Experiencing the Trinity

This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday, which is a Sunday set aside to remember, contemplate, and marvel at the Triunity or our God. By saying God is "Triune" or "Trinity" we are acknowledging that He is one God yet also three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Any number of analogies and object lessons have been used in an attempt to describe the "three-ness" within the "one-ness" of God, but the reality is, all of these analogies and attempts at academically understanding and explaining this truth are deficient in some way.

Our faith in God, His identity and substance, is not based on who can conjure the best explanation to satisfy our intellectual curiosity about the mysteries of things divine, rather, it is built upon the experience of having encountered God. For many, that encounter with God is first entered through an encounter with one of us as His image bearers. When it comes to the Trinity, it is our love and unity one for another that is to be a mirror of and a light upon the love and unity that exists within the three persons of the Trinity, and that is extended beyond God to us as we are welcomed into that divine community as God's children.

The writings of Jeremy Taylor (Sermon VI, Via Intelligentiae) help to explain the importance of experience rather than explanation when it comes to understanding these mysteries of God:

He that goes about to speak of and to understand the mysterious Trinity, and does it by words and names of man’s invention . . . if he only talks of essences and existences, hypostases and personalities, distinctions without difference. . . he may amuse himself, and find his understanding will be like St. Peter’s upon the mount of Tabor at the transfiguration: he may build three tabernacles in his head, and talk something, but he knows not what. But the good man that feels the “power of the Father,” and he to whom the Son is become “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption”; he “in whose heart the love of the Spirit of God is spread,” to whom God hath communicated the “holyGhost, the Comforter”; this man, though he understands nothing of that which is intelligible, yet he only understands the mysteriousness of the holyTrinity. No man can be convinced well and wisely of the article of the holy, blessed, and undivided Trinity, but he that feels the mightiness of the Father begetting him to a new life, the wisdom of the Son building him up in a most holyfaith, and the love of the Spirit of God makinghim tobecome like unto God.

He that hath passed from his childhood in grace under the spiritual generation of the Father, and is gone forward to be a “young man” in Christ, strong and vigorous in holy actions and holy undertakings, and from thenceisbecomean old disciple, and strong and grown old in religion, and the conversation of the Spirit; this man best understands the secret and indiscernible economy, he feels this unintelligible mystery, and sees with his heart what his tongue can never express, and his metaphysics can never prove. In these cases faith and love are the best knowledge, and Jesus Christ is best known by “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”; and if the kingdom of God be in us, then we know God, and are known of Him; and when we communicate of the Spirit of God, when we pray for Him, and have received Him, and entertained Him, and dwelt with Him, and warmed ourselves by His holy fires, then we know Him too.

May we be warmed at the Holy Fire of our Triune God, for we experience His presence and receive Him through our communion one with another and our participation in His sacrament of the altar.