Each week as I have published this ‘though for the week’ I have included one or more images, usually photographs taken of windows or other objects taken inside St. Stephen’s church. I have done this to both illustrate a point for example the Cross on Good Friday, and to (re)connect people, especially members of the congregation to our building, worship and community.
For this Trinity Sunday, in one respect I have failed in this endeavour. In St. Stephen’s the is no image, no representation of the Holy Trinity, not one. Perhaps this is a good thing.
As Bishop Philip has said recently, “Images representing the Trinity are usually twee or heretical, often both.” I agree. In the end we simply cannot fully depict the holy Trinity, every representation is bound to be deficient.
In a real sense the lack of attempted imagery depicting the Holy Trinity is in itself an aid to our understanding. The fact is that like love, (and God is love) God cannot be described but only experienced, lived out in fact. All we can do is depict, and describe aspects of love, aspects of God the Holy Trinity.
In our building we have many depictions of the natural world, images of God’s creation. In that Creation we see the created love of God, the power of the Spirit, who in Genesis ‘hovers over the face of the waters,’ and in Christ, we see God becoming part of that creation, and its eventual perfection.
We see our Font. Through the font we are caught up in, incorporated in, the life of the Holy Trinity as we are Baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
We see the lectern where the scriptures are read. We are taught that the Scriptures tell us of God and his ways. In the Scriptures we are told of the Holy Trinity and their relationship. “The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 13:13)
We see the Priest, called by God, sharing in the ministry of Christ, consecrated and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We see the celebration of Mass, the most perfect illustration of the action of the Holy Trinity.
“You are indeed holy, O Lord,
and all you have created
rightly gives you praise,
for through your son our Lord Jesus christ,
by the power and working of the holy spirit,
you give life to all things and make them holy, and you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”
In our church then, indeed in our Church, we have no poor image of the Holy Trinity, but examples of a lived out relationship.
Today we have heard the good news that soon St. Stephen’s will be open once again for private prayer (though not yet public worship) The PCC Standing Committee will be working out how this can be safely achieved. Please pray for us.