Sunday June 11th is remembered as ‘Trinity Sunday’ in the churches calendar. A day when the church considers the mystery and wonder of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There is a story of St Augustine walking along the beach considering the mysteries of the Holy Trinity when he came upon a young boy filling a small hole in the sand with a bucket of water. When the bucket was empty he filled it again and emptied into the hole. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked – ‘I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole’. ‘That’s impossible’ said Augustine ‘It will not fit’. ‘No more so than you trying to fit the Trinity into your tiny brain’, the boy replied and then he disappeared.
Trying to explain the Trinity is like trying to empty the ocean with a small bucket, but perhaps that’s because God is not interested in us explaining it. He wants us to experience it.
The early church may have developed the idea of the Trinity as a means of encapsulating the nature of God but scripture constantly reveals the plural nature of God, eg the first chapter of the first book of the Bible: ‘Then God said, “Let us..” or in the opening verses of John’s Gospel, ‘In the beginning was the word and …’
The Trinity is an expression of unity. The Father sees himself in Jesus – John 1:14, Jesus sees himself in the Father – John 10:30 and the Holy Spirit unites this love – Mtth 3:16 – Or it is as if the Father says, ‘If you want to know what love is, look to Jesus.’ Jesus answers, ‘If you want to know what love is then look to the Father and the Spirit replies, ‘If you want to know what love is then look to Jesus and the Father and I’ll give you the ability to see and understand’.
The Trinity is an expression of the unity of God and of the unity of His purpose which is to bless. In our Gospel reading Jesus gives the instruction known as ‘The Great Commission’, to make Disciples of the whole earth and to baptise them in the name of the ‘Father, the son and the Holy Spirit’. What a challenge and what a privilege! To be effective in this calling we need a full experience of the different facets of God and that certainly includes the power of the Holy Spirit in each and every one of us. Praise God that whenever he calls us He always equips us; ‘I am with you always’ and the promise that He will ‘renew their (our) strength’.
The PCC’s within the Benefice are to be considering what God’s mission looks like for us in this beautiful part of His creation; why we’re here and what He is calling us to do together in these days. The unity of God as expressed in the Trinity is an example to us all of the power and the strength there is when we are in union and agreement with one another and with God. If we are to be so then this always begins and ends with prayer.
I’d like to invite you and encourage into continuing to pray for this wonderfully exciting and privileged work that we are all called into together, for His glory.
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale