Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thinking About the Spirit

This Sunday is called Trinity Sunday on the Church calendar.  It is the day we think about the concept of The Holy Trinity and talk about how the three persons in the Trinity work together.  Explaining the concept of the Trinity to non-clergy persons is a daunting task at times.  We are always wanting to find something to compare it to.  Some people think about the three forms of water...liquid, steam, and ice, all water but just in different forms...or there is the idea that it is like an egg which contains a shell, yoke and white which is still an egg regardless of how you put the parts together.

I think that trying to explain a mystery of the faith is a bit like trying to explain how electricity works or why a plane can fly or a boat can sail even though both are heavy and should not be able to go in the air or the water without falling or sinking.  There are just some concepts of the faith that are inexplicable.  They just are.

The idea of the Holy Trinity is a bit like that.  I like to think about God the Father, an old man in a big chair and he has a long white beard and white hair and he is very stern.  You cannot get anything past him.  Then, Jesus is a young man with long brown hair and a brown beard and he is very pleasant and kind looking and smiles a lot.  The Holy Spirit is right there with them but he/she is a bird, a white bird, hovering in the air above the other two.  Sunlight shines on all of them and they sit, stand, and fly always as the look over humans and the mess they are making of the world, wanting to do something about it but not able to because of the free will they granted everyone at creation.

If your idea of the Trinity is a bit like mine, then it is because we have all been shaped by the paintings that artists made of religious figures during the Medieval period of afterwards.  Religious art and also religious media that followed in the age of technology has made many of us think about the Godhead in humanistic ways.  We have made God in our own image, in other words.

I really think that the Godhead is only one being, the Holy Spirit, of which all three persons are a part, actively involved in the lives of humans on a daily basis.  Jesus taught his followers that the Spirit would come to be an Advocate, a Comforter, a Guide, to assist all who would call on God to find healing, hope, and help in their time of need.  I think that Jesus is already here, not sitting on a cloud waiting for the cue from the Heavenly Father to come to earth to bring about some cataclysmic era that needs to happen.  I think that Jesus came already in the form of the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost and all of those things that Peter preached about happening in the universe happened as the Spirit brought energy and a divine spark where it was needed for humans.

The Holy Spirit is involved in the daily lives of humans beings who ask for divine intervention.  The Spirit is Spirit of Truth whose mission it is to remind us of all that Jesus said and taught while he was a human being on earth.  The Spirit is meant to bring peace to persons who need peace in their lives in the midst of distress.  The Spirit is present to everyone, everywhere on earth all at once taking the place of Jesus who was bound to a human body, as we are, so that we can all find help in our time of need, even if it is in the middle of the night in China but in the lunch hour in New York City.  God is an ever present help in the time of need, as the psalmist said.

So, the idea of the Trinity is bound up in the working of the Holy Spirit, bringing to our lives what we need to live and learn and grow and help one another on our paths of life.  The Spirit is a mystery, not to be understood but to be trusted to show us the love of the Father and Son when we need it most.    

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