Aloha Friday Message – Whole in One – May 29, 2015

1522AFC052915 – Whole in One

Read it online here, please.

Matthew 28:19-20 – 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

2 Corinthians 13:13 – 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Aloha ʽOmea! In 1894 a man named George W. Cole came out with a product that eventually ended up in just about every American household. He invented it for taking care of bicycles, but the people who bought it found hundreds – even thousands – more uses for it. It was designed to be a cleaner, to prevent rust, and to lubricate bicycle parts. He called it 3-IN-ONE® Oil. I used it on just about every moving part of my J. C. Higgins Bike.

Bike'n'oilAccording to the company’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), the principle ingredient – greater than 97% – is something called “Severely Hydrotreated Heavy Naphthenic Oil

 

The name, “3-in-ONE,” then describes what is does and not what it is.

In previous posts, we have used descriptions of God with the Identity Symbol, the ≡ symbol, to say that

LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ JUSTICE ≡ OMNIPOTENCE

≡ ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS

Unlike 3-IN-ONE® Oil which is one entity that does at three things, God is One Entity that is three things – three persons. Sometimes we try to understand The Trinity by saying that we, too, are “triune beings,” in that we have a body, soul (intellect and emotion), and spirit. We can see the body, we can experience the soul, but we’re usually stumped by what to think or say about our spirit. It is, after all, the one thing about us that is most like God for “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (See John 4:6-30) That still doesn’t quite get it.

In another attempt to understand this extraordinary doctrine of the Trinity, we turn to geometry.

I was thinking about the Trinity and how we often depict it using a triangle, one side for each Person of the Godhead. I wondered what was in the middle. If the three lines represent Father, Son, and Spirit, then what is in the space they enclose? My first guess was Love, because God is Love, but somehow that seemed too static and too (ah-HA!) two-dimensional.

tetrahedron_25776_mdWhat if we thought of the Trinity as something three-dimensional – like a Tetrahedron? Then each face of the tetrahedron could represent one person of the … Hold it. The tetrahedron has FOUR faces, Mr. Mathless! OK. No problem, the fourth side is going to represent … Love? No, because if the triangle’s space represented love, then the tetrahedron’s volume must be the representation of Love. But, Love could be the foundation of the Trinity – be the fourth side – and then the other three faces would be the three Persons. That would sort of make sense. Maybe.

However, that just didn’t seem to satisfy me. I started thinking about that screen saver in Windows® and how you can set it to a shape based on a tetrahedron. It morphs through hundreds of variations of color and shape – all of them tetrahedrons – and then I realized maybe that’s how the Trinity works, too.

It is somewhat helpful to imagine the Trinity as a triangle, but we know the Godhead is more dynamic than that. There are three distinct persons, all right, but we mere mortals still don’t get it; hence, the Mystery of the Trinity. So thinking about Love being the foundation of the tetrahedron, and remembering how that 3-D tetrahedron changes … it is pretty hard to tell which side is the foundation. Which way is UP? Is this tetrahedron resting on one point or sitting on one side? What would it look like if we made it dynamic – that is made it a 3-D moving shape? There is a very interesting mathematical representation of that idea. Use this link to see it: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/klein.html This is a really cool visual!!

Tetrahedron simple line drawing

Which side is the base?

So we can get some other ideas about the Trinity, about the Universe, and about our role in all of that by looking at a screensaver image and watching it “change.” It appears to change, but it’s really always the same thing: A tetrahedron. No matter how we see or understand God, God is always ONE-God-in-Three-Persons.

If we are disciples of Christ, we know that Jesus named the three Persons in the Trinity at the end of the Gospel of Matthew – our opening verse. You will remember, though, that even the Disciples who were there with him throughout his Mission just couldn’t grasp that Jesus was God – and we have Jesus’ word on it that he is. Consider this, for example: John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” And also Jesus’ testimony about his relationship with God is spelled out in John 10:30 30 The Father and I are one. In John 1:1-4 we read, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. Jesus – the Logos of God – was there at Creation when the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. The whole trinity was there. Again, at Jesus’ Baptism, the whole Trinity was there. We interact daily with the whole Trinity, for whenever we pray to God we pray to God-in-Three-Persons. Even if we pray, “Loving Heavenly Father,” or “Jesus my Lord and my God,” or “Spirit of the Living God,” we pray to God-in-Three-Persons. God is the Whole of Divinity in One Being – he’s not “the force,” he’s not “the guy upstairs,” he’s not “the intelligent designer.” He is GOD – known by many names to be sure (see 818AFC050208), but still just GOD-in-Three-Persons – Blesséd Trinity. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God or our Salvation

Do you remember the cumulative tale and nursery rhyme called “The House That Jack Built?” (Read it here) Maybe we could hijack (no pun there) that story as an example.

  • This is the Eternal Triune God .
  • This is Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • This is the Law that guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • These are the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • These are the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • These are the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • These are the Scribes and Pharisees who were servants to the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • This is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who exposed the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were servants to the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • This is the Bible, which is entirely the story and revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who exposed the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were servants to the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • This is you, encountering God through His Word, the Bible, which is entirely the story and revelation of Jesus The Christ, the Son of God, who exposed the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were servants to the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.
  • This is your Eternal and Complete Joy in discovering that your Salvation through Jesus Christ is clearly explained to you by encountering God through His Word, the Bible, which is entirely the story and revelation of Jesus The Christ, the Son of God, who exposed the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were servants to the Kings and Priests who ruled the Kingdoms that persecuted the Prophets, that proclaimed the Law that Guided Israel, the House built by the Eternal Triune God.

God gave himself to us through his only begotten son and delivered to us, through him, the Spirit of the Living God. What would you say to him for doing that? Even the most eloquent “thank you” seems inadequate replay for the gift of himself to me, to you, to us, to every living soul. God gave me GOD himself. I wish to honor the Giver by Accepting the Gift. To do that I need to use the gift. But how can I make use of it in the best-possible way? Perhaps by giving his gift to me back to him:

Almighty, Ever-living, Triune God, my El Shaddai Olam,

I offer You this day, and my entire life, as a sacrifice of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise. Bless and approve this offering; sanctify it, and make it Holy so that it becomes for you a living sacrifice Holy and acceptable to You, O LORD, my Strength and my Salvation; an offering made in Spirit and in Truth.

I offer You this day because You are my God and I am Your servant and this is my reasonable service of worship.

I offer You this day because You are my Creator and I am Your creation, and all creation rightly gives You thanks and praise.

I offer You this day because I love You, and I love You because You first loved me.

Thank You for this day, this life, this love; and help me to share it with whomsoever or whatsoever Your will allows. I offer this prayer in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Beloved, let us also thank God for His giving each of us to all of us for “through him, with him, and in him” all are One and part of the Whole Community which is One. The inexpressible love I feel for you is yet another way for me to know that God lives and moves among us, because I find and see His Spirit working in you. Blessed be God forever! AMEN. This is how we can be whole in the One and one in the Whole – it is the Whole in One.

 

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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