It’s usually in May or June that, if you’re a member of the clergy, you have I to start thinking about the Holy Trinity, i That’s because Trinity Sunday occurs in either of these months. The problem is that one usually thinks of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a question, a riddle to be solved. How can one be three and three be one? It doesn’t work. It’s better to think of the Holy Trinity as an answer.
Let’s firstly explore exactly what we are saying when we speak about the Trinity. We are saying that in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit share the same being, though being different persons. In John’s gospel, chapter 14, Jesus says, in response to the request to show us the Father: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” There are two things to draw out from this: the words “am” and “is” relate to something “being”, but more importantly, what Jesus is not saying is “I am the Father” for He is not. Rather, He declares that He and the Father are one in essence and undivided in nature, while btinct Persons in the Godhead, (*)
A little later on in the same chapter, “If you love me keep my commandments and I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper, that he may abide with you forever the spirit of truth... You know him j for he dwells with you and will be in you... At that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you...”
What we are being told by this is that in Jesus, God is at work in drawing us into the divine life through His (God the Son’s) participation in our human, creaturely life. Moreover, God continues to draw us into is life through God’s continuing presence in the work of the Holy Spirit.
If you look at an Icon of the Holy Trinity, you will see a table at which there are four places. Three of the places are already taken, the fourth place, as it were, is for you. In other words, the idea of the Trinity is an expression of the notion that God is continually seeking to draw us into His life.” He (God), indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God.” That is the mystery that the Trinity is seeking to express, and it is intended to express by what means God participates in our humanity., in the person of Jesus, and through the work of the Holy Spirit. We are invited by this participation in us to participate in God. Like iron which by nature is not fire, we human beings are not God. But, plunge the iron into the fire and through that participation it takes on something of the nature of the fire. In our baptism we participate in the life, death and resurrection of the one who has already participated in our mortality. Our life in Christ therefore draws us closer and closer into our life in God.
So don’t worry about making a circle out of the triangle; Live with the paradox. Ask rather, how can I participate more deeply in the life of God?
Vicar’s thoughts for June 2017