Trinity Sunday

By The Very Revd Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich - 12 June 2019
Web Trinity Windows_22-23_Norwich Cathedral © Paul Hurst (2)

Here in Norwich our cathedral is dedicated to the “Holy and Undivided Trinity” rather than in the name of a major saint as so many of our churches and cathedrals are.

The doctrine of the Trinity – that we believe in one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is at the heart of our Christian faith. Yet how on earth do we explain how God is one God but three persons?

There is a 13th century story told about St Augustine as he walked along the seashore near his home. Augustine was musing on the doctrine of the Trinity when he came across a little boy playing on the sand. He was a digging a pit in the sand and with the aid of a small spoon he was taking water from the sea and pouring it into his pit.

St Augustine watched him for a while and then asked him what he was trying to do. The boy answered that he was transferring all the water in the sea into his pit.

To this explanation St Augustine is said to have replied: “It is impossible, how may it be done, since the sea is so great and large and your pit and spoon are so small.”

To this the child retorted: “I shall sooner draw all the water of the sea and bring it into this pit than you shall understand the mystery of the Trinity and His Divinity into your little understanding… for the mystery of the Trinity is greater and larger to the comparison of your brain and understanding than is this great sea unto this little pit”.

I’m sure this story is apocryphal, but this rather precocious child reminds us that there are things in life which will always remain something of a mystery. We can’t pin God down to narrow and correct formulas because he is far greater than human words and thoughts.

But we can reflect on the way in which we experience his presence in our lives. Christians down through the centuries have experienced God as a Father who loves them; as the Son who comes alongside them and as the Spirit who dwells in them. And it is this experience that makes the doctrine of the Trinity so important to us.

The Fatherhood of God reminds us that he is the one who made us ~ we are not here by chance, but because God created this world and has a purpose for our lives.

In Jesus, God the Son, we begin to understand the depth of God’s love for us, because he was prepared to make himself vulnerable by taking on our human nature; suffering, dying and rising again.

And in the Holy Spirit we see that God continues to desire to be involved with human beings. He wants to dwell in us and work in our lives, changing and transforming us so that we grow closer to him.

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate this loving God  ~ Father, Son and Holy Spirit with his diverse and exciting nature; who is beyond human comprehension and yet, who desires to dwell in each and every one of us.

The Festal Eucharist for Trinity Sunday will take place on Sunday 16 June at 10.30am.
For more information about services at Norwich Cathedral click here

Picture: Paul Hurst

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