Does anyone here have a favourite actor?
Well one of my favourite actors is Daniel Day-Lewis. I first came across him when he starred in Last of the Mohicans in 1992.
Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for being what is known as a method actor. His method is to totally enter into and inhabit the life of the character he is set to play. Before filming begins he spends months trying to look and feel like the character he is to depict. He literally seeks to inhabit the role. Such an approach is not of course without dangers, for what he risks is losing his own identity as the line blurs between him and the part he is to play.
There are, I think, similarities between method acting and the living out of a Trinitarian life. As we celebrate Trinity I would like to offer you one of my core beliefs. The Trinity is not simply a doctrine or article of faith to be believed in intellectually, but a way of living.
In Christianity the Trinity is the doctrine of God. Christians believe in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Another way of thinking about this is belief in God as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. If we are to live as Christians, as people who believe that we are made in the image of God, then we must learn the art of being agents of creativity, redemption and reconciliation and sustainability. This is our earthly role or mandate. We must learn to inhabit these roles; we must find a method or way of allowing them to become not our second, but our true nature.
Fortunately we have been given the methods: prayer, studying and absorbing the words of scripture and active participation in the sacraments of the church. Prayer, scripture, and the sacraments; these three are our, as Rowan Williams stresses, the Christian essentials. It is these three that gently teach us to live the Trinitarian life.
When we live as people of the Trinity we become increasingly creative, endlessly forgiving. We learn to both sustain and grow the Christian story. We become capable of fulfilling our mandate which is to ‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ We become the sort of people who allow others to ‘renew their strength,’ and ‘mount up with wings like eagles,’ whatever hurts and injustices life places in front of them and we become the sort of people who are genuinely capable of ‘living in peace’ and greeting one another ‘with a holy kiss.’
As Christians we have an advantage over method actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis. Through the spiritual methods we have been given: prayer, the study of Scripture and participation in the sacraments, what we actually begin to discover is our true and deepest identity as deeply loved and cherished people made in the very image of God, and I reckon that’s a gift worth finding.
Can I encourage you to find your deepest, truest most noble self this Trinity season?
Can I recommend getting hold of a copy of ‘Being Christian’ by Rowan Williams, a book which I think will help you explore what it means to live as a person who believes in the Trinity? Amen.
Rev. Andrew Lightbown