WHAT IS THE TRINITY?

INTRO  John 20: 21-23   1 Cor 13:1-13   1 John 4: 7-16

[1] Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit – Three or One? How did the Christian community arrive at  what we call the ‘Doctrine of the Holy and Undivided Trinity’? First disciples were all Jewish and therefore firmly rooted for about 700 years (from the time of Isaiah the Prophet) in the belief that there is but one God. Yet they experienced Jesus as being the fulness of God among them – they experienced God owning him in a unique way as HIs Son. And after Pentecost they experienced Jesus alive within them and among them and the presence of God within in a new way – through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They experienced God as fully Abba, fully Jesus Christ, His Son and fully the Holy Spirit, the love and power of God binding them together in Christ. They experienced the Triune God before ever they came to the theological understanding of God as Trinity. The doctrine explained the experience, whereas to often for us the Doctrine replaces the experience!

[2] God is a Trinity of Love (Matthew 3: 16-17, Luke 3: 21-22 and Luke 9: 35) – self-emptying, reaching out love. God is not a lonely isolated power, but ‘persons’ in love. The being of God to love and be loved, a network of relationships. Each ‘person’ being the gift of the Other. A vortex of infinite giving, receiving, sharing love. Love not a thing, but love is persons in the activity and energy of loving. God is nothing but love, endless and all-encompassing. And we are made in the image and likeness of this Love we call God. We are relationship, love is our origin, love is our being, love is our destiny. Why Paul says ‘and the greatest of these is Love’.

[3] God is a Trinity of Community (John 17: 21-23) In this pandemic we are discovering afresh how vital and life-giving community is and how impoverished we are when we do not invest in community. Why the Church? – because only a community of love and faith can proclaim with authenticity a God who is the Community of Love. Only a community whose essence and purpose is Love can model (be a Sacrament) of this God who is Love. 

 [4] God is a Trinity of Mission (John 20: 21-23 and Acts 1: 7-8 ) – constant and eternal reaching out beyond self in self-giving. Expressed in each being gift to the other from eternity, giving and receiving identity, existence. That Divine Mission overflows (as all self-giving does) to transform the nothingness and emptiness into being and becoming – Creation, the explosion of Love astronomers call ‘The Big Bang at the origin of the Universe’. Why the Church’s identity is to be Mission, reaching out, existing for those beyond the limits of the Church.  Wherever Love (in all its multitude of forms) is need, there the Church is called to be in Mission. We proclaim this God by works as well as words – words meaningless without the reality of pouring loving into the needs and wounds of the world. 

AFTERWORD    God as Trinity is a call to contemplation – the God within calling us to the stillness of Love, gazing with love, letting God gaze upon us – so we become Love!

End with Prayer – Ephesians 3: 14-20 

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