Journey Into Mystery

Journey Into Mystery

Primary Text: John 16:12-15

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
- John 16:12-15 (NRSV)

Today is Trinity Sunday, the day that the church sets aside to make sure that we talk about one of the most wondrous and mysterious aspects of God: that God is three in one. What does it mean to say that God is three in one? It means that the following three things are true.

  1. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are all God.
  2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all distinct from one another.
  3. Yet, there is only one God.

There are a lot of metaphors used to talk about God, and they all fall short. God is not like water, which is solid, and liquid, and gas. Water transforms from solid, to liquid, to gas, based on it’s temperature. You take liquid water and boil it it transforms into steam and if you freeze it it becomes solid ice. God does not transform from Father, to Son, to Spirit. God is always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God is not like a man who is a husband, a father, and a carpenter. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not just three roles that God has, like a man can have the role of husband, and the role of a father, and the role of the carpenter. In the passage we read Jesus tells his disciples about when the Spirit comes. It doesn’t make any sense for someone, let’s call him Phil, to talk to his kids about when Phil the husband comes, because they’re the same person. God is not like anything else in all existence.

What does it mean to say that God is three in one? It means that the following three things are true.

  1. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are all God.
  2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all distinct from one another.
  3. Yet, there is only one God.

All of our metaphors, fall flat because God is unlike anything else in all existence.

The Trinity is often viewed as a dry, distant, and intellectual aspect of who God is, a doctrine that is completely unconnected to our lives. I submit that, on the contrary, it is one of the most meaningful and personally impactful aspects of the nature of God. One on level this profoundly impacts our lives because it profoundly impacts the way we experience God: as Father of all, Son who died for us, and Spirit who dwells within us and advocates for us. Yet, one of the most powerful ways that this impacts our lives is that it confronts us with the enormity, and mystery, and wonder of God.

Every time we bow our heads in prayer, or lift our voices in praise, or open our Bibles, we are coming before, we are engaging with the Divine. Every time we bow our heads in prayer, or lift our voices in praise, or open our Bibles we are engaging with the Creator of all things, the mystery of mysteries, the great mystery beyond the veil, who created all other mysterious things.

We are surrounded my mystery every day of our lives, often in the simplest things. Take light for example: light mystifies physicists to this day. Is it made of waves? Is it particles? Is it both, and if so how can that possibly be? And that’s to say nothing of things like dark matter, an invisible form of matter that seems to pervade the universe, or all the strange things that teeny-tiny particles do. If something as mundane as light is that mysterious, how much more mysterious must all-powerful, all-knowing, inventor of light be? If something that can command with the flip of a switch is that mysterious, how much more mysterious must the infinite, the divine, ultimately be?

The mysteriousness of the Trinity is not a weakness but a strength. If we ever think we have the infinite God, all figured out, that’s a red flag that should tell us that we are missing something important.

One of the most important ways we can grow as Christians is learning to be comfortable with mystery, and even beyond that, learning to embrace mystery. The mystery of God is part of the beauty of God. The fact that God is not fully comprehensible is one of the most exciting things about who God is.It means that there will always be more to learn, more to experience, more opportunities to grow, both to grow as a person, and to grow deeper in our relationship with God. There is always more journey ahead. Learn to embrace it, with the enthusiasm that a scientist embraces the mystery of the universe, or a sci-fi or fantasy nerd embraces a new universe of lore ripe to explore.

1 Does not wisdom call
    and understanding raise her voice?
2 On the heights, beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
4 “To you, O people, I call,
    and my cry is to all who live.  
- Proverbs 8:1-4 NRSV

Here the author of proverbs depicts wisdom as a woman calling out for her children to come and learn. Wisdom calls to us, to hear, and listen, and grow.Wisdom calls, embrace it and run after her.

To all of you who naturally revel in the unknown, and whose inquisitiveness is often mistaken for rebellion to those around you, not only are you welcome here, but the church needs you. You are an example of a virtue that is often forgotten, which is why you are misunderstood. Your inquisitiveness is a good thing, your excitement at new questions is deeply biblical and virtuous. It simply means that you have heard wisdom’s call and instinctively started running.

Let us all, each and every one of us, embrace the mystery and wonder, and beauty of God. Let us all, each and every one of us, never forget, not even or a moment, the enormity of what we do each time we bow our heads, or lift our hands in praise, or open our bibles. In so doing, we commune with the divine,,w e engage with the infinite, the almighty and all-knowing, the incomprehensible triune God.