“Three Piece Puzzle”
Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
The first there was a funeral on Friday morning. A woman who died rather suddenly last week. On Friday morning we gathered to celebrate her life and to offer her into God’s care. Together we mourned as she left her earthly home to join with God in His glorious kingdom.
Yesterday afternoon I was in Whycocomagh celebrating with members of Bev’s family in the wedding of her cousin. In this ceremony I read from Matthew 19 where Jesus reminds us that marriage is when a man leaves his family to become one with his wife. “They are no longer two, but one flesh,” Jesus says. Two people, once separate are now one, brought together by God.
Both of these seem very appropriate for Trinity Sunday.
Trinity Sunday is the day of the year we specifically acknowledge the three persons of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We do this every Sunday, but this is one day in the calendar where the Trinity is our focus.
For many people, the concept of the Trinity is very difficult to understand. How can three entities be one entity. How can God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit be one?
People like to point out that the word Trinity does not appear anywhere in scripture. Sure, it’s not there, but the concept is. Jesus tells us he is one with God. Many times he tells us this. He also tells us his Spirit, and, in other cases, God’s Spirit, will be with us as well after his resurrection.
So sure, we can’t find the word ‘Trinity’ anywhere in the Bible. But it is a word that was picked to describe what is seen in the Bible by the council of Nicea in the year 325. You don’t need to know much else about this conference except they wrote the Nicene Creed. It’s in our hymn books, you may want to take a look at it sometime since we don’t tend to use it in our churches.
They struggled with the scripture and needed to find a way to solidify and bring together the various Christian churches at the time. They felt the needed some sort of formula they could all agree on. So they came up with the concept of the Trinity which they saw as the basis all churches needed to agree upon in order to call themselves Christian. Everyone had to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one. They called it the Trinity. From there they wrote the Nicene Creed as their statement of faith.
Did everyone agree? No. Some churches were pushed out who would not adopt this statement or agree to the Trinitarian formula. Which is kind of what they wanted. They wanted to push out the churches who were they saw as not believing and teaching about Jesus Christ. They wanted the church to have a common focus which would lead to proper teaching.
So we continue this tradition today. Still today, many churches recite the Nicene Creed, or at least the Apostle’s Creed which is based on the Nicene Creed.
So what we have is this word ‘Trinity’ which was picked to describe the union between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity.
People ask, how can three people be one person? It doesn’t make sense to our human minds. We struggle with this concept. Our brains begin to smoke if we think about it too long.
Over the years people have tried to come up with little examples we can get our heads around. Like the apple I shared with the kids. Some other people use water as an example. We can experience water in three different states. We have our every day liquid water. We have water in a solid state, we call that ice. And we have a water as vapour, we call that steam. So if water can be three things yet still water, then how about the Trinity?
All of this is just ways to help our scientific brains try and understand how this works. It’s how we’ve been brought up, all the numbers need to add up or it doesn’t make sense. 1+1+1 has to equal 3. But in the Trinity we’re told 1+1+1=1. So we get lost.
Some days, having a Christian faith means letting go of scientific reason. It means taking a leap of faith into the unknown. Because that’s where God lives. God is so big we cannot comprehend something so vast when we only see a tiny little part of His vastness.
We need to forget about this three piece puzzle where it seems things don’t seem to match up quite right and understand these three pieces are just part of a puzzle of infinite size. A puzzle larger than our universe.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans we have the peace of God through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Through this relationship we have strength to get through all things. Things that cannot bring us down because we have God’s love, which has been poured into us by the Holy Spirit.
Without a relationship in Jesus Christ we cannot get access to the peace and love of God offered to us. Gifts we receive through the Holy Spirit Jesus has sent to be with us.
The Spirit Jesus says will come and guide us in our lives. The Spirit who will speak to us what it hears from God. Our closing verse from the Gospel of John we read this morning tells us, “All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that [the Spirit] will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. They are of one mind, they work together as one unit, each with a part of play.
God, the Father, is the creator.
Jesus Christ the Son, is our saviour.
The Holy Spirit is our guide.
Without God we are nothing. We don’t exist because nothing would have been created. Genesis 1 tells us this.
Without Jesus we have nothing. Our lives would be without hope. Without Jesus we don’t have access to the other two persons of the Trinity. No access to the Father, no Spirit would be sent to be with us.
Without the Holy Spirit we are lost. We have no guide to speak to us as to how God wants us to live and act in the world. Without the Spirit we are walking blindly in a dangerous world. It is the Spirit that gives us direction. It gives us inspiration to serve and be faithful to what God has planned for us.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons. One God.
Let us read together the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.