During my second Memorial Day weekend trip to the grocery store, I encountered a spirited group of Marine Corps League members. These champions of The Few and The Proud flanked both entrances in an effort not to miss anyone who happened by to shop that day. Though their red shirts drew my interest when I drove into the parking lot, it was the music blaring around them which kept my attention as I walked from my car to the store. I couldn’t help humming along as I ambled on. Before I could utter a greeting, the entire group offered me a “Good morning” and a plethora of smiles. I returned their favor with my own wide grin. In the end, I promised to make a donation to their cause after I finished shopping.
In the store, as I loaded my cart with the items I had forgotten the day before, I realized that I continued to smile. Returning to the grocery store a second time on this holiday weekend did not thrill me in the least. Still, I smiled as I navigated the crowded aisles. I smiled as I waited for the woman ahead of me who ran off to get something she’d forgotten. I also smiled as I watched the cart of the person behind me who had also forgotten something he needed. I shared that I would not have been in line this particular day if I had remembered the items I had forgotten the day before. In spite of the long lines, the cashier chuckled with us as we shoppers shared a sigh of relief that we would soon be on our way home.
After collecting my change, I pulled out a bit of green to make good on my promise to those Marine boosters. The smiles which met me on the way into the store were fully intact on my way out. Though the tune which served as backdrop to this revelry had changed, the patriotic message had not. As soon as I dropped that bill into the bucket, the giggles came –even from the men. “Did you see that?” the fellow with the bucket chirped. I’m certain he was convinced that his winning smile had prompted my effort. Whatever the case, he rewarded me as he did all of his donors with a small American Flag. As I strolled back to my car, it occurred to me that this group would do very well with their donations that day. It was impossible for any of us who walked by to avoid being drawn in by their passion and devotion to their cause. As for me, I continued to smile as I made my way home, put away those groceries and sat at my keyboard to begin this writing. As I pondered the gift which we celebrate today, it occurred to me that the red-shirted entourage who greeted me at the store had shared much more than their smiles with me. Their passion and devotion toward the Marines whom they so generously support offered unexpected inspiration as well.
On this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we celebrate God’s presence among us. Love impelled God to begin this relationship by fashioning the universe and all who inhabit it. When we failed to appreciate God’s gifts and looked elsewhere for happiness, God relentlessly pursued us. When we continued to run from God’s love, heaven touched the earth in the person of Jesus. God’s presence became tangible through the Son who revealed God’s love firsthand. Jesus clarified what we had too long ignored and too long misunderstood. When we turned on Jesus, deserted him and saw to his death, Jesus responded by rising from the dead. He proved once and for all that God’s love prevails over everything. To be certain that we would never lose sight of God’s loving presence, God’s Holy Spirit came and remains among us. Though the Spirit is not often revealed in tongues of fire, the Spirit is revealed just the same.
You know, the infectious passion of the Marine Corps League was impossible for me to ignore that day. God’s ongoing presence in my life and yours is even more so. My red-shirted friends made a charming spectacle of themselves to draw me into their cause. Just the same, God does everything possible to draw us in and to embrace us with love. Whether we are at our best or at our worst, there is nothing we can do which will deter God’s devotion to us. It seems to me that our only option is to allow God to love us as only God can. When we surrender to God’s love and allow this love to consume us, we cannot help bringing that love to those around us whatever the circumstances.
Why do we celebrate this Trinity Sunday? We celebrate because our Triune God -Creator, Son and Spirit- loves us always and forever!
©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved