Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

Sunday 27th May 2018
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year B
Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40   Romans 8: 14-17   Matthew 28: 16-20

The Elephant Trinity.

Four people were blindfolded and taken to a room in which there was an elephant. They were placed at four different parts of the animal and told to feel it and see if they could identify what it was. The first took hold of its trunk and decided that it was a very fat wriggling snake. The second felt the ear flapping about and said that it was a giant leaf wafting in the wind. The third, who felt the elephant’s leg, decided that they were dealing with a huge tree-trunk. The fourth explored the tail and came to the conclusion that it was some sort of thick shrub. Only when the elephant trumpeted out a deafening roar was the mystery finally solved.

When we try to talk about the Trinity we are like the four blindfolded people. We can give our impressions, but God is so much greater than we can imagine. We end up saying things which are true but wildly incomplete. To speak about Father, Son and Spirit is fine, but it’s simply using terms that we humans are familiar with. To say that Jesus is Son of the Father is correct, but only because our limited minds cannot cope with the full reality of the network of relations that exist between the persons of God.

In the Trinity we have one God. We have the God who is the principle of all life, who created all that lives and breathes. We also have the God who has taken on our human nature and shown us how to live so that we can enjoy life to the full. And we have the God who is present today in our world, encouraging, sustaining, and making us holy. But it is still a mystery, because God is much bigger than any scheme we can produce. God acts in ways we cannot begin to tabulate and predict. Once we think that we have got the hang of the Trinity, then we have made it too small.

If we are not just to end up with God’s trunk, ear, leg and tail, we must listen for the deafening trumpet blast which is God breaking into our daily lives. We learn most about the nature of God from listening to scripture, from our common story of faith handed down from one generation to the next. We see God in the faces of our brothers and sisters, and we celebrate God in our sacraments. But, even with all of this, God still remains a mystery.




Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2018