May 23

Rev Gav

How can God be three and one?

There is one God but this one God is also community, and welcomes us into the eternal heavenly dance.

John 3:1-17

Trinity Sunday is the day we celebrate the doctrine of The Trinity — a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the term ‘trinity’ does not exist in the Bible, from scripture we learn that God is both one and three at the same time. There is one God but this one God is community.

Over the years pastors have tried to explain how God can be three and one at the same time. They have used metaphors such as an egg. An egg is one but with three parts — shell, white, and yolk. Or perhaps they have described God as being like a Jaffa Cake with chocolate, orange jam, and sponge. Or perhaps as a maple leaf or shamrock with three fronds. However, all these metaphors fall down because each member of the Holy Trinity is NOT just a part of God. No, each member — Father, Son, and Spirit is fully God. Therefore, over the years, I have found it more useful to simply embrace The Holy Trinity as a paradox — something that seems to contradict itself but is true. There is one God who is community and each member of the Trinity is fully God.

I like that the omnipresent and infinite or eternal God is a paradox — something I, a mere human, cannot get my head around. God does not fit in a neat box labelled ‘God’. Perhaps, if God could be labelled, quantified and fully understood, then God would not be God?

We encounter this community aspect of God throughout scripture. In fact, right at the beginning, in the creation account in Genesis, we encounter the Spirit hovering over the waters of chaos to bring forth order out of that chaos. And then in Genesis 1:26 we read this:

Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

This one God uses the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘our’. This one God is community and the rest of scripture is an unfolding narrative of the relationship between Father, Son, Spirit, and humanity. But, for now, let us explore this idea that God is community.

Firstly, community is about relationship, for you cannot be in community without being in relationship, and this is where it gets interesting. We are reminded in 1 John 4:8 that:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The relationship which binds together the members of the Holy Trinity is love. This community of God reaches out to us with love and wants us to join with God so that we may also be in community. John 3:16 reads:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We are called to be in community with God — that means being in a loving relationship with one another and with God. Love is the glue that binds us all together.

And as God is eternal (or infinite), when we are welcomed into that community — called The Kingdom of Heaven or The Kingdom of God — we go from being finite to infinite — from transient life to eternal life. This is what eternal life means.

As God the Holy Trinity is eternal then how could we be anything but the same when welcomed into God’s infinite community?

Therefore, perhaps the Kingdom of God could be defined as God and humanity (Father, Son, Spirit, you and I) — an eternal community bound together through relationships of love.

God, the glorious Trinity of community stands holding her arms open to us, longing to embrace us, to join in with the eternal heavenly dance. God longs to embrace us with his love. Jesus has made it possible to become community with God, and all we have to do to step into God’s loving arms is trust and believe.


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