Trinity Sunday, but does it matter in practice what the early Christians thought, from a very different philosophical background? I don’t feel bound to their ideas, as I do to the New Testament, but I think there is value in the idea of Trinity.
John 16:12-15 has Jesus telling the disciples that the Holy Spirit will relate “what he hears”, making clear a very close communication and co-operation between Father, Son and Spirit. The New Testament never fully explains the relationship, but shows that Jesus has the Father’s power and authority, as well as approval. (This is a feature of many miracles, and explicitly in the forgiveness, as well as healing, of the paralysed man let down through the roof Mark 2). Father, Son and Spirit are associated in the Great Commission (Matthew 28), and the “Grace” 2 Corinthians 13, extending the unity of Father and Son Colossians 1, John 10:30, John 17:11 etc.
But why does it matter? I suspect that for many people, God is pictured as a lonely old man orbiting through the universe and looking for someone to talk to. That is rubbish. But it is rubbish because God is a relationship. Father, Son and Spirit are so close, in such perfect communication and unity of purpose that they really are one. You can speak of any of the three being fully involved in what any of the others does. That is not mere theory. It means that relationship is at the heart of Christian life. Difficult though we find other people (rather as we find ideas of the Trinity mindbending), they are not optional. If God is a relationship, and we are made in God’s image, relationship is of key importance, to our spiritual life as much as to our practical existence.
When we get tired of “meetings”; when Church politics and personalities irritate or worse, we need to remember that other people are not optional. Part of our Christian living is to learn the quality of communication and unity of purpose which is God. Which takes us to another of Trinity Sunday’s readings: Romans 5:1-5 – for those who know God’s grace, difficulties are part of the pilgrim route, schooling the character and leading to hope. I suggested, slightly tongue in cheek, at Bible Study that our Ministry Area should adopt the motto “We also boast of our troubles”. (The version of “sufferings” in the Good News Bible). It might give a new perspective!