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Weekly Bible Notes and Worship Resources

Trinity Sunday Year A


Introduction

Listen to some people talk about God and you might be excused for thinking that they had just met him on the bus. They seem to know everything about God and you might think that you are really stupid. Well take comfort from the opening scripture in our bible notes today from Isaiah Chapter 40

'His understanding no one can fathom.'

Some people might appear to know everything about God, but they have not even begun to scratch the surface. God is so much beyond our human reasoning that it is only the arrogant and the stupid who claim to have all the answers. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the Christian belief in the Trinity. This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, and it is a great day for us all. In the Christian calendar the Sunday after Pentecost is always a special day dedicated as Trinity Sunday. It is special because for once we are not looking back to a specific occasion, or remembering an event, instead we are celebrating who God is - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday is a day on which we can focus on the extraordinary truth that God is three persons and yet still one. This wonderful truth about Trinity Sunday reminds us that God is above and beyond our attempts to explain or understand. Our rational human explanations for God collapse when we are confronted by the truth that that God is three and God is one. Nobody can ever understand God, God is a profound mystery and all human reasoning will always fail to encompass the glory of God. So we can stop worrying about our own lack of understanding and instead worship God the Father who showed his love for us in Jesus and lives in us today by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon for Trinity Sunday by The Reverend Charles Royden

Opening Verses of Scripture   1 Corinthians Chapter 13:12--13

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Or  Isaiah Chapter 40:28

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
 

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever. Amen. (Church of S. India)

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. (Common Worship)

First Bible Reading  Genesis 1:1 - 2:4a

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day. 

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day. 

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day. 

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day. 

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day. 

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day. 

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

Second Reading  2 Corinthians Chapter 13:11-13

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints send their greetings. 

Gospel Reading Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Meditation

The picture today is a very famous icon painted by a Russian monk called Andrew Rublev in the fifteenth century. It is often called Rublev’s icon of the Trinity. The figure on the left is the Father, robed in gold and majesty. He gestures with a blessing towards the Son at the top, who is clothed in the red of his passion. By indicating towards the chalice on the table, he makes reference to his role as the sacrificial lamb, whose blood will be shed for the salvation of the world. The Spirit, sits to the right, wearing the green robes that speak of the Spirit’s role in giving growth to the people of God. Their oneness or unity is indicated by the way their head incline one to the other, making the outline of circle. This shows how they are bound together into one by the common will and mutual love that unites them. People have said that as they place themselves in front of the icon in prayer, they experience a gentle invitation to participate in the intimate conversation that is taking place among the three divine angels and to join them around the table. We can become a part of that movement from the Father toward the Son and the movement of both Son and Spirit toward the Father. So are we joined and held together in the love of the Triune God.

Note:
The early theologians used the word perichoresis, which literally means "dancing around."  to express the ever vital, ever moving, ever interweaving of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

 

Post Communion Sentence

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Commentary

‘His understanding No one can fathom’ Isaiah Chapter 40

None of our readings today use the word ‘Trinity,’ yet God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is central to them. Indeed the word ‘Trinity’ is not used by Jesus, it is not found in the Bible at all, yet faith in the Holy Trinity is the touchstone of what it means to be a Christian. Those who do not believe in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot use the term Christian to describe themselves - hence Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians etc. Trinity Sunday is a special Sunday because we think about who God is—the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. Even the most committed Christians find this hard because we all know that something cannot be individually three and also completely one. But this Sunday expresses and celebrates the fact that we encounter God in contradictory ways, as a mystery.
In our world there are some certain simple truths, like - ‘water is generally wet.’ But when we start to speak about things which really matter - like God, then we soon find out that we run out of words. Human language and thoughts simply fail to work. Truth is no more easily reduced to trite slogans than the scientific explanation of the creation of this wonderful world can be reduced to two chapters of Genesis. As Christians we need to be honest about our inability to explain God. It would be wonderful to be able to speak of God in certain and simple truths, but if we are honest, certainty is the property of fools. Those who are more intellectually secure will usually admit that the more that we find out - the less we seem to know. Issues are only seen in simple terms of black and white by the simplistic and those who seek to lead them. The more we learn the more we realise that the less we know. This is not to say that we should stop the task of learning, but we must be more prepared to recognise that God is too big for us. It is no more possible for us to understand God than to put the ocean into a bucket.


Whilst the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, the belief which it expresses is stated many times. The early Christians soon discovered that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which he had revealed himself to them. This does not mean that there are three Gods. It means that there is one God who has shown himself in three ways: God the Father, God the Son or Jesus, and Holy Spirit of God who came to them and made God alive in them.
 

