Sunday 30th May 2021 Trinity Sunday

An act of worship at home for Trinity Sunday

Reading          John 3: 1-8

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’


I wonder if the concept of the Trinity is all that mysterious to mothers – needing to be a multiple personality may help in understanding the concept of being three in one and one in three, although I’m sure most feel there are times when being three separate physical identities would be really useful. But there is more to the mystery of the Trinity than this: trying to reduce it to such simplicity does not do justice to the doctrine, yet making it so difficult that no-one can understand it doesn’t help either. Is there a happy medium? I wish there was, but I don’t see it: we just need to accept that the Trinity is the Trinity, and it’s something we may never fully understand.

But isn’t that the case with most of the things we are called to believe in our fellowship with Christ? There are many things that are hard to accept: forgiveness, love, guidance, criticism…

Not everything can be explained: like the wind, we don’t know where things come from, or where they go, only that they happen. Many things happen that are beyond our understanding.

I have faith that my car will start when I need it to; that my daughters will be safe in the lives they are living; that my wife will come home from work safely each day. There is no real basis for that faith.

Think about your day: how often do we put our faith in people and things to work in a particular way, to happen the way we expect, to be a certain way, to react in a certain manner? We place faith and trust in all sorts of things with no logical basis for doing so. We place our trust in inanimate objects, strangers, family and friends.

A fictional book with an unusual portrayal of God as Trinity is ‘The Shack’. Its story of a human being spending a weekend with the Holy Trinity isn’t its only the challenge. In it God is portrayed as a large, jolly black woman, Jesus as a young carpenter, and the Holy Spirit as a surreal shimmering woman. It is a portrayal that gives reason to pause and think. There is such a strong bond between them of love and caring; the kind of selfless love that gives everything, and then gives some more. The love that draws you in, to believe that this is the way that life should be lived: that in Christ, in God, in the Holy Spirit, we find what we need, without proof, despite our life experiences, in defiance of reason or logic.

Nicodemus, presumably an eye-witness to the miracles Jesus performed, couldn’t get his head around what Jesus was saying about the Holy Spirit. If Nicodemus had trouble with it all, it really isn’t any wonder we are having trouble with it when we are so much further removed from the source.

So, how do you see the Trinity? The Father: male, with long white beard and hair, Jesus: young male with great carpentry skills, and the Spirit: ethereal and unseen? Or, the Father: dark skinned, close cropped beard, Jesus; skilled orator and good looking, the Spirit: a tongue of flame? No. It is what the Trinity represents that matters: the open community of love and peace. The community into which Christ invites us every day of our lives wherever we are. The Trinity, no matter how you see them – as two men and a woman, as black or white or something in between, as three separate entities with a great bond of empathy, as one entity with three different aspects to their personality – is central to our life. I need the humanity of God in Christ, I need the all-powerful guide of the Spirit, and most of all I need to know that someone loves us.

Do we need to understand the Trinity to believe in it? Can we live by logic, reason and proof alone? Or do we find fullness of life by believing in the one ‘sent on a cosmic rescue mission’ of love and redemption? The reasoning might be confusing, the logic non-existent and the proof invalid, but none of that makes the Trinity any less believable. None of it makes God’s love any less real. None of it makes Christ’s sacrifice any less awesome.

All we need is to trust.


God the Father,

ground me in your being as we pray for those who flounder and struggle with the pressures of life.

May they see some shape, some purpose to life and find a way to move forward.

May their struggles become less tangled, and may they find calm in the chaos of their living…

God the Son, enfold me in your love as we pray for those who know little or no love, security or peace;

for those who live in fear and loneliness;

for those who are shrouded in pain and smothered by death;

for those without family support and succour, the friendless and the homeless…

God the Holy Spirit, embolden us to share as we pray for those who have no hope, no dreams, no visions;

for those who have no knowledge of you, who have not seen you, nor felt you, nor encountered you;

for those without faith and trust, those seemingly lost to themselves and to you…

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these are all your children;

for them we pray.


Hymn  StF 11 – Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,

early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;

Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,

casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,

who wast, and art, and ever more shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,

though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,

only thou art holy, there is none beside thee,

perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,

all thy works shall praise thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Reginald Heber (1783-1826)


In our going and our staying may we live to love and serve the Lord,

and so may the blessing of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

be with us all this day and forever more.


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