As a church-loving Gaelophile, I got all tingly at the chance to worship on Trinity Sunday yesterday in Dublin. It was the patronal festival of “The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, commonly called Christ Church,” and it was pure joy. The church was founded an astonishing thousand years ago, but the Anglican bits date “only” to the 1660s.
At the same time, as a church professional, I admit it took me a while to settle down from professional interest into worship. For one thing, the Trinity is the doctrine most likely to make a thinking Christian tear out his or her hair. Helpfully, the preacher, the Dean of Cork, suggested that the Trinity is not actually a doctrine, but a person: a person in whom we live, move, and have our being. That’s nice.
The processional hymn was, of course, my beloved St. Patrick’s Breastplate, which is always fresh and new to me, despite its familiarity.
The cathedral choir, undergirded by the ancient acoustics, and it is impossible to say this without using a cliché, sounded like angels. One of the loveliest moments occurred when the choir, having removed itself to a side chapel, sang a communion anthem that seemed to emanate from the old stones themselves.
The Archbishop of Dublin dismissed us: “God the holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace.” There is nothing like a Trinitarian blessing in an Irish voice.
I think you aren’t supposed to “understand” the Trinity. I think you just let it flow over you.
See a portion of choir rehearsal here: