Sunday, 6 May 2012

Delighted by God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

So often, I find myself falling into a pattern of life which can be aptly termed 'fine', getting along 'okay', when there is nothing special to report, and in those periods I'd describe my relationship with God as just 'fine' too. But it's been dawning on me recently just what a huge cop-out that really is! What I characterise as 'okay' or 'fine', should probably be more accurately described as dry or even stale. When I tell myself my relationship with God is "just fine", I usually only think this because I have lost sight of what a relationship with God really means. And one thing that is guaranteed to bring it all back to me (at least as much as my young mind can take...!), is to take a good long look at the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And to learn to delight in Him once more. I love that even something I have known for pretty much all of my life, has (and I hope will always have) the power to delight me as though I had never heard it before.

Spending a lot of time this year studying a theology course set out by UCCF has brought me into regular contact with the speaker and author Mike Reeves. I think the first time I heard him speak, his delight in God sounded to me a bit OTT. Not that I'd ever have said you could be too delighted in God, I'm just a champion of good old British reserve, and so there's something in me that takes a step back from enthusiasm, no matter what the object of that enthusiasm is; or so I'd tell myself... Reeves is brilliant at teaching the Trinity, or maybe it's that the Trinity is so wonderful that Reeves' teaching shines so much! Because actually, really getting that God isn't a lonely one person God, but is Father, Son and Spirit, eternally loving each other, makes all the difference in the world to pretty much all areas of life, and brings a joy that beats British reserve every time!

That we have a God who is Father, who longs for us to call him Father, to accept his freely given love, to join with the Son as part of his family, brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus - what delight! (I've reflected on this amazing Fatherly love in another post If we forget that God is our Father, and that he reaches out to us through his Son and Spirit to make us his children, then we lose so much, and our faith becomes only a way of saying that we think God is the best bet for a good/eternal life, ultimately a quest after our own gain with our only attitude towards God being gratitude, not love. But God is Father, Son and Spirit, and the way he has made for us to relate to him is by that same framework. We are made his sons, through the death and resurrection of the only-begotten Son, and are given his love through the power of the Spirit poured out in our lives from Christ our head.  So we love him, as children love their Father, because that is what we now are. And our relationship is far, far deeper and richer than simple gratitude.

One small taste of this... On a team day the other week, as part of a day discussing the clarity of Scripture we were thinking through the fact that God is a practised speaker: the Son is the Father's eternal Word and speaking is part of the eternal fellowship of the Trinity.  As we were discussing this it occurred to me that if God is an eternal speaker, then he is also an eternal listener. The Father, Son and Spirit have always been 'listening' to each other, doesn't that make prayer all the more appealing?! Do we ever worry that God isn't listening? Well yes, because so often we paint God in our own image, and we're not that great at listening. But God isn't made in our image (Thank you Father!) we are made in His, we can listen (even if we're not always that great at it), because he is the Listener. God is the best listener ever, and we can be certain of that, because he's always been listening, in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity. So we pray because that is what we have been called to, a relationship, where God speaks and listens perfectly, and we are learning how to.

I think this is why I really love the Trinity, because the way God relates to us now is not new, it's not something he has specially devised; no, it's a overflow of the way the Father, Son and Spirit have always related. What He already does perfectly as Father, Son and Spirit, he is teaching us to do by living and working in us. It's the very nature of God to communicate and relate and LOVE. Every 'action' of God, is somehow a part of God himself. God loves us by giving us himself when he sends the Son and Spirit to bring us into relationship with the Father. He speaks to us by his Word, the eternal Son of God. He transforms us by the Spirit. God comes to us as Son and Spirit so that we could be in that relationship with Him, the most intimate relationship, the most joyful relationship.

If the Trinity is an ocean then I am barely paddling along the shore, yet the more I do so, the deeper I am drawn, and God longs to teach me to swim.