Last Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost. In April, we experienced joy on Easter Sunday. In just 28 weeks, it’ll be Christmas Day! All these Sundays remind us of first events: the coming of the Holy Spirit; the Resurrection and the birth of Jesus Christ.
If we were asked the question: ‘When was the first Trinity Sunday?’ we’d find it difficult to answer. This is because Trinity Sunday is the one major festival in the church’s year that doesn’t mark out an event of history. We also won’t find the word ‘Trinity’ anywhere in scripture but we will find lots of teachings about it if we want to take the trouble to search and study.
One of the most well-known Trinitarian references comes from Matthew 28v19. Jesus tells his disciples: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
As a Jew, Jesus would have learnt from the Law: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. His command then to his disciples about baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit might well have confused them. The same could be said of us today.
John Wesley wrote: “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the Triune God.” He understood how puzzled we can all get!
Of course, there are a number of ways to help us to understand the Holy Trinity. We could use the example of family members: father, mother and child who share the name of Smith. In mathematical terms we would describe them as 1+1 +1 = 3 – but this would not be a correct analogy of the Holy Trinity!
It would be more correct to describe the Godhead like this: 1x1x1= 1. In other words, the three together make One.
So maybe along with countless others, we don’t fully understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity. What we do need to know, though, is that God is absolute love and within the Godhead, there is perfect relationship, utter co-operation and total purpose: to love the world. I like the honest words of Thomas R Steagald because they indeed give me ‘great comfort.’ I hope that they help you, too.
“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit remind us that there is always more of God than we know, always more of God than we can explain, always more of God than we can show. The Trinity says God is not in a box but is bigger, much bigger than we imagine. God is more powerful than we sometimes want to believe or remember, but in remembering there is great comfort.”
With love, Anne Lovegrove