The God to whom we pray is the Triune God, the blessed Trinity, the Three in One and One in Three, not because theologians have invented a kind of mathematical puzzle to entertain us — because God so loved us that he gave himself in Jesus; we worship Jesus without idolatry because he is true God; we worship the indwelling Spirit because he is God no less, and in that worship we are worshipping a God who is one.
The difficulty-, if it be a difficulty, about that Trinitarian doctrine is not the difficulty of a mathematical puzzle, but simply the difficulty of comprehending a love that goes so deep. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in the oneness oflove beyond all our understanding, though that love has touched us and we have tasted of it in the coming of Jesus, and in the operations of the Holy Spirit in us and for us through the centuries.
We hear so much glib talk about God and glib discussion of God. Talk, talk, talk. Books, books, books — about God and God’s nature. It is the awful reality of God that can be so missing from the talk about him, and can often be missing in our own talk about him as preachers and priests. Would that this dimension of divine reality were more present in our
worship, and our preaching, and our dealings with people, so that people would more readily say, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’.
Strength, care, and tenderness
On the west front of the cathedral of Chartres in France there is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the whole world. It is a sculpture called the ‘Creation of Adam; and in it the hands of God are depicted resting upon Adam’s head as he moulds the first man into existence. And in the hands is a wonderful strength and care and tenderness almost unbelievable in their execution of the sculptor’s craft.
Well, the love of God means that that strength and care and tenderness of the Creator rests upon every single one of us. God cares for you all that much, and this infinity of his care and strength rests upon you, and you are there at all only because of the great love of God for you. And you survive at all only because of his great love for you and the purpose of your existence for all eternity to which this visible life is only a little prelude. And the purpose of your existence is that God cares for you so much that he wants you to have fellowship with him forever.
That is what the love of God means, and let the realisation of it really come home to your imagination when you hear or use those words, and you will find it makes a difference. You will find yourself humbled to the dust; you will find yourself full of gratitude; and you will find that the whole scale of priorities and concerns in your life maybe turned upside down because the first thing — the love of God and your response to it — will indeed come first.
Edited by Arthur Middleton