Yesterday was Father’s Day. I hope everyone had a wonderful day with their dads. Dads, I hope you had a wonderful day with your children. My family celebrated with a day at a museum and barbecue. It was great.
In the Episcopal Church, however, yesterday was also Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentacost. It was the day we celebrated God the Almighty, Three in One, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Over the years, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my faith. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I just answer to the best of my ability, based on what I know of God and the Bible, and my own personal beliefs. One question that has always stood out to me, and that has been asked repeatedly, is this: How do you explain a God who is Three in One? How can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all be one in the same Being? To be honest, I never really knew how to answer it. I always chalked it up to faith. It’s just what we believe.
Then I spent three summers working as a summer camp counselor at Camp All Saints up at Lake Texoma. I talk about my time at camp a lot, because they were three of the best summers of my life and I’m still in touch with several of my friends and coworkers. One of the best things about camp, to me, was the opportunity to spend time in nature and to learn from new friends and advisors even more about my faith. Furthermore, I felt a connection to God that I’d never experienced before.
One night, after the kids were all asleep, a group of us sat around on one of the porches and just talked. About everything. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t all that deep. It started out with the guys teaching the girls to spit Sonic ice like real men. As night fell, however, our discussion turned to God, to science, to the universe, to what it all meant, everything. It was the most open and raw discussion I’ve ever had in my life, and I loved every minute of it.
Being there with friends, at the lake, really inspired my relationship with God, and the Trinity. I’m not sure what it was, but that night, I finally figured out how to answer that question, the one about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It’s difficult to believe in anything that you can’t see or touch or hear. It’s even more difficult given the idea that we’re supposed to believe that this all powerful being exists as one being, yet as three. Until, that is, you think about water.
Trust me, I know it sounds cliche. After all, water is an important element in Christianity. We’re baptized in water. Water bled out of Jesus’ side after He was pierced. His first miracle was an act of turning water into wine.
Water is everywhere. Just like God. And just like God, water is one element, yet it exists in three forms: liquid, solid, and vapor.
The liquid form of water represents God the Father. Water makes life, just like God makes life. Our bodies are made of water, just as our bodies are made of God. Water is the most powerful force on Earth, more powerful even than fire, and yet life cannot endure or exist without it. Water is the base of all creation and existence. Just like God.
The solid form of water, ice, represents God the Son. Jesus, who became man and walked among us. Jesus is the God, who humans were able to see and to hear and to feel. Just like we are capable of holding a piece of ice in our hands, Jesus is the living and breathing form of God. Ice is still water, Jesus is still God.
Finally, the vapor form of water represents God the Holy Spirit. Water vapor is less seen, than it is felt. Vapor is mist, it moves with the wind, and it travels far and vast in the form of clouds. Just like the Holy Spirit, who moves unseen, and yet felt, through hearts and minds and actions. Water in a different form, but still water. God in a different form, but still God.
I’ve never been very good at conclusions, so I’ll leave you with my favorite Psalm.
“Behold now, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord; You who stand by night in the House of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord; The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.”