‘Trinity’ – in action

Here’s our musical reflection for June, with thoughts from John Corrie.

June’s lectionary readings follow Trinity Sunday, and provide an opportunity for us to apply what we learned then. God’s love is beyond our understanding, but to help us, God reveals himself in three ways: as Father, as Son, and as Spirit. Over the years, the Trinity has become a complicated idea. Number 6: 24-26 is the ‘Aaronic Blessing’, and in Hebrew, God’s face is min’shak– an interface. Translated into Greek, it becomes prosopon– a mask worn by an actor in a play. To Latin: we get persona– a revelation of character. English – person; so the Trinity becomes God in three persons. In Romans 8: 15-16, Paul teaches that we become part of God when we call to ‘our Father’. But, persona in Latin means ‘sounding through’ (per sonare). ‘Sounding’? Maybe sound (music?) can help our hearts better ‘feel’ the Trinity than further stretching our minds. Love is about relationships, and seeing God as a Trinity enables us to understand God as a loving relationship.

June 3: First Sunday of the month is often Communion. What is our relationship with Jesus when we partake of the elements? Messiaen develops John 6: 56 into his ‘Le Banquet Céleste’. Messiaen was a Roman Catholic and may have had transubstantiation in mind, a doctrine opposed by Calvin (Institutes 4.17.14). But how does such disagreement help relationships? When I play this music prayerfully, I feel Jesus turning into the bread and wine (for us, in grace) rather than the other way round. Can this music help restore our relationship with Christ?

June 10: Psalm 138 is a Psalm of thanks. Thanks is the core of a worship relationship. Pastor Rinkart’s congregation was in the middle of 30 years of war and a plague, yet he could write: “Now thank we all our God”. Try Reger’s chorale prelude on “Nun danket alle Gott”.

June 17: 2 Corinthians 5: 6-17 – confidence; new creation! Try R&S! 663 ‘Love divine, all loves excelling’; or ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ (Mirrors in the mirror) by Arvo Pärt (2 Corinthians 3: 17-18).

June 24: Mark 4: 35-41 – ‘Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm’, music by Margaret Rizza (Sing Praise 322). A relationship of faith.

Prayers may be found in ‘On Eagles Wings’, the URC Prayer Handbook for 2018, pages 58 – 65; more music ideas will be in ‘Sunday by Sunday’ published by the RSCM.