Trinity not only on the rails
Today is Trinity Sunday. Some people find it better to avoid detailed discussion, as the notion of “Trinity” seems complicated. I don’t blame people for so thinking and many deep thinkers have concluded that it is best left as a mystery.
You won’t find the word in the Bible. But there are several words we use in church circles which are like that. Terms such as "monotheism", "incarnation", "omnipotence", are not found in the Bible. They denote theological concepts concerning Christian faith that are believed to be contained in the Bible. Even the term "Bible" is not found in the Bible!
Guess how many references you get if you google “Trinity”. Answer: over 276 million. Nearly all will be non-religious references, no doubt, BUT they show how deeply rooted in culture and history the word is. Many many place names will owe something to the fact once there was a Church of the Holy Trinity there, or someone named a place because they wanted to celebrate the doctrine. Talking railways, there used to be a Trinity railway station which served the district of Trinity, Edinburgh from 1842 to 1925. There is a Trinity railway line in Texas, named after the Trinity River, which was originally so named by a Spanish explorer in 1690 for religious reasons.
In the UK we have Trinity lighthouses (plus lots of other support for maritime navigation). Why? Well, once upon a time there was a charitable group called “The Master Wardens and Assistants of the Guild Fraternity of the most glorious and undivided Trinity.”
If we choose to think about it, the idea of the Trinity with its pattern of unity in diversity (one God in three Persons) is a compelling image for our social relationships. If God is like that, so should we be. In this respect it is similar to Paul’s image of the body.
The body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body (1 Cor. 12:12). Eyes, ears, feet, etc come together — in a Trinitarian way — to form one unified body. Similarly, we Christians — with our different personalities, backgrounds, and gifts — who together constitute the body of Christ on earth, should treat each other in a Trinitarian way: honouring each other’s differences, while being completely united in Christ. And if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together (v. 26).