Clearly this teaching is absurd from the point of human logic, it makes no human sense! All of the clever illustrations (Clover leaf, the sun as heat, light and energy etc.) which we have heard since Sunday School, they all fall short of explaining how logically God can be totally three and yet totally one. Indeed some of the best illustrations used in sermons serve only to illustrate serious heresies such as modalism! If we are honest it is something which is more clearly explained in terms of that great Christian word, mystery. It is a mystery of our faith. We know why we use the term ‘Trinity’ because it expresses our experience of a God who can be present in Jesus, whilst at the same time, the voice of God is heard to speak from heaven and the Spirit descend as a dove. But nevertheless it is a mystery.
Knowledge will pass away. Human knowledge will be revealed to be a lot less important than some might care to believe. As Christians we need to have the honesty to say that we see but a poor reflection of God as in a mirror, we see through a glass darkly. Our knowledge of God is imperfect, we know in part and the rest is guesswork. Moreover we will never know all the answers until we see God face to face. Charles Royden

 

Hymns

  1. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

  2. As the deer pants for the water.

  3. Thou whose almighty word.

  4. Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

  5. Angel voices

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

 

"Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian.
If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected,
it will wither and die."

 

Thanks be to you,

Lord God of all creation

You have commanded your angels

to keep us in all our ways.

Send your angel to always  be

a fiery pillar before me,

a guiding star above me,

a smooth path beneath me,

today, tonight and forever. Amen.


 

A Confession for Christian Aid Week

For our incapacity to feel the sufferings of others, and our tendency to live comfortably with injustice,
God, forgive us.
For the self-righteousness which denies guilt, and the self-interest which strangles compassion,
God, forgive us.
For those who live their lives in careless unconcern Who cry ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace,
We ask your mercy.
For our failings in community, our lack of understanding,
We ask your mercy.
For our lack of forgiveness, openness, sensitivity,
God, forgive us.
For the times we were too eager to be better than others,
When we are too rushed to care, when we are too tired to bother, when we don’t really listen,
When we are too quick to act from motives other than love,
God, forgive us.
Holy Spirit of God, light a flame within me, burning for justice, glowing with kindness, shining with hope for the end of poverty and the peace of all people in this ever-turning world. Amen.
(Christian Aid/Peter Graystone)


 

Additional Material

Commentary

None of our readings today use the word ‘Trinity,’ yet God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is central to them. Indeed the word ‘Trinity’ is not used by Jesus, it is not found in the Bible at all, yet faith in the Holy Trinity is the touchstone of what it means to be a Christian. Those who do not believe in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot use the term Christian to describe themselves—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians etc.

Trinity Sunday is a special Sunday because we think about who God is—the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. Even the most committed Christians find this hard because we all know that something cannot be individually three and also completely one. But this Sunday expresses and celebrates the fact that we encounter God in contradictory ways.

In our world there are some certain simple truths, like - ‘water is generally wet.’ But when we start to speak about things which really matter - like God, then we soon find out that we run out of words. Human language and thoughts simply fail to work. Truth is no more easily reduced to trite slogans than the scientific explanation of the creation of this wonderful world can be reduced to two chapters of Genesis. Through history we can see times when people have imagined that they did possess understanding and knowledge of God. But, actually this is an illusion, faith is not built upon the measure of the human mind.

As Christians we need to be honest about our inability to explain God. It would be wonderful to be able to speak of God in certain and simple truths, but if we are honest, certainty is the property of fools, not the learned. Those who are more intellectually secure will usually admit that the more that we find out - the less we seem to know. Issues are only seen in simple terms of black and white by the simplistic and those who seek to lead them.

Does this make our task of speaking about God more difficult? I think not, it is a fact that people cannot be argued into belief. They can be attracted, they can be welcomed and embraced but they cannot be argued. People most usually come to believe through faith not through facts. Preachers will often preach the certainty, the black and white. However, truth is much more often grey. The more we learn the more we realise that the less we know. This is not to say that we should stop the task of learning, but we must be more prepared to recognise that God is too big for us. It is human sin and pride aspire to lift us to God, humility sees that God into the human mind will not go. It is no more possible for us to understand God than to put the ocean into a bucket.

Whilst the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, the belief which it expresses is stated many times. The early Christians soon discovered that they simply could not speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which he had revealed himself to them. This does not mean that there are three Gods. It means that there is one God who has shown himself in three ways: God the Father, God the Son or Jesus, and Holy Spirit of God who came to them and made God alive in them.

