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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Friendly Three

Today is Trinity Sunday. It is a feast. Sadly, it is not much celebrated. Most Christians do not give much thought to the Trinity. That is why very little contemporary Christian music mentions the Trinity. I googled it and came upon this article a few years ago which references research in 2004.

He states what I thought, that at that time there was little contemporary Christian music about the Trinity (He said a Christian record executive told him it was because 'no one cares' and the purpose for music is to make people 'feel' Jesus). Another blog which focuses on this issue can be found here and he seems to be aware of how serious a problem this is. It is a deep problem which has to do with truth, orthodxy and right worship.

God's fullest revelation of Himself to humanity is in and through Jesus. We also "hear" God in what we commonly refer to as revelation namely the Bible. Most Christians also think that God reveals Himself in and through His Church. The communication to us from God is that the One God is a Trinity of Persons. One God. Three Persons. This sublime mystery is so far beyond our limited minds to comprehend. Yet, not understanding, we still know. We know that.... God is one in three and three in one: Father, Son and Spirit.

Celtic Spiritualilty was thoroughly Trinitarian. I once read a Celtic Prayer which included the words "Friendly Three" and my image of God was forever changed. I am good about seeing that God is holy and transcendent. I get God should be worshipped. I am not always attuned to the 'friendly' and it was very inviting. The Friendly Three just seemed to say, "The life is great, come on in." It is a helpful insight for me.

I have made a focused effort to be more Trinitarian in my prayer for several months. This seems to be more faithful and closer to the truth of reality. And in a world (and church) swirling with lies and deceit TRUTH is a sweet tonic! I also think that the word Trinity is foundational for understanding God and ourselves. As I said in my preaching today, when someone says the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible it makes me want to scream. The question is, is the Trinitarian Nature of God in the Bible? The answer there is yes, over and over. The reality of Trinity is there. We use the word, which was coined a couple hundred years after Jesus, to express what has been revealed. Trinity matters because it is the reason why the Incarnation is possible and the reason why sanctification is possible. (There are reasons why Muslims have a very different understanding of the God revealed to Abraham.) I think that should be sufficient motivation for any Christian to ponder the mystery more.

Also, we are made in the image of God. This is from chapter one of the Book! Early church Fathers made much of the words "Let us make man in our image and likeness." While the original authors would not say God was a Trinity, one cannot help but wonder what they did think. (OT reference to pre-existent Wisdom, the Spirit of God and, of course, extra-Biblical reflection on pre-existent Torah all remind us that their view was more complex than we might otherwise expect) If God is triune than what does that do to our anthropology? What does it mean to be human? How would God's image and likeness be expressed in authentic human living? I would think Jesus gives us a big hint when He tells us the Great Commandment is loving God and  the second is like it, love your neighbor.

God is love. The Trinity is a relationship of love: self gift in love, self denial in love, other focused in love. We are the beneficiaries of the Love Who is God. It is why He created us, made covenant with us, forgives and heals us, becomes incarnate for us, pours His life into us, reaches for us even as we ignore or reject Him. It is why we hunger for relationship and know that we want more than we can ever find here on earth (at present). It is why we can face our sin with hope. For He is the Friendly Three. Source and Companion. He is on our side, more than we are on our own side! He (They) has given us a small slice of knowledge about Him (Them). We do not know much, but what we know explains a great deal: about Who He is, who we are and what we are called to be! It is sufficient reason to perhaps ponder Trinity over and over again.

Happy Memorial Day wishes to you! I return to my blog on Thursday. We have family activities which preclude me writing the next few days.

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