Thinking Anew: The Blessed Trinity – harmony in unity
The trinitarian understanding of God provides a role model towards which we can have the temerity to strive. And we can be assured that we will never be let down.
Cycling one morning on a main road I came to a junction. A car approached on the minor road, did not stop and came very close to hitting me and knocking me off my bicycle. I was shocked and shouted at the driver. He immediately saw what he had done, stopped and apologised. In response I relented and thanked him for his kind words. We chatted for a moment, smiled and parted. So easily it could have been a different story. We could both have lost our tempers, shouted expletives at each other, got angry. Instead, it turned out to be a pleasant encounter.
Right now the world seems to be so full of anger and hatred. Maybe it’s always been the case but the level of palpable explicit disharmony around the world is scary.
Every day we read and see terrible acts of violence and hatred.
On May 14th, the US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. It was all done in great style and splendour. Present at the occasion were Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Ivanka dressed to perfection and husband Jared perfectly groomed.
The following day newspapers printed pictures of the of the event side-by-side with photos of unfortunate Palestinians demonstrating at the fence dividing Palestine from Israel. On that day 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. The juxtaposition was startling. Splendour and glamour next door to alienation and frustration.
The animosity, the hatred between the two warring factions, regularly comes to the surface.
Tomorrow is the feast of the Blessed Trinity. Theologians talk about it as being a mystery and for generations upon generations “experts” have entered the world of mental gymnastics in an attempt to give some sort of meaning to the idea of three persons in one God. There is a long tradition in the church of talking about the Trinity in terms of relationships and processions. Once we say anything about God we say it in terms of analogy. The theological refinements of what we claim about the Trinity can easily leave us mystified. Nevertheless, the communitarian aspect of the Trinity could and should be a great source of inspiration and encouragement to us. The Trinity, indeed, everything to do with the Christian faith is deeply centred on community, people living in harmony, respect and love with one another. The Trinity is about perfect harmony being realised in unity. It is about the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. In modern vocabulary, accepting difference within community.
These days we place great stress in the importance of role models. And when they let us down people feel greatly deflated. The trinitarian understanding of God provides a role model towards which we can have the temerity to strive. And we can be assured that we will never be let down.
Two of the most basic Christian prayers are the Sign of a the Cross and the Glory be to the Father. The next time you say them, why not say them slowly, thinking of what you are saying and then realising that when we attempt to live in union and respect with one another we are complementing those prayers.
When there is a sense of unity and respect between peoples, we have a far better chance of making our world a finer place.
We should ask our political leaders to work for unity, to help bring people of different views and opinions to respect and understand one another. The best of leaders show their strength and wisdom when they support the weak and fragile in society.
Let the wonder of the Trinity impress us in our search for unity and accord in a world so often frightened and broken by disunity and discord.
And always remember the last verses in St Matthew’s Gospel: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)