Sustainer be our peace

Words: Benjamin Beddome, 1900
Addition Words: Philip Majorins
Music: ABBEVILLE, by E.J. King, 1844

“A Prayer to the Holy Spirit” by Christina Rossetti

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

By Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

O God the Holy Ghost
Who art light unto thine elect
Evermore enlighten us.
Thou who art fire of love
Evermore enkindle us.
Thou who art Lord and Giver of Life,
Evermore live in us.
Thou who bestowest sevenfold grace,
Evermore replenish us.
As the wind is thy symbol,
So forward our goings.
As the dove, so launch us heavenwards.
As water, so purify our spirits.
As a cloud, so abate our temptations.
As dew, so revive our languor.
As fire, so purge our dross