Clearly this teaching is absurd from the point of human logic, it makes no human sense! All of the clever illustrations (Clover leaf, the sun as heat, light and energy etc.) which we have heard since Sunday School, they all fall short of explaining how logically God can be totally three and yet totally one. Indeed some of the best illustrations used in sermons serve only to illustrate serious heresies such as modalism! If we are honest it is something which is more clearly explained in terms of that great Christian word, mystery. It is a mystery of our faith. We know why we use the term ‘Trinity’ because it expresses our experience of a God who can be present in Jesus, whilst at the same time, the voice of God is heard to speak from heaven and the Spirit descend as a dove. But nevertheless it is a mystery.

It is important to remember that the Trinity does not actually attempt to explain God. It only explains what we know about God, that which he has revealed to us in a very elementary way. So we Christians affirm the Trinity, not as an explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing what we currently know about God. This is honest and it should not make us frightened. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 it says
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;

Knowledge will pass away. Human knowledge will be revealed to be a lot less important than some might care to believe. As Christians we need to have the honesty to say that we see but a poor reflection of God as in a mirror, we see through a glass darkly. Our knowledge of God is imperfect, we know in part and the rest is guesswork. Moreover we will never know all the answers until we see God face to face. Charles Royden

Bishop Richard Chartres, writing on the Holy Trinity

"You can't have a God. If you have, possess a God, if you talk about My God, my own little possession that helps me, my asset, then what you have is not the true and living God, father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but an Idol, a God made in our own image. And, brothers and sisters, much of the history of religion, even in the Christian Religion, is an attempt to make Gods of ourselves, by launching ego-projections into the middle distance - plop - and then having an affair with that ego-projection. That's what religion has been, so very often."

 

Trinity Prayers

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty,
who is and who was and who is to come.
Let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God, to receive praise, glory, honour and blessing.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and divinity,
wisdom and strength, honour, glory and blessing.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Let us bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
All the works of the Lord, now bless the Lord,
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Praise God, all of you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Let heaven and earth praise his glory,
and every creature that is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.
Let us praise and exalt him for ever.
Glory to the father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen. (St Francis)




A Blessing

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit the giver of life.

The Minister:
God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love,
defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you always.
Amen.

To God the Father, who loved us, and accepted us:
To God the Son, who loved us and loosed us from our sins by his own blood:
To God the Holy Ghost, who spreads the love of God abroad in our hearts:
To the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity. Amen.


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Loving God, quicken our hearts again, that we may receive Your Word afresh and anew. Send the refreshing wind of your Spirit upon us Lord that your voice may be heard in our hearts and your loving presence seen in all that we say and do, bless indeed your Word to us - our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen

Lord, lead me to look for the positive in all people and in all situations. May I help bring light to those in darkness, and encouragement to those who feel unhappy. May I show as much care for others as I would like them to show for me. Amen.

Praying the Trinity 
 

1. God as Creator
As Christians we cannot believe that the world was the work of anybody other than our God. We look at it and it is marvellous and we believe that God made it. But it is more than a belief in some thing which we read. When we look at creation we feel God and his creating power. Today we give thanks to God

Thank you God that you have made all things and made them well
That you have given to us all things richly to enjoy
For the beauty and the bounty of this fair earth and for the creating power alive in this universe which make all things new.
For this we thank you God
But forgive us when in pride, or selfishness or anger we misuse your gifts

2. God as Jesus who died for us
We read about Jesus but when we read the story it isn’t just a story, it comes across to us as powerfully as if it happened yesterday. We read that Jesus lived and walked this earth, we remember the history of his birth, but there is more than that, we feel the life of Christ today, we seek daily to bear his cross and to live his risen life -
 

Thank you Jesus for your redeeming power.
That you loved us and gave yourself for us:
That you gave your life a ransom for many, a ransom for us.
That you were obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
We thank you O Christ
Forgive us if we treat your love lightly as a little thing, and if we ever fail to try to love you as you love us

3. God as the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit calls us to be God’s people, joins us together as one body in the name of Jesus. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives that we know God. It is the Holy Spirit who draws us on in the Christian life.

Thank you Holy Spirit for the guidance you have given to us.
For the knowledge you have brought to us.
For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power
We thank you Holy Spirit of God
Forgive us when we try to live the Christian life alone and have failed to seek the divine help which we might have had from you.

Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy. Through them we come to know the mystery of your life. Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Most exalted Trinity, divinity above all knowledge, whose goodness passes understanding, who guides Christians to divine wisdom; direct our way to the summit of your mystical oracles, most incomprehensible, most lucid and most exalted, where the simple and pure and unchangeable mysteries of theology are revealed in the darkness, clearer than light; a darkness that shines brighter than light, that invisibly and intangibly illuminates with splendours of inconceivable beauty the soul that sees not. Let this be my prayer. 
Denys (Dionysius) the pseudo-Areopagite (c500)

 

You may find these prayers about the Trinity helpful to take home and use

To God, our ability is less important than our availability.  Our ability can even get in the way if it obscures God's role in our achievement. Let us remember God the Father in Creation

Let us remember God the Father in Creation

0 God, the Father, we thank you for your creating power. That you have made all things and made them well; That you have given us all things richly to enjoy; For the beauty and the bounty of this fair earth; And for the creating power which can make all things new: We thank you. 0 Father.

