Trinity Sunday is not an occasion looked forward to with great joy by preachers. Strange analogies will be shared: water=ice, liquid, steam. Egg= yoke, white, shell. Three leaf clovers and so on. Here is the most recent I have spotted:
The Trinity is like a Telephone
Shiny, shapely, shatter proof
Together, one phone
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Together, one God.
All of this stuff leaves me completely cold so how about a joke instead-a Jewish joke told by Rabbi Lionel Blue and shared with Falcon Lodge last year.
A Jewish man was hit by a bus: A kind priest rushed over to him bent down and said:
Do you believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?
The Jew looked up and said; “I’m dying and he’s asking me riddles!”
The Rabbi then delivers his punch line: A lot of Christianity is a riddle if you are outside it!
But then Judaism can seem a riddle to those who are outside that. So there Rabbi!!
But so far as Christianity is concerned we are insiders. And from the inside we can only say that in our experience this is the account of God’s being that seems true for us. That God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit may seem a riddle to them but from our vantage point it seems true for us. We have felt the power of God moving in our lives and we have been caught up in love and praise. This isn’t about intellectual speculation it’s about relationships. Ourselves and God. God and us. You and I together.
Firstly God has come amongst us. God has given himself to us in Jesus Christ. If you want to know what God is like look at Jesus. He’s the best image of God we have. As Jesus says in John’s gospel; he who has seen me has seen the Father. This is what Christmas is about-a celebration of our faith in a God who is not only the creator of the universe but also one of us. This is quite an extraordinary idea but it makes all sorts of things possible. God in our understanding is not throned above, remotely high, a distant lawgiver or a judge. He has entered our life! Consequently things could be different: we could be changed; indeed the whole world could be changed. That’s well worth celebrating and it’s particularly worthwhile to celebrate it with others.
Secondly: God is still with us. He’s with us in the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus. Christianity is not a set of stories about a figure from the past that we are invited to admire. Christ is alive-the story of the coming of his Kingdom is an unfinished story and we part of that story. We feel the Spirit’s presence in our hearts prompting our actions in the name of love.
And thirdly Gods love is all around us. The whole created order is an expression of God’s love not only for us but for all the creatures he has made. We look upon the world and it is beautiful and good. And its goodness is an expression of the good God who made it and sustains it moment by moment. Our involvement in environmental causes stems from this
In the famous Russian icon of the Trinity are shown three angelic figures sitting around a table. But the fourth side, the side facing the viewer is open. That’s our side: God’s life of love is incomplete without you and me. God come amongst us, God for us and God inviting us to share the divine life.
This then is our faith. God is one: Father, son and Holy Spirit. Amen.