Today is Trinity Sunday, the day we celebrate God as one essence, yet three distinct identities; Father, Son and Spirit. Although one in essence and having three identities Father, Son and Spirit are still united in will and essence. An example might be a chord in music; each note is different but the chord is still a unity of the three notes. It is all very confusing. Many people’s heads have been turned inside out as they grapple with this concept. Consequently it is often described as a mystery. I remember hearing my theology lecturer saying that although there are countless references to Father, Son and Spirit throughout the Bible, there is no real “proof text” for the Trinity. In John’s gospel, Jesus says that he and the Father are one but are also not one witness but two (John 1:1,18; 8:17-18; 10:38).
In the early days of the church a presbyter named Arius, denied that the Father and Son could be both true God and co-eternal. Thus began the Arian controversy. It was resolved at the Council of Nicea with the formulation of the Nicene Creed. We say this at our communion service.
What does this mean for you? Me? Us? That is something that each of us needs to sort through. One way that I see it is in the different ways churches operate and worship. Some are very ceremonial and full of ritual, almost as God the Father. Others identify more with the personal approach, earthly and friend; God the Son. Others like flexibility and “going with the flow”; God the Holy Spirit. None are right or wrong. I think all are important. Part of the unity of the Godhead is that we tap into different aspects at different times for different purposes. This offers us a diversity and a richness that comes from and is God.