Getting to Know the Holy Trinity

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Every year, as Trinity Sunday draws nearer, preachers and teachers in the Church get anxious. Many feel obliged to try and explain the Holy Trinity in their sermon, which is a frightening prospect. The Holy Trinity is called a holy mystery for good reason: it’s not something that humanity can adequately explain. And trying to explain it just gets us wrapped up in pretzel-like shapes around poor metaphors and tricky theology.

Holy mysteries like the nature of God, sacraments, the Incarnation, Resurrection, Ascension, and many other important facets of our faith are not puzzles to be solved. Rather, they are like long, long ongoing conversations with lifelong friends. Each bit of the conversation reveals a little more, widens and deepens the conversation, but the talking is never quite done. Some theologians compare the mysteries to a wrestling match where the point is not who wins, but the struggle in the middle; a more vigorously athletic take on the common proverb that “it’s about the journey, not the destination”.

I have heard it said that it is better to try to know the Holy Trinity than it is to try and understand the Holy Trinity, and I think this is true. Like the image of a long, ongoing conversation, this observation has the right “feel” to me. God wants a relationship with us, both as individuals and as humanity. God reaches out and invites us into relationship, into conversation, into an intimacy unlike anything else we will experience in our lives.

Our human curiosity leads us to want to understand God the way we think we understand other parts of creation, but God’s nature proves, every time, to be more deep, more broad, more high, more complex, more simple, more dark, more light, and a thousand thousand other “mores” than we can hold. At first blush, this may seem like a disappointing inadequacy on our part. But God, out of infinite love for us, finds a way to make this, too, into a blessing. Because God is more than we can understand, God invites us to spend our lives in relationship and uses each day, each moment, each sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, to reveal another part of the beautiful divine self to us. Rather than be overwhelmed with the whole of God all at once, God meets us at our own pace, our own time, our own experience, and carries on this self-revelation throughout our lives.

What an immense blessing to know and be known, to see and be seen, to meet God and to be met by God.

Wishing you all a most blessed feast day.

Written for the Parish of Holy Trinity, Winnipeg.

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