Thursday, May 23, 2013

God – One in Three and Three in One

Ephesians 1:3-14  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.  He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight  he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,  so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;  this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.

Here is an ancient Trinitarian statement of faith: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.... In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance... In him you also...were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.  Orthodox Christianity holds one thing in common – irrespective of other denominational emphases - we affirm the Trinitarian nature of God: God is Three in One. God is One, but is experienced in three different ways. God is One, but is expressed in Three forms. God is One, but is three persons in the One Godhead.  

Whew – this sounds complicated. I have Muslim friends who shake their heads at me and sigh in dismay. And I think of a wonderfully thoughtful psychologist friend who would laugh and say “That’s bullshit!” Yet I cling to this as a defining boundary to my faith. I serve a Complex Deity, Who defies explanation. I owe my breath and being to God as the Creator and Sustainer of life. I see Divinity in Jesus that inspires me to follow in his ways. And I have experienced the touch of the Spirit of God that has prodded my life into new paths not of my choosing – but to my benefit. I can only respond by affirming my belief in a Triune God. This does not make me right. Neither does it make my explanation of God better than that of any other faith. This is just my way of explaining the way God has engaged with me. 

The invitation for today is to give up trying to explain God. It is far more useful for us to follow God’s commands to be just and compassionate, than for us to debate the words we use for God.  




Trinity Sunday
30 The Triune God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 190.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.


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