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Three in one. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On this Trinity Sunday we remember God’s uniqueness, being one God, but three persons.

In the father, the creator, he who made the world and ‘fashioned us in his own image’, we think of the vastness of all creation, the many galaxies and worlds that must exist beyond our knowledge, the plants and the creatures, from mighty oaks and blue whales, to tiny microscopic organisms that all contain and reflect the gift of life. It is no wonder the psalmist writes:

‘Ah what is man that you should spare a thought for him,
The son of man that you should care for him’ (Ps. 8.4)

We must seem quite insignificant in relation to such a vast and intricate universe and yet we know we are special to ‘Our Father’. A thought echoed rather more ironically by Job in the old testament story:

‘What is man that you should make so much of him, subjecting him to your scrutiny. That morning after morning you should examine him and at every instant test him.’ (Job 7 17-18)

In Job the testing was hard, but as the psalmist continues we see why the father is so interested in us. It is because he has given us a special job to do, a special position in his world, his creation.

‘Yet you have made him a little less than a God (or as the King James bible says ‘a little lower than the angels’). You have crowned him with glory and splendour, made him lord over the work of your hands, set all things under his feet.’

Secondly, in the Son, the redeemer, our saviour, we think of Jesus, Jesus the Son of God, but also the son of man that the psalmist mentioned. He is where God and Man meet. God reached out towards man as he saw us struggle and go astray and man, represented by Mary, after whom our church is named, reached out to God to accept the gift he offers and the task he has for us to do. Because the job of caring for creation is so important, that makes us important to God. And it is because we ar so important that Jesus became a man. When we pray we often finish with the words ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’, and this illustrates Jesus’ unique position as a bridge, a way through to God the creator, the Father. Jesus is the mediator. In Jesus God comes to meet us and he asks us to choose to meet him . It was through Jesus that God called all mankind to follow him, not just the chosen people, the children of Israel. As Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:

‘Through Jesus both of us (that is both Jew and Pagan) have in the one spirit our way to come to the Father’. And later: ‘We are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence through our faith in him (Jesus)’ (Eph. 2.18 and 3.12)

It is through Jesus that we believe God speaks to us, not only through our prayers but in the written words recorded in the eye witness accounts of his life on earth that we call the Good news or the Gospels. Christ the man on earth takes his place as God that he is at the head of that church of which we are the body. Both Man and God.

And thirdly we heard, in Jesus’ words recorded in John’s gospel, of the Holy Spirit. He who Jesus called the ‘Spirit of Truth’ that will lead us to the complete truth about our lives, our role in creation, the very meaning of ‘life, the universe and everything’ (although I’m not sure if the number 42 has any significance in this!).

At Pentecost we remember the time when the spirit rested on the disciples and followers of Jesus, giving them the courage and ability to go out and talk to the crowds, each in their own language, sharing that ‘truth’. Jesus had told them earlier:

‘Do not worry about how to defend yourself, or what to say because, when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say’.

And from that balcony outside the room where they had previously cowered in fear of discovery and persecution this was fulfilled. This ‘Spirit of Truth’ reflects the spirit of wisdom we read of in Proverbs 8:

‘God created me when his purpose first unfolded
before the oldest of his works
From everlasting I was firmly set
From the beginning, before earth came into being…
…I was by his side, the master craftsman
delighting him day by day
ever at play in his presence,
at play everywhere in his world
delighting to be with the Sons of Men’

So the spirit is established as part of God at the very beginning, page one. John tells us the same about Jesus, ‘the word’.

‘In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God…’ and later: ‘The word was made flesh and he lived among us and we saw his glory. The Glory that is his as the only son of the father, full of grace and truth’. (John 1.)

And so we have the trinity. One God in three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Creator, redeemer and life giving Spirit. John’s reference to Jesus as the light of the world gives us an insight into this trinity idea.

A torch. The body of the torch is created for a purpose, to give light to the darkened world. It is like us. We too are created for God’s purpose in this world. The torch in order to fulfil its function requires a bulb. The bulb of the torch defines its purpose. The whole design of the torch is to reflect and magnify the light. The bulb is therefore like the presence of Jesus in our lives. We spread his love when we let it shine out in the love we have for one another and those around us. But we have not got in ourselves the power to let that light shine unless we take in the spiritual batteries, the Holy Spirit that we accept as the free gift of God, symbolically in confirmation and through our daily faith and prayer. It is this spirit that empowers us to shine God’s light in our lives and into the lives of those around us. Through prayer and openness to the will of God, these spiritual batteries are rechargeable. But just like this torch we can find ourselves with a broken circuit. We need to make the conscious decision to switch on for God and, through prayer, worship and reading God’s word, maintain a good circuit, allowing Jesus to shine in our created lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Like this torch we must be ‘EverReady’!

Thus God in us, three in one, working together in us to fulfil the task for which we were made and bring us ever closer to God. And as we serve him in one another we not only see each other as created in the image of God, but also as containing God. In serving one another we serve God. In thanking people and accepting their help we thank God and accept his help.

Which brings us to Independent Harry. Harry who would not accept help from anyone. He could cope perfectly well by himself (not!). How often have we been like him to some extent. And yet if we follow through this model of our created purpose, our task to shine the light of Jesus around us by the power of the Holy Spirit, it means that we are God’s instruments to help others. It also follows then, that in asking for God’s help in the many trials of life we must be able to accept that help from others, people who also carry Christ’s light in the power of the spirit.

You may know the story of the surfer, swept out to sea. A Christian, he knew that God would care for him and so he was not worried. A man passing on a sailing dinghy offered him help.
- ‘It’s all right. I’m a Christian, God will save me!’
Later on and further out to sea a fishing vessel spotted him and came over to help.
- ‘It’s all right. I’m a Christian, God will save me!’
And then again as it grew darker and the sun began to set a helicopter flew over and lowered a winchman.
- ‘It’s all right. I’m a Christian, God will save me!’
And of course by morning he had drowned, and at the gates of heaven he was confronted by St. Peter.
- ‘Why’, he said ‘didn’t God save me? I’m a Christian, I believe in him and I always say my prayers! Why?’
And St. Peter’s reply?
- ‘Well he sent along a sailing boat, a fishing boat and a helicopter! What else did you expect?