The weekend of heresies!
Back when I was studying theology one of my favourite subjects was Church History. As part of that we got to study the various stages the church went through trying to decide what we actually should believe about God and Jesus and especially the Holy Spirit.
Those early Church Fathers really got themselves tied up in knots!!
How could they explain the relationship between God – our creator, our Father. And God who was Jesus Christ. How and when did Jesus the man become God? When did he come into existence? and what about the Spirit, the helper, the counsellor? Was she a new, post-Jesus manifestation, or had she been around from the beginning?
Once you’d tied down when; you get to the how. And that’s when things really hotted up! Different philosophers came up with different descriptions – and some lived, or died, by their understanding.
Of course, being a history buff; and really enjoying the ins and outs of how they decided, I then witnessed every shade of heresy as, on student placements, I heard different supervisors trying to explain it in simple terms.
The Trinity is NOT like a clover leaf.
Nor is it like me being a daughter, mother and wife all at the same time… God taking on different guises: Modalism.
The Trinity is not three separate gods either – that’s Tritheism, God as three separate gods to make up the One. God is three persons of One God.
Jesus is, was, and continues to be, he wasn’t a man who became God at his baptism – that one is Docetism!
The Trinity is not three sides of a triangle…
Although – the image of a triangle does help a little.
In the order of service there are two illustrations.
On the cover is a Celtic Knot, interlaced with a circle – that knot is often used to show how the three persons interlock and work together. It is one line, but it shows three separate points.
And inside the sheet is another triangle: each corner named for Father Son and Spirit, the centre God, and the arms with the words “is” or “is not”
Father is not Son is not Spirit is not Father
Father is God
Son is God
Spirit is God
Father, Son and Spirit all have very specific roles; they are all one and the same, yet different.
And, basically that’s it.
It is mystery
It is incomprehensible
It is a faith thing; we trust God, we trust Jesus, we trust the Spirit.
For me it is enough that I will know, one day; to truly get it, right now, is less important. Because I do trust that God has this.
It is enough to know that when I pray, God hears me, the Spirit guides me and Jesus intercedes.
It is enough to know, that God the Creator loved us all so much that he sent his son to save us, and that his Son, Jesus left us this special meal as a remembrance of that love, and promised to send a Helper – the Spirit who would be our constant companion and guide.
Many cleverer people than me have tried over the years to describe the phenomenon of Trinity; others have encapsulated the three-person God in word and song; and others simply choose to believe, to know, to trust God…
Here is a poem describing God’s love story, the Creator, the Saviour and the Sustainer united with us, for all of our days…
In the beginning,when all was not as it is now;in the darkness,when light was just a twinkle in the Creator’s eye;in the past,when history was waiting to be born;a new day dawned.A day when the Creator shaped the universeby the power of his living Word,and the breath of his live-giving Spirit.He spoke and called forth life,he breathed and his spirit hovered over the waters,he took dust and formed the foundations.Creator, Word, Spirit.The Holy Community,working, living, being as one,harmonised in love and purpose,shaping, forming, gifting light and life.Before time, throughout time, when time has run its course.Days without number, life without end.Love without limit.Three and one, above us, beyond us, beside us, within.Mysterious and majestic,humble and holy,creative and kind.Father, Son and Holy Spirit
(Dave Hopwood: www.engageworship.org)
|Rublev's Icon of the Trinity|