Yesterday I decided to preach only half a sermon! Sometimes at St Mark’s we do a short introduction, and then ask people to discuss it among themselves. As last week someone told Lesley that they enjoy watching the clergy squirm on Trinity Sunday I decided to turn it round!
I introduced two ideas, the idea of Trinity as relationship, and the idea that we can only understand doctrine from our already existing relationship with God – that our relationship makes sense of doctrine, not the other way round. Then I asked them to discuss “How does your experience of God speak to God as a God of relationship”. They discussed this for a reasonable length of time (at least they talked to each other for a reasonable length of time). At the end I asked whether anyone had anything that they wanted to share (the first time I had done that). There were two lots of feedback.
First someone said that everybody’s experience of relationship with God was different (always good to know that – although perhaps not a surprise, after all everyone’s experience of relationship with anyone is different to everyone elses).
The second was that some people’s experience of church had been more hierarchical than relational, and that God had been called upon to maintain that hierarchy.
Isn’t it ironic that the Reformation led to removal of the mediation of the priest, and now some of the more conservative forms of Protestantism only allow that if you believe what they tell you!