The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. ~Psalm 103:13 (NLT)
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~John 3:15 (NLT)
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. ~John 14:26
Ever since I was a child, I have loved St. Patrick’s Day. I’m guessing that when I was young, I was fascinated by tales of leprechauns, and pots of gold waiting to be found at the end of a rainbow. It was a holiday that sparked my imagination and sense of wonder. I like St. Patrick’s Day enough that, as a young adult, I hosted a party for my little brother and his friends. I invited a group of 10 and 11 year old boys to my apartment to play games and decorate Shamrock cookies (we all have moments of insanity). I wear green every March 17 to make sure I don’t get pinched, and I check to see if those around me are wearing green also. And I like shamrocks.
Did you know that shamrocks are sometimes used as a symbol of the Trinity? Some stories tell us that St. Patrick, when trying to convert the Irish to Christianity, used the shamrock to explain this very difficult concept. The Trinity really is hard to understand. How can God be three persons and still be only one God? Are Jesus and the Holy Spirit both really God? I am not a theologian, and I don’t have extensive Biblical training, but I’d like to share some of my thoughts about the one and only God who is, in fact, three persons.
I am a mother to my children. Being their mother has required me to play a variety of roles in their lives—comforter, teacher, guide, and friend. When they were hurting, I acted as a comforter. When they needed education, I was a teacher. When they needed direction, I tried to provide guidance. And now that they are adults, I often get to play the role of friend. I realize it’s not the same thing—I am only one person and God is actually three, but thinking about the many roles of motherhood, helps me understand the idea of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I think that God uses the different parts of Himself to connect with us in different ways. When we need comfort, protection, unconditional love, and maybe even discipline, God reaches out to us as our Heavenly Father. He loves us, in spite of our sins and weaknesses. He offers us comfort when we are hurting, and strength and protection when we are facing difficult times. When we make decisions to do what is wrong, instead of what is right, He may discipline us and/or allow us to suffer the consequences of our actions.
When God wanted to show us who He really is, He sent us His Son. Through Jesus, we can learn about the nature of God, and about the desire God has for us to live with Him for eternity. When we repent and follow Jesus, we are forgiven and welcomed into God’s family.
When we need a teacher and a guide, God gives us the Holy Spirit. If we open up our hearts and allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit, we gain a source of wisdom and knowledge. The Holy Spirit will teach us, lead us, and guide us on our path through life.
Why would God go to such lengths to reach out to us and pull us into relationship with Him? Because He loves each and every one of us. And because He wants us to share the Good News about what we have received. He wants us to be His disciples, going out into the world to bring others into the family of God.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. ~Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. ~John 17:20-21 (NLT) [From a prayer that Jesus prayed]
Maybe the next time you see a shamrock, you’ll be reminded of the Trinity. Have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day!