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I’ve been thinking about my bees and the Trinity…

June 14, 2014

I’ve been thinking about my bees… and the Trinity. A strange combination I know, but it worked for me.

You see, each of my bees are separate individuals. There are tens of thousands of them in each hive, all working together but all still different and unique. But then there are different types of bees in the hive. There are three types of bees:

the workers who are all female,

the males, and

the queen.

Together these three make the living entity that is the hive and none of them can survive without the others. We tend to think that the queen controls the hive but she doesn’t, at least not on her own. The queen, the males and the workers all affect what the hive does, when and how.

Like the three different types of bee, all working together to make one hive there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all working together to make one God – Now you see where the Trinity comes in! Each is God but each is also different and essential. But if you’re like me all this discussion of Three in One and One in Three doesn’t really help that much. I remember studying the original definitions of the Trinity. There was so much debate and argument which explained so much to my head, but sadly said very little to my heart.

The Greek philosophy of ‘substance’ and ‘accidents’ originally used to explain the Trinity is elegant but I don’t think like the ancient Greeks so that isn’t much help either. Indeed, the whole way that we understand how the world is made has changed since those times. That led to debates at when I was at the Vicar Factory about whether the creeds should be re-written and the Trinity re-defined. But given the difficulty we have about agreeing about simple things I can’t see that ever happening. Just imagine the endless debates in Synod! I do, every time I want to get off to sleep!

Thankfully, I have long since stopped worrying about such things. I stopped worrying about the definition of the Trinity and started to wonder about the reality. I now see all those definitions as guides to the experience of the Trinity, as doorways into how to live as part of the Trinity.

For example, I know that I am called to be more Christlike, i.e. more like God. This is practical because to learn to be more Godlike it helps to know about who God is, and the Trinity tells me a lot about who God is:

When I think of God as Father, I remember that God is – Creator, sustainer, king of all things, judge, loving, redeemer, holy, eternal, knows all, is always present, wise, all of me (as my Creator), everything is made from God the creator…

When I think of God the Son, I remember that God is – Jesus, friend, Saviour, loving, challenging, family (with the Father)…

When I think of God the Holy Spirit, I remember that God is – everywhere, in all his people, powerful, personal, ever present, showing me who he is, wanting me to be like Him and part of Him, part of every part of me (like my blood), my father, my brother, my friend, accepting, challenging and everything said about the Son and the Father…

When I think of God, all together as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I remember that God is – A community, loving, sharing, inviting of me and everyone and everything to be part of that community, everything said about one can be said about the others, complex, far more than I could ever put down in words…

After all of that I need to remember that I don’t have to know everything, that’s God’s job. I only need to learn what I can, and most importantly of all, I need to let the Holy Spirit make me part of the Trinity. When the Spirit works in me he makes me part of that special and wonderful relationship. Then I don’t just have theories and definitions of the Trinity; then with the Spirit, I have first hand experience of who this God is.

It is important to learn about who God is, so that I can have some idea of the sort of person that God is going to make me into. There are lots of definitions but this God who is a living, eternal relationship can only really be understood by experience. I can only really know about God by joining this relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is why the Father sent Jesus. That is what Jesus invites me into. That is what the Spirit in me does. That’s what I want to be part of, now and for ever.

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