Last night at church Keith Nisly had the privilege of speaking about the Trinity. He did a great job and one thing that I liked about his presentation is that he provided good things to think about and also avoided first telling us that he wasn’t qualified to talk about it and that someone else probably could have done better and that he wasn’t really prepared.
He started by telling us that it was an excellent study for him and he didn’t have all the answers. We already knew that none of us was qualified to talk about something as hard to understand as the Trinity, so it was cool that he skipped that part.
When you begin discussing something as big and mystifying as the Trinity it is is really easy to go in circles and eventually, about the only thing you realize is that you still don’t understand it at all. The discussion last night didn’t really seem like that as much- not to say that after forty-five minutes we decided that we had figured out the Trinity and we packaged them up neatly in three boxes which we understood. Keith did a great job of giving the discussion very intentional direction so we didn’t end up in a confused mess and wonder in the end what we really talked about.
Recently I was reading Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love and the title of one chapter was “Stop Praying.” Obviously the intent was to get your attention because when your reading a Christian book, you don’t expect to see titles like that.The point of the chapter was that we often rush into the presence of a big undefinable God and don’t really grasp what we are actually doing. We have no sense of marvel. There is nothing new. You’re just praying again.
At least that’s how it often is for me. I rarely take the time to “stand in silence and adore.” To actually try to grasp that I’m talking to the eternal God of the universe. He’s a Person so big, you can’t even begin to describe and we get to talk to Him! What? Where is the awe? How can I dare to speak to Someone like this in canned Christianize cliches? I rarely put more effort into my prayer than I do when I’m talking to one of my friends.
God is my friend, but He’s not at all like my other friends. Somehow when relating to this Infinite Being it becomes easy to pray insincere prayers that I know sound good because I’ve heard them a lot, not because it’s actually something I’m feeling in my heart.
One thing said last night I really appreciated. Will Schmucker explained it nicely when he said that the reason we use these terms for the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), is because they are the best words we can use to describe them. Obviously the relationship between the Father and the Son is unlike the relationship between earthly fathers and sons, but since this is term that best describes it, and since we are limited to the finiteness of earth’s languages, that’s the closest we can come to describing it.
It was all very excellent to think about again and I left church with a sense of the absolute beauty and incredible mystery surrounding God. Even after He sent His Son to break down some of those walls between us and Him, we still can’t come close to “getting it.”
I have come to the conclusion that if you ever meet someone or read a book by someone that aims to eliminate the mystery that cloaks the Trinity and explains it in easy-to-understand terms, red flags should appear. This person who intends to completely define Someone as unexplainable and as big and mysterious as God, is making all of it a lot cheaper than it should be. We need to be okay with the fact that we won’t understand this stuff on earth.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand Him. He wants us to try even though He knows we can’t. He wants us to be amazed at his absolute vastness and glory. I think we can understand more as we get to know Him better. And as this happens it affects how we live. All of this is wonderful, but to assume you have it figured out is just ignorant.
In a dating or marriage relationship, the two genders will never completely understand each other. But that doesn’t mean they don’t try. It is in the midst of these attempts to understand each other that they become closer to each other and only love each other more.
It is similar with God, except He already understands us. It’s us that have to try to understand Him. Just like in marriage relationship, as we get to know Him better, we love Him more. As this happens we also discover how little we know about Him. God is huge and mysterious. Because of this, I will never understand Him, but it won’t keep me from trying.
Photo credit. hubblesite.org/gallery/
“The Magic Hour” – Andrew Peterson
“Quiet Town” – Josh Rouse
“Carmen Suite #1 Intermezzo” – George Bizet
“The House of God Forever” – Jon Foreman
“Black is the Color” – Celtic Thunder
“Mofo” – U2
“Piano Concerto #9 In E Flat, K 271, “Jeunehomme” – 3. Rondeau: Presto, Menuetto” – Mozart
“Mozart: Symphony #24 In B Flat, K 182 – 2. Andantino Grazioso” – Mozart
“Too Much” – Leeland
“Adagio For Strings, Op. 11 – Agnus Dei” – Samuel Barber
“Shiver” – Coldplay
“Panis Angelicus” – Jackie Evancho
“Mozart: Symphony #40 In G Minor, K 550 – 1. Molto Allegro” – Mozart
“Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” – Arcade Fire
“My Song In The Night” – The Concordia Choir
“Por una Cabeza” – The Ten Tenors
“He Shall Feed His Flock” – George Friedrich Handel
“The Mountains of Mourne” – Celtic Thunder
“Clarion Call” – Courier
“Mozart: Symphony #32 In G, K 318 – 2. Andante” – Mozart