The Trinity

I grew up as a Catholic, was expected to master the “Catechism” and never directed to read The Bible.  Then – like all the good hippies and intellectuals around me – abandoned religion along with my barber in the late 60s.   It felt cool to identify as an atheist.  When “fundamentalists” crept back onto the scene trinity 2in the 80s and 90s to toy with our politics, I was dumbfounded.  I thought we’d killed God.   Turns out you can’t kill God — you can only turn your back on religion, which is quite a different matter.  When a certain strain of M.E. fundamentalism began to catch the news with severed heads, I knew it was time to take a good look.

I have been looking, and I have realized many things.  Let’s begin with The Trinity.  A friend asked me how I “saw” the trinity, I was stunned to realize I had not a way to see it, feel it or be clear about it.  Time to study.

Now I have a way:  the trinity, first off, is to be thanked for not being a simple opposition.  It has three items, and they reflect one another and turn and twist and illuminate one another.  There are so many ways to work with a trinity.  One could be the two sides of our brain and then our heart.  The Father could be right Right Side of our brain:  the whole picture:  That which cannot get into words; the context, the mystery, the shape.  Then on the left side is The Son:  The Word.  God revealed Himself to humans the only way he could:  as man.  For 12 (or 13 if you count Mary) followers at the time, it was shockingly certain:  this man was divine.  He was not a man at all at the same time he was a man.  He was God, incarnate. When people began to accept that God could come as man to man, many began to join this unique Jewish “sect” and they called themselves “Christians” after “Christos”, a Greek word that means “The Messiah.”  They were giddy with joy:  it was as if they were drugged with certainty that redemption had arrived.  Better than wine.

Bythat time in history, the peoples of the Middle East had become monotheists, believing in ONE God, and believing that this ONE God actually INTERVENES in human history.  The great intervention was to be a very clear sign that God actually enacts this intervention.  That would be the second coming.  And here we get the next great divide:  the Christians began to say that the Messiah HAS come; the Jewish people who remained Jewish continued to say that the Messiah WILL come.

The Trinity is a unique Christian symbol.  Thus far we have looked at two of the three points:  God and Son.  God is the unspoken word, the name that cannot be spoken, the true one.  And the Son is the Word–the Word made flesh.  This son then could give rise to a Sacrament and ritual that followers could actually eat of the flesh of this divine entity and drink of its blood.  Wow, that.  In years not so distant at the time, sacrifice was common.  People would sacrifice a sacred animal, one that actually symbolized the god in which they believed, and then eat that animal as if in a shared dinner with god (when it was actually a dinner of god).  My, my.

Then the third element of the trinity:  the Holy Spirit.  If the first two are correlated with the two halves of our brain this third can be felt dropping down to our heart.  But it is not as simple as “the heart.”  No!  It is the connection and the vibrancy of the three.  There is inside each of us a feeling – not a rational feeling but a certain feeling – that we exist inside something sacred.  The sacred is in us, of us, and outside of us, and the connection between each and every one of us.  That spark is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit.

Oh, my.

 

 

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