3 in 1

Today’s text:  2 Corinthians 13:11-14

St. Augustine spent 10 years writing 15 books trying to explain it.  It’s referred to many times in the New Testament, but never mentioned by name.  Most metaphors used to explain it fall a little short.

The Trinity.

The idea that our God is three in one – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is a basic part of the Christian faith.  Yet it’s tough to comprehend.  How can we believe firmly in one and only one God, and also believe that God is three persons?

It’s like trying to learn how to whistle.

I have a three-year-old daughter who would love to know how to whistle.  As a frequent whistler, it would appear that I’d be well-suited to teach her.  But have you ever tried to tell someone else how to whistle?  It’s darn near impossible.  “Pucker your lips, curve your tongue, open your jaw slightly, blow air out in a controlled manner…”  That’s the best I’ve got.  From there, my daughter is just going to have to teach herself by trying.

Which is also the best way to learn about the Trinity.

Paul closes one of his letters to the church in Corinth by describing not what the Trinity is, but how it’s experienced:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

So to better understand the Trinity, we can start by opening our hearts to the grace expressed through Jesus:  his life and teachings, the company he kept, and his death on the cross for us.

Then we can look for the love of our Father, our Creator, the one who whose care for us knows no bounds.

And next we might experience the Holy spirit in fellowship – with each other, and with God.

Eventually, like a child whose breath turns to musical notes for the first time, we begin to experience God in three persons:

Blessed Trinity.

Thanks to Delmer Chilton’s Lectionary Lab Commentary for the idea that the Trinity is best understood in practice, and to The People’s Bible Commentary for other helpful background information.


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