I once read the results of a survey published in a newspaper article. The survey asked: “Why is your faith important to you?” The article cited the top results and I remember that one of the primary ones was: “Because it helps me through difficult times”. That seems reasonable enough… but it’s pretty incomplete. “Because it helps me through difficult times” sounds like the spare tire in the trunk of my car. If I have a bad day at work, I’ll pull out my faith and put it to good use. If I experience sudden tragedy, I’ll call on my faith and it will prove to be quite handy. And if I start to get anxious about what happens after I die and that seems like far too much to bear, I’ll pull over to the side of the road, open the trunk and take out my faith, prop up the car and bolt it on. Reasonable enough, but incomplete.
Well then, what is complete? What is the full picture? The answer comes from knowing who our God actually is… and in particular understanding the Holy Trinity. But how can we truly understand the Trinity? The answer is that we should contemplate the three: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Father is about creation and love and his never-ending quest to get closer to us so that we can get closer to him. And we allow this loving God to get closer to us, and we to him, each time we show others, even when it’s really, really uncomfortable, that we have a faith and that we’re not afraid to use it.
The Son revealed to us the tender and compassionate nature of the Father, and he revealed to us that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would be there to guide and to inspire. Jesus showed us his infinite love for us by paying the ultimate price. He demonstrated how to serve and to how to live our lives if we truly want salvation. But he never promised it would be easy.
And the Holy Spirit remains with us to inspire, to guide, to form our hearts and to harden our resolve, especially when it would seem to be much easier to follow the norm and to fit in and to just get along with all that’s going on around us… whether it’s all right or wrong or good or bad or whatever.
We reflect on the Holy Trinity because our one God is challenging us to be like the three.
The creator. What do we create? Do we build up or do we tear down? Do we bring out the best of all those around us? Or only the worst? Do we create a fertile ground for the seeds of the Father’s love to be sown and to grow, or do we do and say things that only make that ground hard and rocky and a place where those seeds wither and die?
The peacemaker. That was Jesus, even when those around him thought he was foolish, or worse, a threat. Do we get involved? Do we take a stand? Do we have the courage to do what we should? Are we a threat to anybody? Or do we step back and think: ah, no, not today… but maybe someday?
The advocate. Do we call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us when there are really tough issues to grapple with… the kind of issues that separate us and make us feel as though the other side just doesn’t get it. Do we stop and ask the Advocate to help us to see things more clearly?
Is faith actually about that spare we have in the trunk that helps us every time we confront a spiritual flat tire? Survey Says… NO!