Even the Beatles knew that, “one and one and one is three.” Honestly, I haven’t a clue what their song, “Come Together” was all about. I think John Lennon was a fan, as am I, of nonsense poetry. A gander at my collection of poetry books and you’d find little else.
The fact is, you can’t argue with nonsense poetry when it makes sense. And this is a mathematical logic that even a preschooler knows. So, how can generation after generation of theologians conclude that the sum total of three persons equals one?
Frankly, object talks that try and explain the Trinity, an ancient point of view of the Christian faith, fall short. I doubt that even Saint Patrick, a well-known proponent of the Trinity, ever stooped so low as to use the humble shamrock to explain the doctrine. And the example of water as having three states of solid (ice), liquid and steam leave me feeling dry.
Yet, on the Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate the Trinity. Essentially, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Not just states or masks but that this is who God was, is, and will be.
Just like a writer is one who writes – a creator is one who creates. In that sense God needs creation in order to create. A redeemer is one who redeems, and is motivated by the relationship. In that sense God needs us to be in relationship with, to love. And a sustainer is one who sustains, who remains in relationship with another, with us. In that sense God needs us to gather in community to carry out the mission entrusted to us.
Interestingly, when Jesus was asked about God or heaven, he taught about love. He didn’t hold up a shamrock and speak about three in one; he spoke of God’s essential nature as love. All that God does is motivated by love. Love is the image in which we were created. We proclaim our faith in the Trinity – the God who is fully and forever the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sustainer.