To rejoice God in the presence and power of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit –
Even if we get Stones in our Shoes sometimes.
There are some things that we cannot put into words no matter how skilled we are. It is difficult to capture a sunset in words, though it is not hard to enjoy the sunset. A meaningful relationship cannot be tied down by a description, yet it is still good to say why some relationships are meaningful to us. Love cannot be fully expressed in words – it is beyond mere expression – but it would be a sad world if we gave up trying to tell of our love. In the same way, when we try to explain the Trinity we find that words fail us. The mystery of Godhead cannot be contained to a neat formula and put in a box or grasped by our minds. The majesty of God is beyond our comprehension. Yet we need to communicate our experience and tell of the things of our heart. Often what the mind cannot comprehend the heart can grasp.
In trying to describe the ‘Trinity’, St. Patrick suggested the shamrock with its three shapes that made one leaf. Others have suggested body, mind and spirit; three parts that you cannot fully separate and yet one being. Others have suggested the sun in the sky. The sun provides the light in the world. The light gives life to the world and in the light we can live and move. Let the light remind us of Jesus who is the Light of the World. Even on the dullest of days the sun still provides us with light. The sun also provides us with warmth. Without the warmth the world would be cold and dead. In the warmth we grow and live. Let the warmth remind us of the Spirit. Glory, light and warmth – we can talk of them as separate things and yet they are bound together. One would not exist without the other.
But the word ‘Trinity’ does not appear anywhere in the Bible, yet the Bible is full of accounts of the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer or Comforter. The reading from Proverbs 8: 1-4 and 22-31 hints at ‘wisdom’ being God’s assistant or
co-worker from the beginning: ‘I was beside Him, like a master worker, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.’ For God to have a personality there needs to be at least another personality to relate to. Personality is of the utmost importance because it is of the essence of the Godhead. The way we reflect God’s image is through our personality.
There are only hints and expressions of the Trinity but there is no doubt that our God is a triune God. We believe in God the Creator who made the world and all that is in it. God created the world out of his own love and for his love. We believe that God revealed himself to the world in Jesus. Jesus is God incarnate. When the world strayed away from God and got lost in sin and death, Jesus came to redeem the world through his love and to bring us eternal life. Once Jesus ascended into the heavens, the Holy Spirit came to us and gave us strength and guidance. The Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three Gods separate from each other but One God. Hard to grasp with the mind, but the heart will begin to understand if we give our attention to each person of the Trinity. In John’s Gospel we have Jesus talking of the ‘Spirit of truth’ who ‘will guide you into all truth’. He also tells us of the Father and how he had given all to His Son and that now the Spirit helps us witness to the world and glorify Christ before the world, so we need to depend on Him.
So if we reflect God’s image through our personality and ‘the local church is the hope of the world’ (a Bill Hybel’s quote); why am I, why are we always trying to avoid putting my/our foot where I don’t want to tread? I find this really difficult. Don’t you? Whether we like it or not, we will come up against people and situations which threaten our confidence and make it feel as if we’re walking on thin ice or looking foolish.
Have you ever been in an embarrassing moment? You’ve walked for what seems like miles with a huge boulder fighting for space in your shoe as I did whilst away last week. This boulder prods and jabs at every opportunity as it attempts to evict your foot from its previously comfy surroundings. You stop, take off your shoe to reveal to the world the size of this enormous piece of granite…..only to find it is a tiny pebble in the palm of your hand and to make matters worse, you’ve only walked a short way. The embarrassment, the groans and insults that everyone throws at you for complaining about, in essence a speck of dust! But they don’t understand. To me and you, the piece of grit felt like a considerable portion of the pebbled beach. You were just about to phone whichever government organisation deals with the height of the pebble hills and inform them that one of their pebble hills isn’t where it should be…it’s where you don’t want it to be. I wasn’t really going to phone. You know what I mean!
Other people might think your complaints unjustified but for you and me the pain was genuine. The discomfort was all too real. Nothing else felt as important as putting the pebble mountain back where it belonged and recapturing that feeling of comfort.
At times, it feels as if our lives are plagued by irritating little bits of grit that are intent on annoying us at every opportunity. Sometimes it is not the bits of grit that cause us discomfort, it’s huge rocks that have placed themselves just where we want to walk! We have a choice. We can stop and remove the grit or carry on walking! No contest! At other times it is not so simple. We cannot always remove or avoid the rocks in our path; we need to learn how to climb over them.
Of course, we always have the option of either stopping where we are or turning around and going back the way we came. But God encourages us to go forward and face the rocks, learn how to deal with them. In Romans 5, St. Paul tells us, ‘We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ and a little Later St Paul declares, ’God’s love have been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’. And that trials work for us, not against us, and develop Christian character. How rich are we!
For some, ‘the rocks’ may be relationships or financial difficulties. For other people it might be their career or education that is causing them to feel as if their progress has ground to a halt. We can be certain of one fact: we will never learn how to deal with these obstacles if we turn our backs on them. Dealing with the ‘rocks’ takes courage; it often involves pain, frustration and anger. It is at these times that God longs for us to ask him to help, to get him involved and longs to teach us how to climb. It is never easy but it makes for an interesting journey. Paul teaches us that we can have peace, and we can have access into God’s grace, His joy, His hope, His love, the Holy Spirit. And when we have given God the pebbles in our shoe or have learnt how to climb the pebble hills then we will reveal the ‘Trinity’ to a waiting world. A waiting world I hear someone say! Yes, there is someone in the world out there who is waiting for someone in here to reveal the ‘Trinity’ to them. This being the case what riches we have in Christ!
Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure to the Father. His disciples understandably we're afraid and uncertain as to what would become of them. He told them it was better that He go away because if He did not, the Holy Spirit would not come to them. While Jesus was only able to be in one place at one time because of His physical form, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and follows as well as lives in each believer and can be with them always.
· What will the Holy Spirit tell the disciples?
· What will Jesus tell the Holy Spirit?
· Whom will the Holy Spirit glorify?
· Does the Holy Spirit still speak today?