Sunday, 3 June 2012

On the Trinity

Published in The Medicine Hat News yesterday:
For those of us in Calendar of the Church Year land, tomorrow is Trinity Sunday: an annual attempt to get our heads around one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith in worship.
How can there be One God in three persons and three persons in One God? I don't know. I feel like Paul must have felt when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13.12: “now I see in a mirror dimly…now I know in part; one day I shall know fully.”  
The word itself; Trinity, that is; doesn't appear in the Bible, yet the Bible makes many references to the idea. For example, Jesus himself says this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28.19) Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the three persons of the Holy Trinity. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, says it and Matthew records it to bless us and guide us. We are baptized with the Trinitarian formula that Jesus gave us. 
Although a mystery, like the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection, the Trinity is also a basic and fundamental tenet of our Christian faith.    
Here’s one way of thinking about the Trinity with reference to another three; Paul’s faith, hope and love in 1 Corinthians 13.  
Faith. "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God," Jesus says in John 14. In other words, have faith in the Father. First person. 
Hope. Paul calls Christ Jesus "our hope" in 1 Timothy. Second person. 
Love. What God, the Holy Trinity, is. The greatest of Paul’s three. Which “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5.5). Third person.  
CS Lewis wrote that, rather than simply rejecting Bible passages we don’t understand and mysterious truths like the Trinity, it is better to wait trusting that eventually a wiser person will come along who can explain it to us and God will appear “good and just and gracious in ways we never dreamed of!” Remember how the disciples’ hearts burned within them when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them on the road to Emmaus. Nothing is in the Bible by accident. 
Faith, hope and love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Holy, holy, holy! God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity! May you enjoy a richly mysterious and wonderful triple blessing in worship tomorrow.