A Letter from the Vicar
We are all one in Christ
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
God in three persons Blessed Trinity.”
So reads part of the well-known Trinity Sunday hymn. The concept of the Trinity, that God is three persons, is a very tricky concept to get our heads around. Over the years different visual aids have been used to help us: the three leaf clover; the different states of water; a tetrahedron, or even the different relationships that a human being represents - that is Father, to his children; Son, to his parents, and friend or work colleague to other people; though none of these explains the concept totally.
Please don’t get too hung up on this concept of the Trinity because it is only that, a concept, a notion, an idea – in fact if you read the Bible cover to cover you wouldn’t ever read the word “trinity” - but it is also, one of the basic tenets of Christian faith and in several places it is made clear that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one in all ways.
The story of Jesus’ baptism is an example of this. ‘As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”’
Our understanding for the Christian that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one is an important belief that models the way in which we are in relationship with fellow human beings. St. Paul talks about this in his letter to the Galatians.
‘You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus and all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.’
(Galatians 3 v 26-28)
Implications for living out the Christian life
Over the past year the issues of race inequality, gender and ethnic issues have been prominent within our society, and it is clear where Christians stand on these issues. As John Stott declares, ‘Christians are not literally colour-blind so that they do not notice whether a person’s skin is black, brown, yellow or white. Nor are they unaware of the cultural and educational background from which people come. Nor do they ignore a person’s sex, treating a woman as if she were a man or a man as if he were a woman. When we say that Christ has abolished these distinctions, we mean not they do not exist, but that they don’t matter. They are still there, but they no longer create barriers to fellowship. We recognise each other as equals, brothers and sisters in Christ.