Saturday, May 28, 2016

THE DOCTRINE of the HOLY TRINITY: "...a story of God's real love, mercy, and forgiveness." The Reverend John Smith

The Holy Trinity

(thanks to 

Today is Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday of the liturgical year that celebrates a doctrine:  The one, living, and true God is a community of persons- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  To many people the doctrine of the Trinity seems something "thought up," abstract, and cold.  This is probably because it is often talked about far removed from the biblical narrative which is the only place it becomes helpful and meaningful to us.

The Trinity is present in the biblical story from the very beginning in Genesis:  God (who we now know as Father) created the heavens and the earth from nothing.  The breath of God (the Holy Spirit) hovered over the chaotic waters from which life began.  God spoke a Word (the Son Jesus) and everything came to be that came into being, including our first parents, Adam and Eve.

The offspring of Adam and Eve, and the tribes generated by them, had a notion of God who was sometimes blessing them and at other times was violent and condemning.  The peoples relationship to God wasn't clear and neither was God's love for them.

"God so loved the world (that) In the fullness of time God sent his Son, born of a woman."  The time came when God wanted to reveal who God really is and clear up the distorted notions people had of God.  The Son was the person who could once and for all reveal the true nature of God:  that God was a God of love from the beginning and wasn't worthy of projections of anger placed on God and the sacred violence attributed to God over the centuries.

Jesus taught his disciples that God was a loving Father that they could pray to in confidence like a child to a loving parent.  Jesus taught that the greatest blessings of life came when we truely forgive others who harm us.  Jesus also promised to send a Holy Spirit to comfort and stand up for us and allow us to live in God's love and peace.  That Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on Pentecost.

Jesus proved his revelation of God was true by offering himself as the world's victim on the Cross.  In itself, this would not be enough:  to teach something and then die.  But God raised Jesus from the dead and vindicated his story and witness once for all.  If the world would/could understand this Love, put to death and raised up, God's Kingdom would become a reality on earth:  On earth as in is in heaven.

This is the real meaning of the Trinity, not some top-down, over the top, doctrinal orthodoxy, imposed on the world, but a story of God's real love, mercy, and forgiveness.  The Father relates to the Son, and the Son relates to the Father, and the object of their desire is Love, the Holy Spirit. who overflows and is "poured into our hearts."

The Trinity reveals who God is and who we are as human beings created by God as objects of God's desire and love.  It upholds the core of the best modern personality theory:  two persons in relationship and the object of their desire.  This is desire is very important, either based on a rivalry between them, like the serpent's temptation to Eve and her temptation to Adam, setting in place a rivalry with God, or a love that is completely non-rivalrous as we see in the Triune love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is the crux of the matter.  The world chooses over and over again to live in rivalrous relationships between individuals and nations:  unity is sought by being "over against" the other, resulting in violence, victimization, and never-ending scapegoating, instead of choosing to follow the loving desires of God that leads away from all rivalry:  loving one another, receiving God's peace, maintaining unity.

I hope this understanding of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, in the context of God's love revealed in Jesus through the biblical narrative, will be less abstract for us and make sense in relation to our daily lives and change how we understand and talk about God:  three Persons who really love us personally and the whole world as well.  (emphasis added/lc)


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.

The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)


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