Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday a celebration that is not well known in the Protestant side of the church in spite of the fact that what this day celebrates is a doctrine at the very centre of our faith – our belief in the Triune nature of God.
The theme this week is clear – the nature of God as Triune. This “difficult” doctrine of the Church is a tough one to address in a sermon or in worship, which tempts us either to treat it as an academic exercise, or to skip over it completely. However, the very mystery of this doctrine – and of the texts that are wrapped around it this week – provide a wonderful array of options. There is the opportunity to acknowledge again the limitations of our language and thinking about God, and to embrace God’s glorious, infinite mystery. There is the chance to recognise how God has chosen to reveal God’s self to humanity in flesh and Spirit, and how Jesus and the Spirit really do show us what God is like. There is also the chance to recognise the work of all three Persons in the life of every woman and man. There is also the opportunity to explore God’s nature as community, as Love, as relationship, and what this means for us. Ultimately, though it is wise to bear in mind Richard Rohr’s words: “Trinity leads you into the world of mystery and humility where you can not understand, you can only experience.” And perhaps the heart of that experience is ‘mutuality’ – of God within God, and, miraculously, of God with humanity. Read more on Sacredise
This theme was particularly important for Celtic Christians who embraced the Trinity as a family, and each human family unit (be it family, clan or tribe) was seen as an icon of the Trinity. The Trinity was a very real presence in all aspects of life and creation, and an almost tangible Comforter and Protector who could ward off evil forces. We see this theological perspective reflected in the simple prayer above.
The Celts can teach us a lot about the trinitarian nature of God. Here are a couple of my favorite trinitarian prayers and my favourite images to use for Trinity Sunday tomorrow.
My walk this day with God,
My walk this day with Christ,
My walk this day with Spirit.
The threefold all-kindly;
Ho! Ho! Ho! The Threefold all-kindly
My shielding this day from ill,
My shielding this night from harm
Ho! Ho! Both my soul and my body,
Be by Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit:
By Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit.
Be the Father shielding me,
Be the Son shielding me,
Be the Spirit shielding me,
As Three and as One:
Ho! Ho! Ho! As Three and as One.