Pondering the Trinity
One recent evening I was reading the Easter story to my granddaughter, Lilly, who is three. During the time in the Garden of Gethsemane, we read that Jesus prayed. “Why was he praying?” she asked. “What do you mean, why?” I replied. “He’s God isn’t He? What was he doing, praying to Himself !?” In this simple sentence she laid open one of the deepest questions of theology.
The truth is we don’t know. We believe that Jesus was fully God and fully Man. We can write books about that and talk in our Bible studies about it, but can’t ever understand it. God as man is a glimpse of what God is like and what we are to be as sons and daughters created in his image. His life and love and pain here was a tiny peek at his nature. What does it mean when God takes on all the suffering of the human body? Not as a punishment but as a redemptive act.
I tried to explain to her that we know God in three ways, or that he shows himself to us in three forms, but dumb down the Trinity and you find yourself wandering from one heresy to another. Fortunately she’d had enough and turned the pages of the story book, to his arrest and death and then resurrection.
What our talk reinforced to me, is what CS Lewis said so many times, one of the reasons Christianity rings true, is that it is not something we humans would have come up with. The very fact that at times it seems to not make sense bears witness to the fact that it was not man made.
“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is
one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have
guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected,
I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing
anyone would have made up.”
A three year old heart felt the tug that something fundamental to this story is very very different from every other story she's heard. It has no flying ponies, or talking rainbows. But something even more incredible. A God who is fully one of us and fully God. You need not ask her if it is true, just look on her face and listen to her voice when she says "He's alive!, that's my favorite part".