God as three persons—this sometimes baffling concept can fill us with wonder and awe.
Posted in , May 26, 2022
Mark your calendar. It’s coming up, Trinity Sunday, June 12. That day when we honor the most profound, and sometimes baffling, concept—the Trinity. God as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you’re like me, you might sometimes wonder, “Why complicate things? Does the Trinity even need to be part of my Christian faith?”
The short answer: Yes. Make it part of your prayers. Let it fill you with wonder and awe. Honoring the Trinity will enrich your spiritual life. Here’s what it will show you.
God is bigger than we can possibly imagine. Sometimes I want to put God in a box. To have it all figured out. But if God weren’t a mystery, God wouldn’t be God. “It is easier to gaze into the sun than into the face of the mystery of God,” said the medieval mystic Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179). “Such is its beauty and its radiance.” We were meant to worship Something big, beyond our understanding.
God is dynamic. Love is active, not passive. As we know from Scripture, God is love. God’s love for the Son, the Son’s love for the Father, the Spirit constantly at work in the world. Back and forth, going multiple ways, a powerful witness to the way we experience love in our own lives. There is nothing static about this Trinitarian God.
God is present. Why did Jesus promise to send this Spirit to the disciples? Why would they need it? “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you,” as Jesus said (John 14:26). Even after being with Jesus face-to-face, they needed to learn more. To grow. Don’t we?
God comes in threes. I love all the symbols that relate to the Trinity, in particular the Trinity knot. It’s a bit like a three-leaf clover with all three interlocked. The way you can’t take God away from the Son or the Son away from the Father, or the Holy Spirit from both. There is often a circle girding it all, a sign of eternal love. Sometimes an image can say far more than words.
Go for the Trinitarian blessing. The last thing that Jesus said, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew, was to tell the disciples, “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). That Trinitarian blessing was a powerful tool for the disciples. It can be powerful for us.
God is “from,” “for” and “through.” We come to know God through relationships. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) When you’re praying, you’re never alone. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are right there with you. As Thomas Merton once put it, you belong to God, and God belongs to you.