Today we call Trinity Sunday, and we think about God. You or I understand God fully, we can? No, we can’t. Why? God is very big and our minds are very limited. But Jesus gave us some ideas. His last words to us are: “Go around the world; baptize everyone, how ? In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus was a good Jew with a strong Jewish faith. He believed there is only one God! But in one God, there are three separate, what? We call them “persons.” Not like human persons, fully independent and separate. No. If the three were independent, it means they would be three gods. They are not three gods; they are one God. But three different “persons.” I can explain to you clearly how one God can be three persons and three persons can be one God? No, explain it clearly, I cannot. But we have Jesus’s words about Father, Son, Holy Spirit–three separate persons but so strongly united that they are truly one God.
Explain it a little, how? Let me give you a comparison. A very skilled painter in his mind has a beautiful image, a picture he wants to paint. It begins, where? In his mind. Then the skilled artist takes it out of his mind and paints a beautiful painting. The painting is separate from the artist; it is not the artist, but it comes from the artist’s mind, so it is still connected to the artist’s mind. It is separate from his mind and connected to his mind. The artist looks at it and feels joy, happiness to be able to make such a beautiful painting; he looks at it and feels “wow!” The painting inspires the artist, thrills the artist. Then people come and look at the beautiful painting and feel inspired by it; they feel joy from it. They look at it and feel “wow!” So three separate things: artist, painting, feeling of “wow!” The three are separate and strongly connected to each other.
It may be perhaps a little like God. God the Father creates; in God the Father’s mind is the most beautiful image. The image is what? It is the Son. The Father, God, thinks about the Son and makes the Son. Then the Son exists equal to the Father. The Father looks at and loves the Son; the Son looks at and loves the Father. The Love is a Person, the Holy Spirit. The Son becomes human, who? Jesus. Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity; Jesus is the perfect picture of God the Father. Then Jesus the Son teaches about the Father. People know Jesus, feel drawn to Jesus and his teaching. Jesus inspires them; he gives them new strength, new hope, new understanding. The inspiration, the hope, the strength, the new understanding is the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. (The Gospel today tells us that God the Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save the world. To see the words of the Gospel, click here.)
That is a clear explanation about the Trinity, one God and three persons? No, it is not a good explanation at all. But now, it is the best I can do. So what to do? Look around and see the three Persons working in the real world today. How can we see God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in the world today, how?
On a beautiful spring day, look around, see all the beauty–the warmth of the sun, the sky bright blue, the new life in the trees, the pretty flowers and so much more beauty; think so much beauty, how? God the Father made it all. God the Father holds it all in his hands. If God forgot it for one second, everything would disappear. Everything, you and I and all the universe, depend on God the Father for our lives. Then, look around at all the people in the world, the beautiful people, all the good people, the doctors and nurses in our hospitals; the good police working to keep us safe; the people who bring us food to eat, the people parading for justice in our country, parading peacefully. Know that God the Son is in them helping them to be good. And God the Son is who? Jesus. Jesus is in all the good people we see around us. If I look at all the beauty in the world and all the good people in the world and all of you who are so good, I feel wonder, awe, joyful; I am inspired. I feel I want to do good like all of them. That is the Holy Spirit in you, in me, inspiring us, teaching us, helping us to see more clearly, giving us hope and strength, giving us better understanding, helping us to continue to be good people. That is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, in us.
Let me end with a story. A book-writer, he did not believe in God. He thought there was too much evil in the world; a good God could not allow all the evil; so there is no God. He had a young daughter. One day he was watching his young daughter eating. He was amazed at how beautiful his little daughter was; she was eating and dropping her food and making a mess, but so beautiful she was! He wondered how a person so beautiful could just show up in the world by accident. Then he thought someone, a Person, had to cause her and give her life and make her beautiful. Then he understood that a skilled artist made so much beauty in the world and let him see the beauty in his daughter and in the world. Someone, a Person, planned the beauty in his daughter. Was it an accident? It could not be an accident. Someone, a Person, planned so much beauty. The Someone, the Person, must be God. He thought about that experience, and then he understood the hand of God touched him.
The same for you and me. God is mystery; it means we can never fully understand God, how one God can be three Persons and three Persons can be one God. We cannot understand. Sometimes we need to look and be amazed at beauty and thank the one God who made it and the three Persons in God who help us to see it.