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Three Images, Same God!

Yesterday, during our annual Easter Sunday message, multiple thoughts were swirling in my spirit as per the necessity of this concept of Trinity, especially given the wide margins of interpretation applied across the sanctuaries of our land.

The sermon, as always, was phenomenal, addressing the Apostle John's often understated followup to John 3:16. The critical message in verses 17-18 being, that Jesus, who was God, came not to condemn the world, as religion had surely provided enough of that!

Rather, He came that we might escape the hard grip of condemnation, himself affording us a freedom to live and love as manifest in the Christ. You might want to listen for yourself. (see Reynolda link below).

As is often the case, I will hear something during a message that sets off a reoccurring thought pattern, the same as when reading the scriptures.

Of late, if the thought lingers for sufficient time, I will feel compelled to write out my ideas, thoughts often quite out of the box with my evangelical heritage. Such was the case after yesterday.

I have long struggled with the necessity of a concept such as "Trinity". Partly because of my seasoned suspect of any overly simplied academic framework, offered as a means for defending one's opinionated theological purposes.

However, I am also aware of how slow we humans are, usually requiring about 500 years for any significant breakthrough. Thus the need for a basic transference of lessons learned by men and women of old.

In this case, The Great Three in One, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit.

Sounds simple enough, three dimensions of the same Being, yet complex when applied to the Christ, who was both God and man, yet behaved so differently than the religious Being offered by Ancient Judaism.

Basically we all, at least in Judeo-Christian circles, believe there is only one God, One Being, showing up in Three persons. Why can't I just leave well enough alone?

The first evidence of more than One person, to my knowledge, was

captured in the writing of Moses, "let us make man in our on image." There he reiterates man's early interface with this Being, characterizing God as Creator, a garden companion, still later a ram providing, bush burning, sea parting, exodus providing redeemer.

A vast window of time then expires, during which a religious order sets out to capture and institutionalize these types. Yet in the meanwhile, the prophets, the mystics declared that there was more.

From Samuel to Zechariah and long after even Hus, those willing to risk a push back from the religious, let alone banishment and death, offered up transparency of thought. All seemed invariably to speak of a Being less than impressed with ritual, even sacrifice, preferring rather an on-going, freeing, progressive revelation.

The requirement of sacrifice seems our way of escaping some deep fear, given our weakness when comfronted with such an overwhelming Presence. Also over time, revenue was found possible from the abuse of those for whom ritual and sacrifice had been deemed necessary. Jesus was about flipping those tables, and literally!

That income stream, often quite lucrative I imagine, had become necessary for a growing temple industry. By then, time had afforded a priestly order with a top down hierarchy, one deeply embedded with political power brokers, all dependent upon such an economy.

Rumor of a babe being born of a virgin was threatening, though ludicrous to those most arrogant. For others, there was a nationalistic longing, especially among those disenfranchied, long battered by the Babylonian empire, Persian and now Rome rule. They preferred a conqueror, a king, theirs by now long in exile!

Fast forward and it's Easter. God has shown up, just as the prophets foretold, and yes, even in the tiny town predicted, but as a carpenter's son. Are you kidding me, the YHWH of Moses, the long prophesied King, a babe in an animal stall?

No way, imposter, crucify him, and they did.

But wait, just as he said, He then shows up, ressurected as he had promised, first among those deeply grieving. To Mary, just outside the tomb, though something was different, at least until he called her by name. It was likely not her given name. Perhaps a telling reference that only He and she would recognize.

Her response,"Master!"

He walked an amazing alignment with all that religion had captured, even to its festivals. First fulfilling the Passover, then Pentecost, though now manifest as Spirit, a Third Person. One now empowering all 120, gathered fearfully in prayer and by instruction in that same Upper Room as on the Thursday before His crucifixion. Many now spoke languages never learned!

"This is that!" Peter blurts out!

How do you capture all this in one concept? The Trinity, or as one contemporary, Christian A. Swartz has attempted, Three Colors of Ministry (see link).

I know, this introduction has been quite a lengthy journey, but now to my point.

Why the necessity of such a concept as Three in One? Well, why has it taken us so long to move beyond Paul's idea of a Third Heaven, or John's streets of gold, now only beginning to comprehend billions of galaxies?

It seems by design, that we come from at least three different orientations of thought, if not more, given recent leadership assessments.

Those prone toward observation of the natural creation think in one way, myself perhaps.

Then those "colored" with a desire to serve others, to please, to provide consolation, perhaps another perspective; Though seem somewhat dependent upon the former, when navigating the material world.

Then there are those more mystical, less rational, way outside the box, stretching the ideation of those appearing more practical in their mimicry of the Christ. Yet, all three reveal overlapping patterns of thoughts.

Ironically, those most rational can learn from the mystical, though that lifestyle feels a little uncomfortable. Thus the benefit of grace, allowing for all our differences, even in how we "worship".

Might I applaud the scores of denominations on God's menu!

We all bring value when we employ such diversity in a collective service to each other....we become body-like...the Body of Christ, Temples of the Holy Ghost!

My point is that the Trinity can best be seen as it manifests among different people types, each responding differently in their approach to the God of the Galaxies.

Herein the challenge of any static approach to religion! Humans are unique by design! Thus, force feeding an approach to relationship with this Higher Power, especially based upon fear and condemnation is never fruitful, even if in the beginning, with an earlier and limited understanding, men and women heard that as a necessity.

Love has always been the secret sauce, and yes, God so loved! Even when approached by the religious in the second garden, his disciples fearfully asking," Lord, shall we smite with the sword" (Lk. 22:49-53).

Jesus' response was fearless, even while facing a known to be blinded religous brutality, quickly restoring the ear which his most devoted, though impetuous Peter had already severed!

Then, to those same, many with whom he had ministered among within their own temples, he alludes to "the power of darkness," which had surely beguiled them. This seems the end result of any religion apart from a relationship with the Paraclete, the helper, advocate, encourager, and friend!

"Father, forgive them...."

Even the disenfranchised, dependent upon whatever means offered them for survival (surely the case with the soldiers that day), following through with whatever brutal task demanded.

One later declaring, as the earth shook, "Surely this was the Son of God!" Matthew 27:54.

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“Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”

‭‭John‬ ‭7‬:‭45‬-‭51‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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