Trinity Sunday: a brief reflection (God is free to be God far away from God)

It’s Trinity Sunday, and for those of you who might wonder why Christians believe in the Trinity, and who won’t be satisfied with the explanation that it’s traditional, orthodox, or taught by Scripture, here is a brief explanation of one reason I am thankful for the Triune God.

When Jesus is baptized, we see a moment in which the Father speaks a word of blessing over the Son who is marked by the coming of the Spirit in a dove. Jesus’ baptism is his entrance into “the way of the sinner.” He is baptized by John, who preached a baptism of repentance for sin. In Christ, God came and entered into this path of the sinner, the path of alienation and distance from God, a path which culminates in the cross and Jesus’ cry of God-forsakenness.

Jesus walks the path of separation from God, which means, God is found at the point furtherest from God, in exclusion, in death, in hell. The path away from God is contained within God’s own life. Jesus is sent from the Father to enter into and take the place of us sinners. There is, therefore, no path, no place, no space into which God cannot and has not gone. There is, therefore, no place that God cannot be found. For the distance of upmost separation–the place of death, the descent to hell–is traversed by God. The Spirit is the affirming love of God that surpasses any and all separation.

Because God is Triune, God can go to the furthest place away from God and still be in loving communion with God. Because God is Triune, every point of seeming separation and distance is an opening for God’s creative, life giving love (the Spirit). Because God is Triune, we need not fear losing God or being abandoned by God, for there is no place God won’t go.

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2 Responses to Trinity Sunday: a brief reflection (God is free to be God far away from God)

  1. I very much appreciated this, Tim. It reminds me of many of the early Church commentators who read the Prodigal Son as a type of Christ: the son who leaves the father and goes to a foreign land where he squanders everything and ends up wasting among unclean pigs. Not the image I normally use to think of Christ, but a helpful one.

    • Tim McGee says:

      Thanks. I actually pull the idea from Barth but he also notes there is some history of this reading in the tradition. I think it’s quite freeing. I blogged a long time ago on “faith” from this perspective, well, from Flannery O’Connor’s preface to _Wise Blood_, about how faith or virtue often lies in what we can’t do: it’s not a way to get to God but the confession that we cannot get away from God.

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