The blogs on Proverbs are interrupted to mark Trinity Sunday.
2nd CORINTHIANS 13 verse 13
The grace of the Lord Jesus Messiah, the love of God and the shared life of the Holy Spirit be with you.
The doctrine of the Trinity points to a mystery not a puzzle, although at times Christian thinkers have forgotten this distinction. It is at least arguable that the birth of Islam was due in part to Christian battles and arguments over the nature of the Trinity which left ordinary people confused, and open to the message of Allah, the One God, who has no partners.
The story is told of Pope Gregory sending out bishops to check on the teaching of the faith in remote parts of Europe. One of them anchors his vessel near an Irish island, where he discovers a community served by three monks. They tell him that they serve the people, sharing their simple life, comforting them in time of sorrow. The bishop praises them and asks what they teach about God. They reply that they teach their prayer. “What is this prayer?” The bishop asks. They chant together,”we are three, you are three, we bless you, bless us too.” The bishop is appalled. “You can’t make yourselves the equal of God!” He spends to rest of the day teaching them the Apostles’ Creed, going over it many times. Then he retires to his ship feeling he has done his duty. After dinner, he is called up on deck by his crew. There, at the shore are the three monks glowing with holy light. They step from the shore and walk on the water to his ship. The bishop asks in a trembling voice,”Why are you here, my brothers?” They reply, “We can only say it as far as the Father Almighty. Tell us again what we should say of God.” The bishop is silent for a moment, then he says, “My dear brothers, you should say, We are three, you are three, we bless you, bless us too.”
If on this Trinity Sunday we think of the Lord’s Prayer, we can rediscover the meaning of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Our Father in heaven, may your holy name be honoured, may your kingdom come: may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Here is the dear father of all, whom we honour by worship and action, whose justice we want to rule the world.
Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Here is how God’s will is done in the shared life of the Holy Spirit: in which we look for OUR bread, the food we share with brothers and sisters; and in which we receive and share the forgiveness of God. And we remember how the spirit led Jesus out to be tempted by the Devil and we ask that it would spare us that test, and the more terrible test of the cross, but that, as it delivered Jesus from evil and death, it would do the same for us. All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit.
But there’s something missing surely? What’s happened to the Son of God? Then of course we remember that this is the prayer that Jesus the Son of God offers to the Father in the power of the Spirit. And he gives us his prayer, so that as we say it and live it, we too become sons and daughters of God through him. The Son of God is truly present.
So, the prayer we know so well represents to us the life of the Threefold God, in whose holiness, beyond all expectation, we find ourselves included.