Trinity Sunday is a sermon preachers really don’t look forward to – unless they can find an alternative subject to base their sermon on. Fathers’ Day may help a bit but really you want a big baptism or anniversary to have an excuse to avoid the knotty problem of how to explain the mystery.
None of the hoary old examples work in helping people understand Three Persons in One God. Some Twitter friends were evidently last night discussing Jaffa Cakes – even the idea is baffling, so how on earth you try to get a congregation to do anything but eat them is beyond me.
Years ago, while I was training for ministry, I floated an idea which seemed to make sense to me. One of my lecturers wrote on the paper that it was “exciting, almost too exciting” but I never worked out whether that was because he couldn’t be bothered to look at it because he had a lot of papers to mark that evening.
There may be lots of holes in it, but for what it’s worth, here goes with an illustration of The Trinity:
The Trinity is God’s story for the world. Think of it as a piece of writing, any piece: poetry or prose. You need someone to create the piece, to imagine it for those who will read later, to give it birth. That’s God the Father. You also need the words that give a piece structure. The words combine in harmony with the idea to shape the final work. That’s Jesus the Son. And you need inspiration to give those words and ideas a form that lifts it out of the mundane into a complete piece that sings with life. That’s the Holy Spirit.
If you take the words away from the idea you have no story, if you take the idea away from the words you have no coherence and if you take the inspiration away from the words and the idea you have no life.