St Peter's 13-18
Some people say that doing puzzles can be a good way of keeping your mind active in the same way that getting out for some exercise is a good way of keeping your body healthy. My guess is that many of us will have picked up a jigsaw, a crossword or a sudoku at some point over the last few weeks, if only as a way of finding something to do that doesn’t involve staring at a screen.
Finishing puzzles can feel like a deeply rewarding experience, almost as though you have solved one of the great mysteries of the universe! Being stuck on a puzzle can be very frustrating though, it seems to be a very human thing to not like a problem that we can’t solve. A friend of mine was telling me recently that his mother often finishes a sudoku by putting the numbers in randomly just to make sure that every box is pleasingly filled.
This weekend it was Trinity Sunday, when Christians celebrate the fact that we know God as three persons: God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That understanding of God dates all the way back to the Council of Nicea in AD 325. What the council came up with was an understanding that God is both three and one which makes the idea sound rather like a puzzle that someone has put numbers into because no one could solve it correctly.
And that, of course, is rather the point. God is not a problem to be solved. The Doctrine of the Trinity is an attempt to falteringly explain what is most true about God: that God is known in relationships. As the Father who created the world, God is seen in our relationship to creation. We can delight in the beauty that we see all around us and honour the creator in the way that we care for our little bit of the earth. As Jesus the Son, God is seen in the stories of his life. We can take direction for our own lives as we learn from the wisdom of the past alongside one another. As the Holy Spirit, God draws close to each of us, reminding us that we are all made in the image of God. We most clearly see God in the faces of those around us and even in our own.
The Doctrine of the Trinity is a reminder that God calls us not to solve a puzzle but to live in relationship: to the world, to one another and to ourselves. We do that when we seek to create beauty in the world around us, honour everyone we meet - irrespective of their race or religion, sex or sexuality, wealth or wisdom - and when we allow ourselves to see that we are worth loving too.