Vicar's June Letter

Revd. Angela Walker    

Have you ever tried explaining the Trinity to anyone?

I tried to do just that at a school assembly this week. As I write we have just celebrated Pentecost Sunday and the following week will be Trinity Sunday. We celebrate many festivals in the Christian church and yet some are more familiar to us than others. Most of us know about Christmas and the fact that we celebrate the birth of Jesus at that time. Easter comes next and some will be aware that this is the time when Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. But that isn’t the end of the story because the next festival we celebrate is Ascension where we mark the fact that Jesus went back up to heaven (ascended). At that time Jesus promised his followers that by going back to the Father he would then be able to send His Holy Spirit. He instructed them to wait for his promise to be fulfilled.

That is where the next festival comes in, Pentecost. Pentecost is the time when we celebrate the fact that God poured out his Holy Spirit for all people. So from this we can see that God comes to us in different ways. Initially, in the Old Testament God is made known to us as Father. He is made known through the prophets who are the ones chosen to hear God’s voice and who are able to speak for God and do miracles in his name. Then God is made known to us in Jesus Christ as God comes to us as a human being. Revealing to us the most gracious nature of God as he comes to die for us so that we might know God’s forgiveness and eternal life.

And then at Pentecost the promise of God is fulfilled when God comes to us again in the power of the Holy Spirit. Fulfilling also the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us. The presence of God with us now is in the form of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in us, bringing spiritual gifts, producing the fruit of the Spirit in us and giving us the power to live for God and to make him known in the world.

So how do you explain the Trinitarian God that we will celebrate on Trinity Sunday to school children? Well I began by talking about God being Three in One, or one in Three.

My first illustration is of an equilateral triangle,   three equal sides, but one triangle. Whichever way you turn it, it looks the same. Whoever you look at in the Godhead, you see the same God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal, all God.

The 2nd illustration is the shamrock, St Patrick  when trying to explain the Trinity to his friends picked a shamrock and asked if he was holding one leaf or three. When you look at God do you see one God or three. Well we see three persons in one God. three in one or one in three. There is only one God yet we meet that one God in many different ways.

And finally I used the illustration of water, ice and steam. These are all the same in essence, they are all water and yet we experience this water in different ways. God the Father is exactly the same in essence as God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However they have different purposes and we experience them in different ways.

This concept is hard to explain and hard to understand and that is why experience is the great teacher here. Once you experience God in Jesus Christ, and as you open yourself up to receive the Holy Spirit then the concept becomes a reality and whether or not you can explain or understand the concept you know it makes sense.

Let me finish with a prayer that the church prays that gives us the trinity.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of the Father and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore AMEN.

Revd Angela Walker