by J. Gerald Harris

The Birds Teach Us the Trinity
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Ecclesiastes 10:20

The young Episcopalian minister asked his bishop, ''What should I preach about?''

And the answer was, ''Preach about God, and preach about twenty minutes.''

Well, I suppose you would expect a preacher to say something about God in a doctrinal sermon. But I'm not sure we can confine our remarks to twenty minutes. For how can God, the holy, the eternal, the immutable, the infinite One be defined at all, let alone in one sermon. And especially in terms of me, a sinful, finite, mortal. Such a thought is ridiculous.

Actually, what I want to do in this message is speak to you about the Trinity. I don't know that I've ever heard more than one or two sermons on the Trinity. I don't know that I've ever read more than two or three sermons on the Trinity. And yet the doctrine of the Trinity has stood for centuries and is stoutly defended as one of the fundamentals of our faith.

In Lewis Carroll's ''Alice Through The Looking Glass,'' Alice is asked to believe something that is impossible. Alice replies, ''One can't believe impossible things!''

The white queen replied that of course one could believe impossible things if one simply tried hard enough. She herself had made it a habit of believing six impossible things each day before breakfast.

Well, the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the central teachings of Christianity. And yet it is one of the most difficult to understand, for the reason that it seems impossible. Simply stated, it says that God is one being, yet three persons. Even to write it or to read it, one stumbles over the mathematics of it. If something is one, how can it be three? If something is three, how can it be one? It seems like saying something is wet and yet dry, or hot and yet cold. If something is one thing, how can it be its opposite? If something is singular, how can it be plural?

Thomas Jefferson was a towering intellect, one of the most highly regarded m ...

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