Reducing the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity primarily to mathematics leads to absurdity.
(Reducing anything significant to mathematics almost always does.)
The church’s profession of this reality is one that began, was sustained, and has been upheld through experience with the three persons involved, their words and actions towards one another, and the truth revealed to the apostles and prophets in the Bible.
Many people have noticed that the Feast we celebrate this Sunday is the only time in the church year that we celebrate a summary of our faith instead of marking an event in the life of Christ or the Church. True enough, but this Sunday allows us to see together in one frame, the persons who have been moving creation and redemption towards their glorious goal since before time began.
If this Sunday’s Feast were a photographer’s studio, the church’s doctrine of the trinity is not about defining who gets to stand in the picture. Instead, it is to describe the ways to best illumine the three so as to see them each more clearly; both together and as one.
There is mystery here. Because there is true relationship here. Relationship more profound than any humanity has ever imagined. yet we try because our relationships are modeled and are echoes of the connections between the Father, Son and Spirit. Love derives its source from their essence.
There is mystery here. Because there is true unity here. Agreement sustained through diverse tasks, experiences, and gifts. Yet this unity is strengthened through adversity and diversity and calling. No grasping or self-promotion. We are drawn to such displays of deep and unshakeable unity even as we find ourselves surprised or exposed when we recognize our own patterns of disunity or self-aggrandizement.
There is mystery here. Because God is here. Any deity fully explainable is unworthy of your worship. This doesn’t give us permission to stop considering what God has revealed to us, but gives us the opportunity to see slowly how all the truth revealed about God, in unity and trinity, coheres together for us and our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329-c. 389) said it well when he wrote, “I cannot think of the One, but I am immediately surrounded with the glory of the Three; nor can I clearly discover the Three, but I am suddenly carried back to the One.”
Come this Sunday to celebrate the revelation of God to His people, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The God who is for us and for our world.
The God who loves us well enough and patiently enough to allow us to know him as he truly is; rather than just conveniently.
We also mark the day with our best wishes and prayers for Glenn and Jana as they prepare to move to South Carolina to begin seminary this Fall. Don’t miss a chance to tell them thank you for leading our youth and students closer to the Lord they both dearly love.
grace and certain hope,