God beyond our imaginings and present to us, more near than we know,
We repent of reducing you to an idea.
We repent of breaking the second commandment.
We repent of calling you ‘like’ anything you have made
like an apple, an egg, a triangle,
like a cord of three strands, like a ponytail*
We repent of these thousand terrible ‘children’s talk’ object lessons.
We repent of our great sin – objectifying you.
We repent this day in which we see how our theology forms us:
as we have brazenly objectified God,
so we have issued ourselves with license to objectify others.
We rejoice in the deliverance from binary locks
that your trinitarian self brings our imaginations,
and yet there is still much to repent.
We repent of our mis-shapen doctrines,
pressed from tri-level politics:
Our hierarchies, our patriarchies,
our ecclesial castes, our idealised family structures.
We repent of the elite Father,
merchant middle-class Son,
transient slave Spirit.
We repent of all the times we have said
‘Trinity is a hard thing to understand’
and added another stumbling block before one another,
before our children,
implying that they should understand you
and yet not offering the faith that they can,
as if you had not your very self already revealed.
We repent of making of you an intellectual challenge,
that we might feel clever,
of pretending you are a science to be measured like stars
and hypothesised like philosophy –
and then all your complexity reduced again
to five minutes of thinking about an orange.
We repent of forsaking scripture.
We repent of abandonning the stories you have given us
and replacing them with points and propositions
and proofs and prolegomena.
We repent of abandonning the stories
in which you entwine your call, your questions, your challenge,
your suffering, your solidarity and your otherness
perfectly and accessibly.
Let us not forsake who you are – real, revealed and revealing still.
Let is not forsake true trinitarian life in you.
Through our repentance show us doorways to living truly:
let us find and know and follow your trinity
in doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly.
Let us find and know and follow your trinity in faith, hope and love
*http://www.christiancrafters.com/trinity.html Yes, there really is someone who has attempted to explain the trinity with ponytail. Obviously, I don’t recommend it.