Self-giving love

We may remember as children when we asked a complicated religious question we were simply told, “It’s a mystery.” The biggest mystery of all was the Holy Trinity, one God, three Persons. In trying to explain how there could be one God who is three Persons, our teachers told us that our human minds could not really understand how this could be, this is the way it is, so just believe it. Even though in one way they were right, such an approach really was not very helpful. We tend to stay distant from things we do not understand. So, in only considering the Trinity from the intellectual perspective of an entity that we cannot understand, God can seem quite distant from us.

The truth is, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is as close to our lives as our very heartbeats because of the kind of love with which this Triune God loves. The Father, who loves his Son with such intensity that he gives everything to him. As Jesus says, “All that the Father has belongs to me (John 16:12-15).” The Son who loves his Father so much that he took on the flesh and blood of humanity, loving with such passion that he sacrificed his own life for us. The Spirit who loves with such daring as to make a dwelling place within us. The Spirit, who loves with the completeness that makes the Father and the Son one with each other.

The Trinity can be described in two words: self-giving. This is where the Trinity begins to speak to our hearts. If we want to know what God is like, we can look to ourselves and remember what it is like to be self-giving. The self-giving love of parents who pour out their whole lives for their children. Self-giving love that rearranges everything to care for an aging parent, that gives up precious leisure time to help a friend, that suffers humiliation by admitting wrongdoing, that goes without so someone else can have, that risks rejection in order to defend somebody’s good name, that puts one’s life at risk to save someone else’s.

The Most Holy Trinity invites us to discover ever more deeply what the love of God is like by looking to ourselves and each other in our self-giving moments. It is the self-giving love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit that calls us every day to do the same.

Together in faith,

The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector

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