Pause to wonder (First published in the Euro Weekly News on 13th June 2019)
Pentecost, or Whit Sunday having past, we are just entering the season of Trinity, with this coming Sunday, June 16th, being Trinity Sunday. But I wonder how well we understand the significance of this particular festival? For the Trinity must be one of the hardest concepts to comprehend in the whole of the Christian religion. It’s certainly something that many followers of Islam and Judaism find incomprehensible, being convinced that I, and other Christians like me, worship three Gods. But no, along with these other great faiths, I emphatically believe there is just one God, and can happily endorse the Muslim creed that “there is no God but ‘The God’, He is God.”
But just as I am a son to my parents, a father to my children and a husband to my wife, so we Christians believe that this one God may be known in three very different ways, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet remains a single entity. Of course it’s not an easy concept to understand, as we have a tendency to think of God in human terms. Back in the 50’s, J. B. Phillips, aware of this tendency to belittle the nature of God, wrote a book entitled “Your God is too small”, which challenged the perceptions of that time, and indeed of our own time too. For by definition, God must necessarily be more than merely ‘super-human’, so isn’t restricted as we are, by time or location. God, in my mind, being way beyond the understanding of even the most brilliant human scientist, must necessarily transcend all the physical laws which He created for our protection, so can be present at any moment, past, present or future, anywhere in the universe, which after all, Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe He put in place. And it is only as we allow ourselves to appreciate God in this light, that concepts such as the Trinity, that The One God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, can begin to make sense.
And so, in this Trinity season, which extends right through until the end of October, we are encouraged to contemplate our understanding of God, to ensure that the God we worship is not “too small”.