A close-up photograph of bright orange, yellow, and blue stained glass in Trinity Church

The Holy Trinity: God Is Community

“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” — John 3:8


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

When we make the sign of the cross at home or during Sunday worship, we are not simply bookending our prayers. We are proclaiming something astounding about the nature of God. It’s what Jesus came to reveal: God is community. God is one and, at the same time, three — parent, offspring, and their love. And God relates to Godself, and us, in and through love. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams describes this mystery, what we call the Trinity, as “a source of life, an expression of life, and a sharing of life.” The Trinity invites us into the communal life of God.

“It is not for us to think we are so sophisticated that we fully understand [the Trinity], because we don’t,” says the Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, Priest for Trinity Retreat Center. “There is much we cannot comprehend about this mystery, but by God’s revelation, we are invited to participate in God’s life and, in response, to create thriving communities of abundant love.”

The Trinity invites us into the communal life of God.

As the Trinity, God relates to us in a constant exchange of ever flowing love. Like the wind, we can’t see or grasp or contain God’s love. We can’t trap and examine it. But we can feel it, we can turn our attention toward it, and we can revel in it. Like a gentle breeze on our faces or a roaring blast from within, we know God because we experience God’s love. And we participate in this love by sharing it with one another.

“Yes, the ‘wind blows where it chooses;’ this is an image of God seeking us,” says Father Mark. “Carried on this wind is the persistent call to see, in the interbeing of the Trinity, what great love we human beings are capable of.”

We celebrate the inherently relational nature of God on Trinity Sunday. And it’s especially appropriate, here at Trinity Church, to consider some ways to begin wrapping our heads and hearts around this holy mystery. Notice which ideas below help you connect to your inner knowing about who God is or invite you to grow in spiritual maturity.

Read John 3:1–17.

Here are five ways to think about the mystery of the Trinity:

Theology  “Any notion of God as not giving, not outpouring, not self-surrendering, not totally loving is a theological impossibility and absurdity. God only and always loves,” writes ecumenical teacher Father Richard Rohr, referencing the work of feminist theologian Catherine LaCugna. “You cannot reverse, slow, or limit an overflowing waterwheel of divine compassion and mercy and a love stronger than death. It goes in only one, constant, eternal direction — toward ever more abundant and creative life!”

Poetry  Maybe the dynamic outpouring of love inherent in the Trinity looks something like what author Annie Dillard describes in her poem “Spend It All,” a meditation on giving freely and abundantly in the craft of writing — or anything worth doing.

Social Justice  In a conversation with Buddhist mindfulness teacher Tara Brach, Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle, founder and director of the world’s largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program, describes his work as creating a healing community of “cherished belonging” that echoes the theology of the Trinity: “We belong to each other and there are no exceptions.”

Physics  Father Richard Rohr explains the wisdom of fourth-century theologians who described God as a circle dance (perichoresis in Greek), relating the flow, communion, and interdependence of God to what we now know from quantum physics.

Metaphysics  “When we look at the Trinity from a metaphysical standpoint rather than simply a theological standpoint, it’s not so much about persons in relationship as it is about a process by which the world is constructed and maintained,” writes priest and mystic Cynthia Bourgeault. “[Three-part] systems have three independent forces coming together to form something new, a fourth thing.”

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