Forgive us if in pride and selfishness and in anger we have misused your gifts, and have used for death that which was meant for life.

Let us remember God the Son in Redemption

O Lord Jesus Christ the Son, we thank you for your redeeming power. That you loved us and gave yourself for us; That you gave your life a ransom for many, a ransom for us. That you were obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: We thank you, 0 Christ.

Forgive us if we have treated your love lightly as a little thing, and if we have never even begun to love you as you have first loved us.

Let us remember God the Spirit in Providence

0 Holy Spirit of God, we thank you for your keeping power. For the guidance you have given us, For the knowledge you have brought us; For your continual upholding, strengthening, protecting power: We thank you, O Spirit of God.

Forgive us if we have tried to live life alone, and have despoiled ourselves of the divine help we might have had from you.

And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Three in One, be on us now and stay with each one of us always. Amen.

Prayers by William Barclay

 

A Meditation

To God, our ability is less important than our availability. Our ability can even get in the way if it obscures God's role in our achievement.

A Declaration of Faith



Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father, who created all things:
for by his will they were created and have their being.
We believe in God the Father
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named

We believe in God the Son, who was slain: for with his blood he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation.
We believe in God the Son who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in the Holy Spirit who strengthens us with power from on high
We are called by him from every tribe and tongue and people and nation
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

We believe in One God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
 

Hymns for Trinity Sunday

  1. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! (237)
  2. Be bold, be strong (49 - sung twice); You shall go out with joy (796 - sung twice) 
  3. Thou whose almighty word (699)
  4. All I once held dear, built my life upon
  5. Angel voices ever singing  (34)

Commentary

Trinity Sunday is a special time in the church year when we remember who God is, Father Son and Holy Spirit, The Holy Trinity. This is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian and yet it is very difficult to believe that God can be one and three. Of course it is beyond human understanding, God is a mystery to us and it would be a remarkable thing if we were able to capture God within the measure of our human mind. The Christian teaching about the Trinity is not mean to be an explanation of God, rather it is a way of describing what we know about God, even though we know that humanly speaking it is beyond our reason.

Trinity Sunday is a special Sunday in the church year, it has been celebrated since 1334 when Pope John XXII fixed it as the Sunday after Pentecost. It is a Sunday which is not tied to any special event. We don't have to remember any special events or rituals. Instead it is about a day when we remember just God himself, it is a day to focus our hearts and minds on him. It is a bit like a birthday when all we do is celebrate a particular person and their presence with us.

The Doctrine is:

  1. God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God. 

Confusing? The Bible never uses the word Trinity, it is something that we have invented to explain they way in which we think of God.

It isn’t really an Old Testament problem, not surprisingly the Jews have never had a doctrine of the Trinity or Binity or anything else. There is not a great deal of convincing evidence for a doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament. Some people quote passages such as Genesis ‘Let us make man in our own image’ Gen 1:26. I am not sure that this should be taken as such a key passage, how often do we talk to ourselves or say things like ‘we are a grandmother’ Was Margaret Thatcher a multiple personality? But in the New Testament the problem of speaking of God in the traditional terms as ‘one God’ becomes obvious. Perhaps the best illustration of the difficulty our minds have is seen in the episode of Jesus baptism. When Jesus was baptised, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased’ So we have Father, Son and Holy Spirit all in one episode!

So Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit who comes to Him from God? How can God be God the Father, and Jesus God the Son, and also God the Holy Spirit? The doctrine of the Trinity is one of those subjects which leaves everybody feeling confused but we use it simply to describe how amazing God is. God is so big, so wonderful that he is so far beyond our imaginations that to our minds he really doesn’t seem to make sense! So if somebody comes up to you and says, ‘go on then you're a Christian, explain the Trinity’ - then you're response could be simply to say ‘The Trinity is a way of us saying as Christians that God is much bigger and more complicated than we will ever know.... you can’t put him in your pocket’

If you ever wanted proof of the truth of Christianity then the doctrine of the Trinity is it. Which human being would ever invent a religion which didn’t make sense?! Christians have always struggled, trying to piece together the information which God has given to us. Fortunately being a Christian is about belonging as much as understanding, faith rather than facts. That faith is caught and not taught as we see Christ in others. Charles Royden