“In the name of the Father, the Son and into the hole he goes!”
Thus a seven year old evoked the blessing of the mystery of the Trinity as he buried his deceased canary.
Over fifty years of church ministry, I have never been able to satisfactorily explain to Western conditioned minds the phenomenon of Trinitarian theology. As Trinity Sunday approaches, I muse on my frustration.
Trinity Sunday on the traditional church calendar is the Sunday after Pentecost. It seems as though we’ve been on this long, and deep spiritual journey – 100 days, in fact, from the time some disciples witnessed an event on top of a mountain that suggested there was more to Jesus than met the eye. From that occasion there was the fraught Lenten journey to Jerusalem, the arrest, trials and crucifixion of Jesus, his resurrection appearances, ascension and descent of the Holy Spirit and her charge to be the presence of Christ throughout the world for all time to come. The teachings and formulas of Trinity Sunday can seem almost as if this process can be tied up in a neat bow and put on a shelf. It can divert us from the wonder of the continuing journey and replace it with confusion and argument.
My conclusion is that you cannot explain Trinity. It is best to see that it is about relationship and live accordingly. We have the mechanical formulae and its attendant dangers of error that can divert us from the reality of the experience – that God catches us up in the lived unity of the ways in which God reveals God-self through creation, incarnation and Spirit. I have sometimes mused that the call for humanity to be caught up in this loving dynamic makes for a “quadricity” but this would only add to philosophical confusion.
Maybe the child burying the canary in sweet innocence has the best grasp of it all!