Pentecost and Trinity-tide

In church terms we soon enter the long season of Trinity-tide. We know that it stands for understanding God in Three Persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Theologically it is a hard one to understand , because there is no neat bible verse to explain it. Frederick the Great of Prussia once humbly declared his crown was “ only a three-cornered hat that let the rain in”. But it did not stop him being considered by many to be one of the great modern monarchs. We may not understand the inner mechanisms of the internal combustion engine, but it does not stop us driving a car. Actually when we think about God as three persons ie God the Father, the eternal Parentwho creates and sustains, God the Son who is Saviour of the worldreconcilingheaven and earth, and God the Holy Spirit who guides, discerns, and comforts – it begins to make sense.

First we celebrate Pentecost which is the season of the Holy Spirit. People wish each other a “Happy Christmas” and a “Happy Easter”, but nobody wished us a “Happy Pentecost” in the streets of Kirkcudbright or Gatehouse . Which is a pity, because it is just as important. Indeed it is also the birthday of the Christian Church. When the day of Pentecost was come, they were all together in one place (Acts of the Apostles chapter 2). I preached recently  at the Parish Kirk in Kirkcudbright at a jointecumenical service for Pentecost and a cake was produced to wish the church a “happy birthday” which was a powerful icon, as a child was asked to blow out the candles and they kept re-lighting . A rich symbolism of the gospel refusing to be extinguished.

Unfortunately the Holy Spirit is seen as a rather shadowy character about Whom little is known. A bit like the Third Man played by the shadowy Orson Welles in the film of the same name. Except he played the evil gangster who appeared from the dark underground of post-war Vienna half-way through the movie to reveal himself as the villain of the piece. Often the Holy Spirit appears in the shadows and alleyways of our lives, but as essential Goodness; quietly guiding, discerning, and comforting. Significantly He (or She; the Hebrew word Rouach has feminine gender) is symbolised as the wind; unseen but felt, cleansing and empowering with truth.

Trinity is a putting together of God’s three attributes in the three persona; Creator/ Parent, Saviour, and Guide. The sum total of which is simply “God is love”. Royalty is much to the fore in these joyful Jubilee celebrations. HM the Queen is well known for her faith (and longsuffering love) and someone who prays daily (she particularly likes the old Prayer Book!). She once famously said “grief is the price we pay for love”.  Bishop Michael Curry leader of the American Episcopal Church, preached at the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan on the eve of Pentecost 2018, declaring there is power in love to lift up and liberate. When love is the way we will lay down our swords and shields by the riverside and study war no more. 

Canon Stephen D. Hazlett