Thoughts on the Trinity
We are currently living in unprecedented times, due to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic affecting our country and many others around the world. We are instructed to stay at home, only make essential journeys and, although now able to meet our families outdoors, to adhere to social distancing rules to keep 2 metres apart. Our cat Zebby has certainly taken this to heart, taking himself into our spare bedroom and settling himself down on to a bed settee, where he spends his days self isolating.
As we have all been subject to these restrictions, it has not been possible to continue our normal church life. Our churches are closed for services, although services have been broadcast via Skype or online. We have moved from the end of Lent, through Passiontide, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost without having been able to join together to celebrate these significant events in the church’s calendar.
Now we move to the season of Trinity, starting on 7 June with Trinity Sunday itself. It is the longest season in the church’s year, sometimes described as a “growing season”, reflected in the colour of the priest’s vestments, pulpit fall, chalice veil etc – green.
On Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of our faith – one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (our Saviour Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, sent at Pentecost. Three persons but one God. In the words of a hymn: Three in one and one in three.
How can this be? How can we have three persons but one God; one God but three persons?
During this Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has said that all its actions and guidelines have “followed the science”. If we follow the science, can we find an explanation for the Trinity? Let’s look.
Several attempts have been made to illustrate the Trinity – three separate parts but one whole.
The leaf of a shamrock has three parts or sepals but it is one leaf.
A triangle has 3 angles, as its name says, but it is one geometrical shape.
3) Chemical composition
What is the chemical formula for water? H2O.
What about steam or ice? They are both water aren’t they, but in different forms?
So their chemical formula is the same, isn’t it?
All these try to demonstrate that we can have three separate parts of the same entity but they are all one entity. But do they?
In an age when it seems we have to try to find an explanation for everything, I believe that the Trinity defies explanation. It is at the heart of our Christian faith and belief but remains a mystery. Isn’t it good to have some mysteries in our lives?
May the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Holy Mystery, be with us all at this time and in the future times ahead.