The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is an attempt to put the unsayable into words. For how could mere human beings comprehend the eternal God, the source of all Being, the fount and origin of all life, the One who is Goodness, Truth and Beauty? The great C20th theologian Karl Barth put it this way: ‘If we speak of Him, we are no longer speaking of Him’. God is beyond human language, human description. But somehow we need to use language, simply because we are human, and that is our unique gift. Today’s first reading (Isaiah 40:12-17; 27-31) is the prophet’s reminder that no human being can claim to understand or even question God, for ‘The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.’ The Psalm (Psalm 8) echoes this: ‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, what are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?’
The New Testament readings (2 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Matthew 28: 16-20) are two key passages in our scriptures where a doctrine of the Trinity is hinted at, or assumed. How else could the early Church describe their experience of Jesus and the Holy Spirit except to say that the one God was present in them? It took two centuries more of the life of the Church for the final definition of the Trinitarian doctrine to develop; but all our words of definition and description are perhaps, as St Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 13, just ‘dim reflections in a mirror’.
A prayer for today:
Holy God, faithful and unchanging: enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth, and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love, that we may truly worship you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen.
You can find prayers and short services on the Church of England website at: https://www.churchofengland.org/