Thoughts on the Holy Trinity by Canon Dean Fostekew

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Trinity Sunday, a day in which we celebrate the three persons manifested by God, three ways of being the one and only God. When one says it or writes it, it seems quite simple but to many when we talk of the three persons in the God head they may assume we are talking about three gods and not One God.

I can remember when I was at Theological College having to write an essay on the doctrine of the Trinity; the more I thought about it the more I became convinced that a blank sheet of paper would say as much about the Trinity as I could possibly attempt to say in 2000 words. I’m still not convinced that that course of action would not have been better this morning.

On the face of it the Trinity seems to be perfectly straightforward; God is one God manifested as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each being in God is a separate whole and each being is God at the same time.

One God but three beings - simple! Or Not!
I remember trying to explain the Trinity to a Hindu friend at school. I did my best but I think we both ended up utterly befuddled. He had a wonderful understanding of a multitude of different gods exhibiting different aspects of godly behaviour but struggled with the idea of one God having different beings of himself. I got the idea of many different gods but did wonder how my God was able to exhibit three beings at the same time? I think we both decided that God and gods were mysteries and not ever meant to be fully understood or comprehended.

My thinking has moved on from my school days and I believe become more simple rather than complex. The more I have thought about the Trinity over the years of study, prayer and

experience I have come to understand it by thinking about it in very simple terms.

Here’s one:
I am a son, a brother, a partner, a granddad and an uncle, a priest but I am still only Dean; one human being but functioning in a myriad of different ways.

And here is another example:

Each of us is unique. There has never been another human being exactly like you or me and there will never be another you or me in quite the same way as we are. Yet each of us fit perfectly into the human race and into God’s creation. We form part of that creation and help complete the unity which God has designed. That unity would not exist without us and that unity will keep expanding to contain all of God’s creation until the end of time. Creation contains more beings than the Trinity but like the Trinity we are all needed in it to make it whole.

If we can think of the Trinity as a whole with different aspects to it; perhaps it becomes more easy to understand. God is the Creator, the Spirit and the Christ. These three beings hold together because they show us different faces of the one God and they hold together because of love.

Love is the glue that binds the Trinity, love is the thing that is expressed by the three beings of the Trinity in their different ways and love is what makes the Trinity immortal and everlasting, for love never dies. Love may change and grow, diminish or expand but it never dies. It is quite frankly the life energy of the universe and all creation and I think best describes what God actually is.

So to describe the Trinity as love means that if love is the whole, the unity; then the ways in which it is expressed show us different aspects of that unity, of that whole. God is the loving creator or parent - the Father. Jesus is the human face of God sent to love us, and the Spirit is the power and wisdom of love sent to change us and to draw us close. All different

aspects of the one love which is ultimately God.

We will never be able to fully explain the Trinity but if we try to keep it simple and look at it in terms of love, we might get a glimpse of what God is all about.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name,

in earth and sky and sea; Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!