Now faith, hope and love remain — these three things — and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
(Common English Bible)
The best things come in threes. A waltz beat is counted in threes. Some folks will say, “Third time’s the charm” for good luck after failing twice. Then there’s the Schoolhouse Rock song that proclaims “Three is a magic number.” Well, in all fairness, three is a wonderful number. My parents have three children. My sons each have 3 brothers. And the old TV sitcom celebrated “My Three Sons.”
But the Church also celebrates the number three as a number of completeness. If you search for the number three in the Bible (not including chapter and verse numbers or those little superscripted footnote numbers), you will find more than 400 instances of the number three.
Noah had three children. Three virtues rise above the others: faith, hope and love. Christ rose on the morning of the third day, finishing the work that God had planned for the redemption of humanity and the restoration of our relationship with God. And there are three persons in the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This Sunday, the liturgical traditional churches celebrate Trinity Sunday. The history of this Sunday celebration goes back to as early as the 10th century when Bishop Stephen of Liège (903-20) wrote a portion of the Daily Office in celebration of the Trinity.
Although this was not celebrated in the church until the 11th century and not ordered as an official holy day until the 14th century, the trail had been blazed for a Sunday to celebrate the work of the Trinity in our lives.
Today, the Sunday comes and goes without much celebration in some churches and with high celebration in others.
So what is Trinity Sunday, anyway? Trinity Sunday is a day that we set aside to celebrate that God the Father cares for us and brought us into existence, that God the Son saved us from our own destruction and self-centeredness, and that God the Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us live and share God’s love every day.
As you read your Bible, look for different places where the persons of the Trinity are at work throughout history. God loves us, and through faith, we can have abundant life that only Jesus can give. We have hope in the work that Jesus did for us on the cross and in the resurrection. We have hope that death does not have the last word. And through the Holy Spirit, we can love each other with a love that goes beyond human emotion to reflect the love of God in us every day.
Through God’s word we can know that God loved us before God created the world, that God made a plan to redeem us from ourselves and from sin through the Son, and that God the Spirit wants to help us live our lives every day.
How is the Trinity at work in your life today?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com.