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Center for Action and Contemplation

The Trinity Is with and for the World 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

And, therefore, the Father is wisdom, the Son is wisdom, and the Holy Spirit is wisdom, and together they are not three wisdoms but one wisdom. —Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity, 7.3   

Theologian Elizabeth Johnson (born 1941) explores what each person in the Trinity offers to us in our experience of the world and why it matters:  

God is God as Spirit-Sophia, the mobile, pure, people-loving Spirit who pervades every wretched corner, wailing at the waste, releasing power that enables fresh starts. Her energy quickens the earth to life, her beauty shines in the stars, her strength breaks forth in every fragment of shalom and renewal…. From generation to generation she enters into holy souls, and not so holy ones, to make them friends of God and prophets, thereby making human beings allies of God’s redeeming purpose. What we can say is this: Sophia-God dwells in the world at its center and at its edges, an active vitality crying out in labor, birthing the new creation. Fire, wind, water, and the color purple are her signs. 

God is God again as Jesus Christ, Sophia’s child and prophet, and yes, Sophia herself personally pitching her tent in the flesh of humanity to teach the paths of justice. The shape of the historical life of this crucified prophet, risen from the dead, reveals the shape of Holy Wisdom’s love for the world. It is a love that enters in and takes part, that revels at the feasting of outcasts in inclusive table community…. What we can say is this: Sophia-God is irreversibly connected with the joy and anguish of human history, in the flesh; in the power of Spirit-Sophia Jesus now takes on a new communal identity as the risen Christ, the body of all those women and men who share in the transformation of the world through compassionate, delighting, and suffering love. In solidarity with his memory and empowered by the same Spirit, the little flock is configured into a sacrament of the world’s salvation, empowered to shape communities of freedom and solidarity.  

God is God again as unimaginable abyss of livingness…. Without this still-point of the turning world there would be no dance, and there is only the dance; without this silence there would be no music or word, which is where she can be heard; without this eclipse the rays of her fiery spirit would consume the world. What we can say is this: Holy Wisdom is a hidden God, absolute holy mystery. And this is an absolutely holy mystery of love, bent on the world’s healing and liberation through all of history’s reversals and defeats.  


Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, 10th anniv. ed. (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2002), 213–214.  

Image credit: A path from one week to the next— Jenna Keiper, Untitled. Jenna Keiper, Untitled. Izzy Spitz, Untitled. Watercolor. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. 

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise. 

Story from Our Community:  

For a long time, I struggled with what I perceived as conflicts between love, church, spirituality and living life. About 25 years ago I started hearing about Richard Rohr. Around that time, I also started attending 12-step meetings and Alanon.… Understanding the 12-steps and Buddhism have made me a better Christian. This journey of spiritual exploration has brought me a deeper inner joy and serenity. I’m inspired by the idea of an emerging church that is … more connected to life, nature, and the grace of the Trinity. I look forward to continuing my journey in an emerging community where I can openly share the gems of my spiritual discovery. —Ed L.  

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