Romans 5:1-5 and John 16: 12-15
Why did God create us? Why did God create you or you or even me? That statement of why on earth did God create me, is possibly something quite often thought by David as he contemplates his curate….
But seriously, as we consider the Trinity today, I believe thinking about why God created us, all humanity and the earth, to be a good place within which to start.
In our worship, in our creeds and prayers, we speak of the Father, and the son and the Holy Spirit. These words are part of who we are right from the beginning of our Christian life at Baptism to the end. At baptism, three drops of water are poured out, symbolically marking us out as part of God’s family here on earth.
This moment is not only the start of our journey with God but also has wider, deeper cosmic associations. Yes, we are part of God’s family, the church but also we are part of God, part the trinity as well. There is no divide. We join ourselves with the cosmic dance of love which began even before creation itself.
Even before time itself God existed as The Father, the son and the Holy spirit. The three in one and the One in three. Or to use a Greek term, Perichoresis, meaning co-indwelling, co-inhering, and mutual interpenetration, each one passing into one another as Karl Barth puts it.
This passing from one into each other implies movement and fellowship within himself. This same movement flows out into our world such is the greatness of God’s love. God’s love is so vast that it could not be contained within himself. So His love sought greater expression. This expression of love realised itself through the creation of this world with all its inhabitants and us, humanity. God’s love pours into our world to manifest his glory and bear us up by his grace into communion of his eternal life.
It is into this co-indwelling; we are baptised into. We too are called to dwell within the love of God and, in turn, pour out into the world His love.
This is heady stuff! Perhaps looking at the Trinity as an Orchestra or a choir would help. A person or an instrument like, a violin, can sound beautiful by itself. However, when they are joined by others in the playing of a music piece than something much greater is created. Each person and instrument plays their own part, while listening to the others. They remain individual yet they share in the life of the others. They become a community of being in which each person, while maintaining their distinctive identity, pierces the others and is pierced by them. In turn the audience enjoys their created music and, perhaps, are inspired to take up their own musical ability.
However, this is also where the analogy breaks down because with God there is no audience. We are not God’s audience. We are part of the work of the triune God. The triune God, the work of the Father sending His Son, and sending the Holy Spirit all points to His missional purpose. And as we are part of God and God is part of us, we too, as His disciples, are called to be part of His mission to all people. That’s means all of us, not just the ones who are specially trained in mission, but everyone.
If you still think you do not understand the trinity, and to be honest, the idea is a tricky one to comprehend, then perhaps thinking about how we know things will help. Obviously we live in a modern age that demands hard evidence before understanding can be achieved. We want to know, get a grip of whatever is before us, to feel satisfied we have gained an understanding. This is what we are brought up as understanding what to know means. However, for the Greek philosophers and the Fathers of the church, knowing meant something different: it meant knowing in wonder. As Jürgen Moltmann puts it “By knowing or perceiving one participates in the life of the other. Here knowing does not transform the counterpart into the property of the knower; the knower does not appropriate what he knows. On the contrary, he is transformed through sympathy, becoming a participant in what he perceives.”
So in this case, knowing about the trinity is gained through our participation and relationship in the life of God. Such knowing is the gift of experience rather than obtained through study. This gift is given through grace as the writer of Romans puts it:
we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
This passages shows us the three divine persons working in concert to make us new creations, justified by grace and engulfed by the anointing of God’s love poured into our hearts. Once again, we realise our part in God’s purpose and how the Holy spirit, according to John, will never cease in leading us to fresh and new insights and understandings of our salvation and of the creation in which we live.
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit gives us all we need to flourish in creation and in the redemption that brings us to New creation. Remember this when you feel alone, exhausted or despondent with life. We, you, are known by God who desires you to flourish with an intense divine desire shared equally among the three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That’s why God created us. That’s why He loves us, this is why we are in Him and He is in us. God’s intense divine desire, fuelled by grace, leading us through the Holy Spirit, flows continually onwards to realise the New Creation, the new Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven for all who know they are loved by Jesus.