Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trinity Symbol

The Trinity is a difficult concept, its almost easier to understand the symbol than what it represents.
This week, I honestly forgot to vote at the 9 AM, so if you are of the 9 AM service and want to vote, please do so in the comment section below.

Saturday night was evenly divided between our three symbols offered, so it was the Lakeside Service that broke the tie.  25 voted for the Triquetra, 2 for the Fluer de Lis.
So that's pretty overwhelming.

I found it referred to as the Trinity Knot, which is a lot easier to say than Triquetra!

Here is more about this symbol for God who is Three (Creator, Jesus & Holy Spirit)  and yet One God.

Triquetra (/trˈkwɛtrə/; Latin tri- "three" and quetrus "cornered") originally meant "triangle" and was used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a particular more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. Also known as a "trinity knot," the design is used as a religious symbol by both Christians and polytheists.

The triquetra is a three part ancient symbol comprised of three interlocked vesica pices, often used to represent people or concepts in groups of three. Also known as the trinity knot andCeltic triangle, it has been found in Celtic art, paganism and also has been used in Christianity. 

The triquetra symbol has been found on stones, in northern Europe, that date back to before 1,000 AD. The triquetra is also found in the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript that was likely created on the Island of Iona (off the Scottish coast) around AD 800.

The triquetra has been found on rune stones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins.

For Christians, the Triquetra represents the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--three persons as one God. Its three equal arcs represent equality, its continuous line expresses eternity, and the interweaving represents indivisibility and unity.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Symbol of Baptism: the Descending Dove

It was a close vote, but the Descending Dove edged out the sea shell as our favorite symbol of baptism (maybe we can use both since its so close a vote).

Here's a little more info on the symbolism of the Dove.  The Dove of course not only is a symbol of baptism, but in Christianity a symbol of the Holy Spirit and in all religions is a symbol of peace.

Doves mate for life, are incredibly loyal to each other and work together to build their nest and raise their young. Because they tend to nest in areas that humans can watch, people picked up quickly on the idea that doves were dedicated, honorable and peaceful. While hawks and other birds of prey would violently attack their neighbors, the dove was a bird of peace, eating seeds, easily trained to eat out of the hand or to become domesticated. Beginning with the Egyptians, the dove was as symbol of quiet innocence. The Chinese felt the dove was a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves represented love and devotion, and care for a family. The dove was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love and friendship. The dove also symbolized the peaceful soul for many cultures.

All four Gospel accounts refer to the baptism of Jesus by John at the Jordan river (Matthew 3:16;Mark 1:10;Luke 3:22;John 1:32). The Luke account says “And the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily shape, like a dove on Him.” Because the Holy Spirit is just that—spirit—He is not visible to us. This occasion, however, was a real visible appearance, and was doubtless seen by the people. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16), and the form of the dove was assumed on this occasion to signify that the Spirit with which Jesus would be endowed would be one of purity and innocence.

Read more:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

On Eagle's Wings

      On Sunday, Mother's Day, we talked about all the ways God is our perfect mother, loving us to the uttermost and doing everything to love, support and encourage us.  Of course, God is greater than the word "mother",  God is greater than "father".  These are human words that describe an aspect of God -- but God is greater than any words can describe.    Scripture uses many, many images of God as a mother: Mother Eagle, Mother Hen, a mother giving birth, a mother nursing.   All of these are just a small  picture of God's greatness, describing God's love.  

      After the sermon, I asked everyone in the congregation to write down which image of God as mother spoke to you the most.  Overwhelmingly, you chose the image of a mother eagle.  So I thought I would post here some info on eagles.   When Biblical writers used the image of a mother eagle, what do you suppose they saw in eagle's that made them think of God?  

