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Therefore, with the one church universal
we believe in one God, eternal Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
three in one,
one in three,
equal in power and glory.
God is the Father to whom we come,
the Son through whom we come,
the Spirit by whom we come.
This section introduces the Christian understanding of God as the Trinity. The concept of the Trinity has baffled people in every generation.
The first thing to say about the Trinity is that this is not a concept explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Rather, only through centuries of reflection and meditation on the Scriptures did this concept come to be formed and articulated.
The second thing is that the notions of Father, Son and Spirit are not meant to be precise descriptions of the actual reality of God. We must begin with the acknowledgment that our finite, human understanding of the infinite, divine God is just that – finite and limited. The reality of God is beyond what our human words can express. What we humans try to do is find images, metaphors and words that illumine our sense of who we believe and experience God to be.
The concept of the Trinity, therefore, is a metaphor – not a precise, actual description of the reality of God – to illustrate our understanding of God.
One way to describe the doctrine of the Trinity is this: in our real lives, we experience God in different ways and capacities. We praise and worship God as the source of our lives and the fount of all our blessings. In doing so, we are worshipping God the “Father”. We come “to” the Father in praise and thanksgiving.
But a God as just the giver of gifts is not complete. We were created by God the Father to love and be loved. The need for love is so innate to who we are. In this way, we are created in the image of God. God is love. God has poured out God’s love to us. And we have seen that love for us most concretely manifested in Jesus Christ. This is the work of God the “Son” – the God who has poured out and made that love known to us.
We therefore acknowledge God as the source of life and the giver of love. To live the journey of faith and hope, however, we need a power behind us. We believe we are not left to our own power and devices to live the journey of faith. God is present with us and gives us that power for life. This presence and power is God the “Spirit”. In the Spirit, we can live more boldly and confident in God’s enduring presence in our lives.
What I described is also an imperfect depiction of how we might experience God. I believe that when we reflect honestly about our lives, we will start to see the different ways that God works. Seeing those different and innumerable ways that God works in our lives is the basis for understanding concepts like the Trinity.
May God reveal more of God’s varied and inscrutable ways in your own life. When we see the many different ways that God works in our lives, the richer and more abundant our lives will be.
Dear God, help me to see the many different ways you work in my life.