This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. The Holy Trinity is one of the hardest things to believe about our Christian faith. I believe it is also one of the most beautiful things we believe. Three persons in one God. Triune. What does that even mean anyway? We see through a glass dimly and don’t get to have full understanding. But we can grope toward seeing a little more clearly.
Perichoresis refers to the indwelling of the three persons of God, each within the other. St. Bernard of Clairvaux described the Trinity as a kiss. The Father kisses the Son. The Son receives the kiss. The kiss itself is the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and Son. The saint called the holy Spirit the unshakeable bond of the Father and Son, their undivided love, their indivisible unity.
A lot of the rationale for the Holy Trinity comes from the Gospel of John, the Farewell Discourse. In chapter 17 of John Jesus talks a lot about dwelling in the Father. He says that if you have seen him, you have seen the Father. He also promises to send a Spirit who will help the disciples to complete the work that Jesus has begun.
The Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a model of living in communal love. Each person of God is distinct, yet so unified with the others that they cannot be separated. Each person of God is continually pouring himself out for the other persons and continually receiving from them. It is true love constantly played out. The persons of God are infinitely hospitable to each other.
What difference does the Holy Trinity make in our lives? For one thing it gives us Jesus, fully human and fully divine. Jesus knows what it is like to live as we do, for he shared our common lot. Yet he is also God, with the full power of God. We can feel closer to Jesus than the other persons of God because he is like us.
The Holy Trinity gives us a God who is multi-faceted, a God who can and does do so much. We have the Creator, the Father, who brings forth the world and holds it constantly. We have the Holy Spirit, who brings us wisdom and understanding and leads us into being church, and of course we have Jesus, whose love is so personal and close. Without these distinct aspects of God, we would not have the Christianity that we know.
Take a few moments to meditate on the threefold nature of the one God who created us, inspires us and loves us right where we are. We don’t have to understand to be in awe and full of gratitude.
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