Trinity Sunday 2020
What is the Holy Trinity?
I suppose the first response could be; ‘Well that’s a very good question? Can you give me a few thousand years to get back to you with a definitive answer?’ Which is basically, what the Church has been doing since the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at that first Pentecost.
The second response could be much simpler; ‘The Trinity is an expression of love.’ What I mean by that, is that if we believe that God is ultimately love, then the three ways in which God identifies himself to us are expressions of that love which is God.
God the Father or Mother or Parent or Creator, which ever title you favour is one expression of love. It is an expression that includes a creative power that can shape and form creation and each one of us in God’s own being. God the Creator is a loving parent who forms us and cares so deeply about us that we will never be able to fully comprehend the depth of his love. The closest we could, perhaps, come to understanding is that God the Father’s love is like that of our parents or those who nurtured us and loved us beyond measure, even when we disappointed them or drove them mad.
God the Son, is somewhat easier to get our heads around because it relates to the person of Jesus Christ. St.John called Jesus the ‘Word’ and at the beginning of his Gospel account implies that Jesus the word, was a pre-existing being, part of God who has been with God for eternity:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5
The Son then came to live among us so that God could show us how much we loved us by the fact that God himself was prepared to die for us. God the Father did not just see his Son die. God himself experienced death and died on the Cross to prove the depth of his love and the extent to which he would go to prove his love for his creation. The Son, Jesus, is the human face of God and as such, a part of the Trinity we can better comprehend because we see God in his humanity in the same ways that we see our own humanity and the humanity in those around us.
The Holy Spirit, which has also been pre-existent with the Word and the Creator is the agent of God who can move freely and unhindered as it does God’s bidding. The beginning of Genesis tells us this:
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God (the Spirit) swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5
The Holy Spirit, did not suddenly appear from nowhere at Pentecost but has been active in the Creation and in the lives of humanity from the dawn of creation. The Holy Spirit is the agent of change and the bearer of God’s blessing and grace, which can be poured over us as God wishes and God uses the Spirit to offer us his love time and time again.
So there you have it, or not. The Trinity as I have come to experience and understand it over the years is one being that expresses itself in three very different ways. As the Creator and loving parent; as our loving human brother and as a power for change and good which is fuelled by love. The Trinity, is I believe best expressed as love. A love that would and could do anything for all of us and all of creation to try and ensure that all we do is inspired and driven by love.
There are many examples at this present time that are, I think, good expressions of what the Trinity is all about. If the Trinity is ultimately about love and the way in which love binds the three persons of the Godhead together and unites them with us the Creation; then the way in which many of our fellow human beings have been going beyond their duties is a good example of that binding love. In God we are all one, we are all God’s creation and loved equally by God. If it is love that binds the Trinity then it is that love which inspires many of us to put others before ourselves because of the ways in which we are united with them. Love is the key to understanding the Trinity and the driving force for the creation in its love and care for each other.
Confused? Well, you are in good company for as I said at the start Christians have been discussing and disagreeing about who and what the Holy Trinity is for centuries and we have not stopped yet. But then that is one of the joys of theology because there is always more to discover and learn about God, for God is the one being we can never fully come to know, simply because we are not God. Enjoy the confusion and the arguments and somewhere within it all you will get a glimpse of what and who God really is, even if only for a fleeting moment.