God’s love for his only Son, Christ’s love for God, the Holy Spirit reaching out to guide, love and protect us.
Posted in , Jun 7, 2017
This Sunday (the Sunday after the Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar) we celebrate Trinity Sunday. How do you describe the Trinity? How do you explain it? I remember feeling stumped when I had to teach about the Trinity to a Sunday school class of 5th and 6th graders. I was getting myself all tied up in theological knots.
Fortunately a friend set me straight. “It’s really very simple,” he said. “The Trinity is all about love. God is love, and we see love best expressed in relationship. That’s what the Trinity is.”
Love is not static. It gives, it receives, it comforts, it expands, it makes room, it reaches out, it reaches deep within us. When you love someone you can never do enough to make that clear.
That dynamic is demonstrated in the Trinity. God’s love for his only Son, Christ’s love for God, the Holy Spirit reaching out to guide, love and protect us.
“The three in one and one in three,” we sing on Trinity Sunday. God is not a single figure scowling down at us from the heavens. God is a family–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–and when a family loves each other, love surrounds you, embracing you.
Not long ago, my wife and I were visiting our sons in California. They both live out there, thousands of miles away from us, and it was a thrill to be with them, to talk, to hike, to eat and drink together (not for nothing did Jesus reveal himself to His disciples over a meal).
We also celebrated our oldest son William’s engagement to his fiancée, Karen. What a good time that was. Love was bouncing off the walls.
Later that weekend we were visiting the Legion of Honor art museum in San Francisco. There I came upon a piece of medieval sculpture that showed the Trinity. God sitting on His throne, holding a cross with Jesus on it, and in between them a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit.
There was the family of God all in one image. I could imagine worshippers over the centuries kneeling in front of it, observing the countless ways God shows His sacrificial love.
Sometimes I find myself addressing my prayers to Jesus the Son, sometimes to God the Father, and sometimes to that numinous power, the Holy Spirit. The point is they are a committee of one. They are always working together.
That’s the message of the Trinity. Love is at work in our lives. Love coming down and expressing itself in many ways. Happy Trinity Sunday!