Trinity As a Wheel
What do you envision when you think about the Trinity? Is there an image that pops into your head? Maybe a triangle? Maybe that Rubin painting of the Trinity?
I will say, that I do envision
something when I think about the Trinity. The image that pops into my head is a
fairly new one, but one that has stuck. The image of the Trinity that pops into
my head is that of a 3-spoked wheel and one that is self-propelling.
Now you know the rationale for
the image in your bulletins.
The 3 spokes ought to be clear –
Father Spoke, Son Spoke, Holy Spirit Spoke… no pun intended.
But why a wheel? Why the image
of a wheel?
Well, there’s movement and we
might say traveling involved in the story of the biblical God, right? God isn’t
confined to moving around in the heavens out there. God doesn’t simply act and
move and progress outside of and separate from creation.
No, God travels from heaven
enters earth and moves within it.
According to the Bible, we have
two big examples of God traveling down, we can say, from heaven and coming into
earthly time and space.
First, there is Creation itself.
In story of Creation, God moves beyond heaven and, as Genesis 1 says, first comes
and hovers over the waters of creation, then forms creation. Here’s the thing –
with creation, God enters creation.
I’ve used this metaphor before,
but when an artist is painting a piece of art, something of that artist enters
that painting. The painter stands in front of the canvas, takes her brush, dips
into paint, and upon painting that canvas enters the world being created there.
Artists move into their canvas when they work.
Look deeply at an artist’s
finished product, a painting, a great painting anyway, and you see that
artist’s vision, her mindset, her sense of beauty and view of the world. Why?
Because a little bit of the artist entered the art she created.
The same thing goes for God and
creation. God the artist in painting creation entered that painting in a real,
albeit spiritual sense.
As theologians would put it, God
was revealed in God’s creation.
Going back to our image, the
wheel of God rolled out earth and the life of God traversed that earth.
In the movement of the globe,
the movement of the days, the seasons, the years, we see the handiwork of God. We
can see proof of the verb that is God all around us.
The second big example of God sojourning
from heaven and entering earth is the reason for the season. Christ descends
from heaven, taking human form, and living the active, progressing forward life
of a man.
The wheel of God in a symbolic,
non-literal sense, entered the life of Mary and from Mary’s womb came Christ,
who they named Jesus.
God as Christ upon his birth
inhabited the universe.
Here’s the larger point I want
to make this morning. In between Creation and Christmas and thereafter, the
wheel of God didn’t stop moving. Yes, the two most pivotal examples of the
wheel of God entering the universe are at Creation and with Christ. These
pivotal examples are the domain of the Father and the Son. The Father and Son
spokes propelled the wheel forward.
But, but there are many smaller,
less pivotal, yet just as real examples throughout time of the wheel of God
entering into the universe. These smaller yet just as real examples are the
domain of the Holy Spirit. Here, the Holy Spirit spoke propels the wheel
When lives are transformed by
the power of love and compassion, when hearts are moved to godly lives, when living
beings through their wisdom and light change others’ lives for the better,
these are examples of the wheel of God, moved by the Holy Spirit, entering into
Maybe you’ve asked or have heard
asked this crucial question - what about those who are not Christians? What
about that loved-one that could never bring themselves to believe? Are they
included? Will God’s realm include them?
I say, yes. Through the work of
the Holy Spirit, the wheel of God enters into the universe and touches and
transforms all lives. Our lives come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and
compassion-based spirituality, and the Holy Spirit uses these diverse
backgrounds, cultures, and compassion-based spirituality to move people toward
union with God.
Christian author and theologian
Simone Weil once stated, “We do injury to children if we bring them up in a
narrow Christianity that prevents them from ever becoming capable of perceiving
the treasures of purest gold found in non-Christian civilizations.”
I think this is rightly said.
Well, “non-Christian civilizations,"
non-Christian spiritualities grounded in compassion, this is the domain of the
In some mysterious way, the Holy
Spirit brings non-Christians into the sacred realm of the Trinity. She brings them
inside the home of the Trinity, introducing them to the Son, the way, truth,
and life, who in turn brings them to the Father.
Why would the Creator oversee
the creation of myriad religious faiths just to condemn them? God uses various
tools for God’s own glory and to expand the kingdom as wide as it can go.
I close with the question, why
Christ? What is so essential about this season we celebrate, the season of
Christ’s birth is the pivot
point of history. There is BC time and AD time. X marks the spot between BC to
AD. Xmas and Christmas, despite the hoopla you hear, are interchangeable.
And what does Christ pivot us
to? Christ pivots all of Creation back to Eden, back to the beginning, back to
God. Christ pivots all of Creation toward the heavenly realm from whence we
came. Christ pivots all of Creation to the promised land where all will be
restored to God, all will be reconciled, all will know full union with the
Creator and with one another. Christ pivots all of Creation back to her
This is the good news of the
holy day we call Christmas. Christ descends and enters the universe and pivots
that universe to the one from whence it came, the God who is Love and who loved
us into being.