Thursday, June 11, 2009

A God Named Trinity

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday and I did what every preaching professor says not to do. I preaching on the doctrine of the Trinity. Usually, preaching that deals with doctrine or belief systems is considered to be boring.(How is that different from other Sundays?) Don't be a smart aleck.

When we think of doctrine, we think of something that is just not as interesting as, say, a good story. And yet, doctrine, what we believe, is, in my humble opinion, something interesting and compelling. As a pastor/preacher, I find myself in the middle of two schools of thought. One one side, people are saying that beliefs are the important thing. On the other side, others are saying that beliefs don't matter; it's how you live that matters. Well, what if both beliefs and living matter? And, what if beliefs do, in fact, affect how we live?

Now, you won't find the word "trinity" anywhere in scripture. Or course, you do find Jesus telling us to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Trinity simply means that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It means first that we experience God as trinity. We have in Christian history experienced God as Father (creator) as Son (redeemer) and as the Holy Spirit (sustainer). To say trinity is to say the whole of Christian faith history. It is to tell the whole story. This is how we have experienced this God that we know.

It means something more. It means not only that we have experience God this way. It means also that God is trinity in his nature. It says something about the nature of God. God is communal within himself. This God whom we worship is just so effusive, so full of love, that he loves the son with reckless abandon. And that love spills over as the Holy Spirit.

This God, whom we adore, is far deeper than we can think about. This God is far more loving and faithful than we understand.

Christianity is a revealed religion. That is, we couldn't have sat down and figured it out. God has revealed himself to us and his name is Trinity. God is mysteriously revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Church Fathers struggled to explain. Augustine said that there is the Lover, the beloved and the love. That's good, but all our attempts to explain fall short. Before this God, Trinity, we can only fall down in worship.

Dave Nichols

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of the book "The Shack", the best book I've ever read that describes so amny things in detail, including how the trinity can be explained!!



Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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