This coming Sunday is called Trinity Sunday. It is set aside to celebrate the understanding of God as being three in one. Usually we speak of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The concept being reached for is that God has expressed God’s person to us in what humanly seems to be three distinct ways, but God is in fact one being. There is but one God, and no other.
The word trinity is not directly in the scriptures, but there are many places where the experience of God leads us to no other conclusion. At the time of creation God was present. God’s Spirit was moving over the face of the waters, and then God spoke and by God’s word everything was created. So, there was God’s being, God’s Spirit, and God’s creative word. This nature of God runs throughout the Bible. Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Once again, a threefold understanding of God. God is experienced as being a being in inapproachable light, as with Moses on Mt. Sinai. God is the tangible realty, such as Jesus or even the rock in the wilderness that was present with the children of Israel. (1 Cor. 10:4). God is the ever-present spirit that shares in our lives. In many places through the Old and New Testament mention is made of the Spirit of God being with a person.
Most of the time, I do not preach on the Trinity directly, because theological discussions of any length in a sermon tend to be difficult for most people to listen to. Who really wants to ferret-out all the significant nuances relating to what we can understand about the nature of God, and what that means to our understanding of God? But then again, dare we not?
In some ways maybe the answers to our questions lie within our own make up. Genesis tell us that we are made in God’s image. What do we believe about ourselves? Certainly, we have bodies, but we believe that when this body comes to an end, there is more to us than what we can see. We believe that there is a soul that embodies our personality and mental being. If I die, I will still know who I am and what I have learned and experienced. Life isn’t summed up in the human brain. I have one friend that insist that the brain is too simple to contain the sum of our existence, and that that we simultaneously exist here and at some greater level. Maybe, he is right, but regardless I think life goes on even after the body ceases to be. Within all of this is a spiritual core that dictates our affections and connections within life. The Christian faith tells us that we are spiritually dead, until we accept Christ and the Spirit of God into our lives. Theologians and preachers speak of a God shaped void within our lives that only God can fill, because God designed us in this way. In essence if we are Body, Soul, and Spirit, then we ourselves have a trinitarian make up. Are you just a body, a soul, or a spirit? Is not each distinct, yet the same? Does not the sum of all declare your being?
So, it might not be odd at all to think of God as three in one. God just presents himself on a much grander scale than ourselves. There is who God is, what we see, and the affections and connections of God in life with all things.
I imagine if we follow this line of thought we must come to a number of significant conclusions. God is love and God wants us to love too. God is life, and wants to give us life, resurrecting us in body, soul, and spirit. God is one, and we are born as unique creations.
No one will understand all there is to understand about God and life. It is a bit like the sermon illustration of three blind men who were describing an elephant. Each had their hands on the same elephant, but each gave an entirely different report based on what part of the elephant they were touching. You may come to some different thoughts on this matter, but mostly I think we come closest to the truth when we realize that God created us and is intently interested in our individual wellbeing. God has a plan for each of us and a place of salvation where he will knock the dust and dirt off of us after this life, restore us to wholeness, and grant us life in his presence. If the Trinity teaches us anything, it is that we do not walk alone.