mystery

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, and I was on the rota to preach.

I have heard endless sermons that have tried to explain the Trinity. I have heard the Trinity described as something like a jaffa cake, or something like steam, water and ice; or like one person who can be mum, sister and daughter.

I guess there is something in each of those analogies (well maybe not the jaffa cake one!) but I think that sometimes they, and we, miss the point.

God being three and yet one does not make sense. God being three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is mind boggling. It’s a mystery.

In our limited human understanding and vocabulary we are trying to describe a life that is totally outside of our experience or even our wildest dreams. In short, we are trying to describe what is indescribable for us. God is Trinity … and that’s that!

I shared on Sunday a visit I made a spart of my training with SEITE to the Chatham synagogue. We met the person in charge called Gabriel. I had developed a question during the week but now I cannot remember the question; but his answer has stayed with me for nearly 6 years now! He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said ‘God will be God.’ As he said it he gave a look that simply said ‘why are you bothering to even ask that? It’s a mystery … it’s meant to be a mystery … God is God!’

Within church, and maybe even in society, I wonder whether we have got bogged down in trying to explain everything. I guess this comes from a need or desire to be in control. In our pondering over trying ‘to work it out’ we are in danger of missing out on simply enjoying life and being who we were created to be.

AS an illustration I have noticed a big difference between children and adults at art exhibions. In particular I remember the Shibboleth of Doris Salcedo in the Tate Modern a few years ago. Adults looked and tried to explain it, wondering whether it was a trick and how it was made. Children played in it, stuck their hands and legs inside it, and enjoyed it. Adults tried to explain while children accepted the beauty of the mystery.

There is a tension in accepting mystery when you live in a 21st century technological world – but I wonder whether it is a tension we need to relax into so that we can ‘enjoy’ rather than miss the beauty as we attempt to ‘explain’.

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