          • Fidelity - Once paired, bald eagles remain together until one dies.
          • Bald eagles lay from one to three eggs.
          • The 35 days of incubation duties are shared by both male and female.
          • Nesting cycle - about 20 weeks
          • Today, there are an estimated 9,789 breeding pairs of bald eagles.
          •  The 35 days of incubation duties are shared by both male and female, but it is the female who spends most of her time on the nest. Trading places on the nest can be a tense time. The brooding parent may have to call for relief, or may be reluctant to leave and have to be pushed off the eggs or young. During incubation, the male bald eagle regularly brings green sprigs of conifer branches to the nest. Why he does this, no one knows, but it could be for deodorizing the nest or possibly providing shade for the eaglets.
               During incubation, 98% of the time one parent remains on the nest; not only to keep the eggs warm but to protect them from squirrels, ravens, and gulls which will break open and eat the eggs. If the adults leave the nest unattended too long, it can be consequential for the eggs. Diverse weather conditions could impact the temperature of the eggs; leaving the eggs nonviable.
          • Human disturbance can have an impact on the bald eagle, as most of them need some privacy and quiet to breed. People wanting to observe or photograph the eagles can disturb them enough to cause them to abandon a nest. Use binoculars and spotting scopes for viewing, and keep at a reasonable distance.
          • Once the eggs begin to hatch, the female's vigilance becomes nearly constant. The male provides the majority of the food needed by his rapidly growing family. Eventually the female will take up her share of the hunting, but in the early days, all of her attention is given to the young eaglets in the nest.
          • Eagles feed their young by shredding pieces of meat from their prey with their beaks. The female gently coaxes her tiny chick to take a morsel of meat from her beak. She will offer food again and again, eating rejected morsels herself, and then tearing off another piece for the eaglet.

          In An Eagle to the Sky (1970), Frances Hamerstrom, who spent many hours observing eagles, described the process for one young bird:

          The.....EAGLET WAS now alone in the nest.
             Each time a parent came flying in to toward the nest he called for food eagerly; but over and over again, it came with empty feet, and the eaglet grew thinner. He pulled meat scraps from the old dry-up carcasses lying around the nest. he watched a sluggish carrion beetle, picked it up gingerly, and ate it. His first kill.
             Days passed, and as he lost body fat be became quicker in his movements and paddled ever more lightly when the wind blew, scarcely touching the nest edge; from time to time he was airborne for a moment or two.
             Parents often flew past and sometimes fed him. Beating his wings and teetering on the edge of the nest, he screamed for food whenever one flew by. And a parent often flew past just out of reach, carrying delectable meals: a half-grown jack rabbit or a plump rat raided from a dump. Although he was hungry almost all the time, he was becoming more playful as he lost his baby fat; sometimes, when no parent bird was in sight, he pounced ferociously on a scrap of prairie dog skin or on old bits of dried bone.
             The male eaglet stayed by himself for the most part. He was no longer brooded at night. Hunger and the cold mountain nights were having their effect, not only on his body but on his disposition. A late frost hit the valley, and a night wind ruffled his feathers and chilled his body. When the sunlight reached the eyrie's (the brood in a nest of a bird of prey) edge, he sought its warmth; and soon, again, he was bounding in the wind, now light and firm-muscled.
          immature bald eagle   A parent flew by, downwind, dangling a young marmot in its feet. The eaglet almost lost his balance in his eagerness for food. Then the parent swung by again, closer, upwind, and riding the updraft by the eyrie, as though daring him to fly. Lifted light by the wind, he was airborne, flying--or more gliding--for the first time in his life. He sailed across the valley to make a scrambling, almost tumbling landing on a bare knoll. As he turned to get his bearings the parent dropped the young marmot nearby. Half running, half flying he pounced on it, mantled, and ate his fill.

          Saturday, May 10, 2014

          Happy Mother's Day

          Happy Mother's Day weekend everyone!
          I hope all the mothers have time for rest, relaxation and reflection this weekend.
          Being a mother, whether by birth or adoption, is a special gift.  Some people don't understand the "realness" of the connection you have with a child through adoption.    I've people say hurtful things like, "well, they are trying to have a child of their own before thinking of adoption."

           Each of my kids is my own and  I really do love each of my kids with equal fierceness and depth.
          The connection I feel for them, and they feel for me, is intimate and precious.    My relationship with my stepson is also very real, and deep and precious as well.   Loving a child is a gift that doesn't just come from giving birth or being a father.  It is a gift to be an uncle, an aunt, a close friend and a mentor.
          So honor those relationship, as complicated or messy as they may be.  Every relationship is a gift from God.

          Here is a great article on image of God as a mother -- good read for Mothers Day!