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The Mercurial God on Trinity Sunday

Monday, 3 June 2013  | Anonymous

These last few weeks I have been in those areas where I am confronted by the Mercurial God. Law courts, in support of that middle aged man, in hospitals with that same man whom I always see as a young man or even the younger boy that preceded him. I have got angry with systems and those who occupy systems and I have seen the evil that results from personnel getting focused on process, of being overworked, getting burnt out and not caring. I have experienced the evil of a system that is meant to work but that has become a machine that just grinds clients up. A system that needs to listen to the words of the general confession: We have left undone those things which we ought to have done.


But I have again met at unexpected times with that mercurial God. I have seen humane magistrates, struggling within the constraints of populist policies promoted by tabloids and seized on by vote hungry politicians, to dispense mercy as well as justice. I have met kindly people operating in difficult service situation in hospitals maintaining a sense of the importance of an individual as they greet and dispense to those who feel they are beaten down and who have little hope beyond the end of a needle or the next anti-psychotic pill. God has been in action in the most unlikely places.


I have not felt much like attending church. The excuse of other activities, of catching up with work left unattended has been seductive.


So here I am on Trinity Sunday reflecting on that mercurial God. For this God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is there when you least expect it. The God who steals up gently and touches you on the shoulder, or catches your elbow. The God who gently places an arm around your shoulder to show you are cared for, or who hugs you to say you have been missed. But this is also the God who hits you between the eyes with a piece of four-by-two to get your attention and to say loudly, “I am here and don’t you forget it!”


For this is a Parent and Creator God: a nurturing God, a God who does what is expected who is constantly involved with systems and order in the world. A God who supports, nurtures, cares, encourages and loves—for that is the role of the parent. Yes, this is the Genesis God that we find in systems that fulfil their purpose of ensuring health, justice, mercy, equity and access—with whom we can join God in looking on and saying “It is good.” So this mercurial Father and creator God confronts us and demands that we look.


Yet this is a Saviour God, down with humanity getting dirty. A God who confronts us in the sorrow and celebration of all that is human. The God who is both wounded and healer. For this is the God who makes us uncomfortable. Who as the child challenges us with that essential question, “Why?” Who demands that we see beyond the smooth running of a system to the humanity of people it is meant to serve. This is the mercurial God who confronts us with the most awkward question at the most inappropriate time.


For this is the Spirit God who sustains all that is good in this world. The God who gives us courage to continue, who puts fire in our bellies, words in our mouths and actions in our hands. This is the God who confronts us when feel beaten, who lifts us up, puts an arm around our shoulder and whispers, “Come on, mate, we’ll get there yet.”


This mercurial God confronts us in the incomprehensible notion of the Trinity, who gives us a vision of what order can achieve, of hope for humanity and the fire to achieve a world where there is no need for these words: “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.”

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