Today is Trinity Sunday: a concept that theologians have wrestled with for centuries without coming to a clear consensus around its meaning. It is an official doctrine of the church, meaning that as Anglicans, it is part of the established canon of what we profess to believe. As a child I was taught that the Trinity describes three ‘persons’ in one God.  I found that explanation confusing as a child and I don’t find it particularly helpful now. However, we aren’t expected to fully understand but rather to explore the mystery of these three aspects of God.  I think the Orthodox Metropolitan Ignatius of Laodicea describes it in a way that makes sense to me:

 “Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant, Christ is merely a historical figure, the Gospel  is a dead letter, the Church is just an organization, authority is domination, mission is propaganda, liturgy is only nostalgia, and the work of Christians is slave labour. But with the Holy Spirit, Christ is risen and present, the Gospel is a living force, the church is a communion in the life of the Trinity, authority is a service that sets people free, mission is Pentecost, the liturgy is memory and anticipation, and the labour of Christians is divinised.”

One way of looking at it is to consider these three aspects of the Trinity and how they are in relationship to one another: The very first words in the Bible are “God created the heaven and the earth” so we know that God is a Creator, not only then, but in an ongoing way. God continues because God is all about relationship and community. God is not a God that is far away but as close as our own breathing.   As Jesus, God became a human being for a time to experience firsthand what it is like to be one of God’s own creatures. Having lived on the earth for thirty-three years, God had an inside understanding of humanity and knew that we needed to experience God in a a very personal and direct way, so God came to us as the Holy Spirit, the Animator, often called ‘the Helper’.  One God who has shown up for us in three different ways.

The opening of Scripture sets the tone for how we are to understand God. God is one, God is universal, God creates, sustains, orders, preserves, provides and loves. The first creation account offers an important opportunity to speak about the centrality of God in Scripture. It also speaks about how God breathes life into us,  into humanity. In the beginning, God…… Scripture begins not with the choosing of Abraham or the election of Israel, but with creation.   This means that we must reject any ethnic, parochial, or provincial understanding of God. God is a universal God, not a God of any one people, nation, or race. God’s creational activity is inclusive. God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on all humans, animals, and plants. God blesses all creation. Who is this God that we serve? The real issue is not that God created the world but why God created the world. God created the universe out of love. God’s speciality is loving and caring for creation. God demonstrates this communal love in the collaborative way that the world operates. Genesis recounts six days of creation. Nothing is made for itself alone.

The doctrine of the Trinity demonstrates that we are all called to be in communion with one another. We are created for community. This is why human beings will always find ways to be in community; if not in church, in clubs, at hockey games, concerts, social gatherings etc.  The Trinity teaches us that we need this; we are communal people, we can’t do life on our own. In the words of the English writer John Donne: “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent. A part of the main”.

The Trinity teaches us something else that is equally important: namely that God will go to any lengths to be in relationship with us, His beloved creatures. And don’t forget that God is omnipotent, the consummate artist, able to manifest in different ways in order to be present to us, to teach and to heal us, to empower and animate us.

The unknowable one has made themselves known. The incomprehensible one has made themselves heard. God searches for us to complete the revelation of God’s being. This is the mind-blowing, amazing reality. God seeks us, not because of anything we have done, but because the Creator of the Universe longs to be in relationship with their creation.  Amen.