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Everything is related. Everything is connected. There is nothing that happens in the world, nothing at all, which does not have an impact on something else. Sometimes the smallest of events can lead to a chain of other events, which profoundly affect the course of history. The smallest of events can have a much wider impact: the soccer ball, which gets kicked on to the road, causing the speeding car to slow down, means that same car narrowly misses a bicycle on the round-a-bout up ahead, instead of ploughing straight into it.

Christians have known for two thousand years that everything is connected. But somewhere along the way that particular piece of wisdom has been forgotten. We’ve been swept along with the rest of society, thinking that all that matters is the individual and the wider connection of all things, the wider relationship of all things, is unimportant by comparison.

But, in fact, the reverse is true. It’s the connections that make us who we are as individuals.

Encompassing this position is the Christian understanding of God as the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There’s a joke about priests always wanting to get someone else to preach on Trinity Sunday, because the whole concept of three in one and one in three seems so difficult to preach on. But actually understanding the Trinity is quite simple, as long as you can dispense with the predominantly Western concept of the individual standing alone, without reference to anyone else.

Understanding God as Father Son and Holy Spirit means believing that life is not about individuals, in the main – it is in fact about relationships. Everything we do is about relationships in one way or another. There is nothing we do that doesn’t have an impact on someone else or something else; everything is related.

The example of this comes from the Trinity. The Father relates to the Son, the Son to the Spirit, and so on. No one person of the Trinity stands alone or exists in isolation, they continually relate to one another. But they relate equally; no one person of the Trinity is less important than the other. There is no hierarchy of importance within the Trinity.

The three persons of the Trinity do have different roles: different “areas of expertise” would be the current terminology! So, God the Father is the Creator, who sustains the world, who forgives sins. God the Son is Jesus: the historical man, first of all, who reconciled us to God through his death and resurrection, and who now as the ascended Christ, continually draws human beings and indeed all of creation back to God.  God the Holy Spirit dwells within us, closer than breathing, the “divine spark” within us, who helps us live “beautiful lives of calmness” and keeps us glued together. At different times the Holy Spirit will do different things with us. I personally know that I am open to the Holy Spirit when I’m a calm, beautiful person! But at other times the Holy Spirit is more provocative, urging us into action.

So, the persons of the Trinity are distinct and they have different roles, but no one person is more important than the other. The relationship between the persons of the Trinity is totally equal.

I was trying to think of a simple example, so that you could visualise how the three persons of the Trinity are equal and all work together. So, I was thinking of things I enjoy doing: is there something that I enjoy doing, where everything comes together as a group so well, that you can’t really distinguish the individual people – you just see the whole? For me, it’s music. When you get musicians working together, and it all just works and the sound comes together, that’s the Trinity. There are times in music, when it all just works. You can hear individual voices or instruments, but there is also a collective sound which is more than just the individuals. The collective is more than the sum of the parts. That’s our human existence and that is our experience of God. We are all connected and when we are connected, we are stronger.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain