The Festival of the Holy Trinity

I have been known to challenge Confirmation students to find a worldly analogy to explain the

Trinity – one that I can’t pick ‘holes’ in – and the ‘prize’ is the biggest sweet in the supermar-
ket that their parents will let me buy. I have yet to go the supermarket. Nevertheless I have

been impressed at some of the creative answers! I expect we all know the usuals descrip-
tions – the three leaf clover, water (ice, liquid, steam), a person (child, spouse, parent), an

egg (shell, yoke, white), and others. The point, of
course, is that there is no worldly analogy because we
are talking about a mystery – strictly an error if put in
mathematical terms that 3=1 and 1=3. No, they don’t
we say. Yet that is what Christians confess when it
comes to the ‘three Persons in one Godhead’ (as it
has been said). Our God is no error, we say.
I recently read an article* from a person disconnected
from his church through his divorce who in turmoil
visited a church which used the traditional Christian
liturgical pattern of coming together – confession and

absolution – hearing the Word and responding – at-
tending Holy Communion and receiving Jesus – and

going out with the blessing of God. His experience of the liturgy and the confession and abso-
lution at the beginning where everyone acknowledges their sins and receives forgiveness felt

so different because it was based on the mercy of Jesus – he knew his confession of sins
wasn’t perfect – but being absolved he felt relieved and healing. This was his beginning to
find that in worship he could encounter the Persons of the Trinity who were drawing him –
and all the congregation – and all who worship – into the joy of eternal worship (think all we
heard in Revelation during the Easter season just passed).
In Christian worship and particularly the Divine Service people are drawn into the presence of

the Trinity clearly in the Invocation “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spir-
it” and all that happens thereafter is by the power of the Holy Spirit whereby the Chief Litur-
gist, Jesus, serves us by revealing the Father who, in turn, is pointing us to the Son and thus

we are joining in the relationship of the Persons of the Trinity with each other! The Persons of
the Trinity are in harmony in their ‘life together’ and God extends his hand for us to join him –
and whenever we consider that hand, the picture we find whether it is spectacular or just
plain ordinary is that this hand is pierced by a nail. The Persons of the Trinity act always for
you! And this is best encountered in the Divine Service where God is always the active one
and we are the recipients of what he has to give us for another week ‘in the world’.
We will never find a worldly analogy to explain the Trinity. However participating in, growing
in, being immersed in the Divine Service, being recipients of the Father’s grace, the Son’s
love, and the Holy Spirit’s steadfastness is a very good place to start when wanting to know
about our God and learning how to explain our God to the world.

* Adam Couchman, ‘The Healing Power of the Liturgy’ in Australian Journal of Liturgy, Vol.18, No.1, 2022: 25-36.