Today is Trinity Sunday, when Christians contemplate this unique understanding of God as Holy One, Holy Three. This text from John is one of the few places in scripture when God Creator, God Savior, and God Spirit are all present in the same passage. There is much about a trinitarian image of God which is life-giving and powerful. In particular, it highlights the importance of community and relationships. If God’s own self is relational, then we too need to be attentive to community and getting along with others.
Yet the Trinity can be difficult to understand, and various metaphors are offered. Jeremy Begbie, in his book Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music, suggests that most metaphors for the Trinity rely on visual imagery which makes it difficult to explain how three might occupy the same space. He suggests that music provides a helpful way to understand the Trinity and talks about a three-note chord. When considered audibly, we recognize that three distinct notes may be heard at once and be individually discerned.* This resonates for me.
In many ways, it is good that the concept of the Trinity remains a bit of a mystery. God is always greater than we can conceive. So we dance with images and metaphors. One image may be meaningful for a season; a different metaphor may speak at another time. What images and metaphors for God do you turn to most often? What new images might remind you that God is greater than our human thoughts?
*Jeremy Begbie, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, p. 293, (electronic edition).
Holy One, Holy Three, beyond our understanding and closer than the air we breathe, make us aware of your abiding presence, and enable us to be ever more compassionate. Amen.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine in the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.
Read Isaiah 6:1-8. Can you recall a time when you said to God, “Here I am; send me”? What prompted you? What helped you feel empowered to serve?
Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
Read Romans 8:12-17. When has fear controlled you? How does being led by God’s Spirit free you from fear?
Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?
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