Sunday, 26 May 2013

Wisdom, Love, Might

As we were reminded in church this morning, we spend a lot of time trying to explain and define the Trinity - a process which can be  fascinating/confusing/ boring/ or often apparently heretical (delete as applicable according to your own understandings), but we don't perhaps focus enough on just being aware of the power of the Trinity. To me, the Trinity speaks of unity in diversity, a Godhead that is about relationship, creativity, flux and yet which works with such unity that it is also changeless and eternal. (NB: if this is heretical then I don't care.)

The hymn "Thou Whose Almighty Word" draws on the Trinity as described in Genesis and beautifully draws on the biblical images of the spirit moving over the face of the water "bearing the lamp of Grace" followed by breath taking images of the Trinity:

 Blessed and holy Three,
Glorious Trinity
Wisdom, Love, Might
Boundless as ocean's tide
Rolling in fullest pride
Through the Earth far and wide
Let there be light!

How often are we inspired by the glory of the Trinity? How often do we consciously celebrate or worship God as Trinity? Theology is important, but faith is not a theological exam, it is a lived experience. We should remember that.


  1. What I find interesting about the notion of the Trinity is that is has been (since The First Council of Nicaea 325AD) a fundamental part of Christian doctrine – yet very few Christians are able to give a succinct definition and almost all detonations have slightly different shades of interpretation. Moreover, despite the Reformation claiming to ‘go back to the Bible’ – many reformed churches (with the exception of modern day Arians such as the JWs) cling to the notion of the Trinity, despite there being no clear mention of it in the Bible (excepting the dodgy bits at the end of Matthew and Mark).

    My own understanding of the Trinity is fairly orthodox (if not Orthodox!) – to quote myself from a monastic journal article I wrote a few years ago:

    ‘Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in this world bring us into a new way of relationship and understanding the world around us. He is both God and man, the Second Person of the Trinity, part of a communion of Love which is both the source and goal of our lives. He is true relationship. We are called to live our lives in this relationship; it is the gift of the Holy Spirit to bring us into full communion with God in this world and the fullness of Life in the next. Jesus took on our humanity so that our failing in relationship with God could be transformed and made new by humble obedience and self offering to the Father in the Spirit. Man could again return to the complete relationship God intended for us, the created and the Creator in a communion of Love and self-giving.’

    It would seem that given we are created as individuals and not mindless automatons without variation or notable differences that ‘the Trinity speaks of unity in diversity...’.

    I think there is a tremendous irony at present in the very fact that so much church ‘unity’ is rooted in the oppression of one minority! We see strange and curious alliances being created between Catholic and Protestants, Evangelical Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics – all united in their opprobrium towards willy-woofters. Obviously this is a false ‘unity’ – get them off any pink-tinged topic and sure enough many will be at each others’ throats in a jiffy. And of course, behind the scenes there is probably a good deal of scoffing at their fellow Christians because they do or don’t genuflect or believe or don’t believe in Predestination or the Rapture or Purgatory... Hence in a very real sense it is a good job the Trinity represents a communion of diversity – even if the battlefields of much of the Western world and the near East have been swamped in blood spilled because one group of souls’ beliefs differed ever so slightly from another group of souls.

    To lighter things! Many thanks for the hymn – which I really enjoyed and pulled my New English Hymnal from the shelf and sang along – singing the tenor line, which is fantastic – having a nice top G at the end of line two and a lower G# (Moscow is traditionally sung in G Major, so a sharped G sounds odd on its own, but creates an interesting harmony in four part singing) at the end of line four – all ways in which tenors get their little share of the limelight in any traditional church choir. I noted the singing was polluted by girls’ voices but in the interests of diversity and acceptance I can put up with this abomination...


  2. Typo..

    'yet very few Christians are able to give a succinct definition and almost all detonations have slightly different shades of interpretation...'

    Should read: 'yet very few Christians are able to give a succinct definition and almost all DENOMINATIONS have slightly different shades of interpretation....'


  3. I prefer the first version with detonations in it! :) It is somewhat ironic that Christians jeer at each other (if behind backs) over all the different theological practices and quirks... I am quite sure some would blow each other up.
    It is a lovely hymn, isn't it? So glad you were able to come to terms with the abomination of girls' voices.