Curate’s Contemplations – The Trinity
Now you may be wondering what on earth my picture this month has to do with the Trinity!
This intriguing roundel has been found in the structure of several churches. The roundel depicts three hares chasing each other in a circle. The three hare’s motif has been found in Europe, the Sinai Peninsula, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and China, but it is most commonly found in churches in Devon where it is often referred to as the ‘tinners’ rabbits. So, called because of the links in the area to the tin mines.
If you look closely, you will see that the three hares only have three ears between them instead of the six you would expect. In a clever optical illusion, each hare shares an ear with each of the other hares. The hare’s are distinct and cannot be confused with each other, yet together they comprise a unity that cannot be divided. It should therefore come as no surprise that in the Christian faith the three hare’s motif has come to represent the Trinity.
This weekend we contemplate Trinity Sunday, one of our principal feast days, a day when we celebrate the doctrine of God as the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although the word Trinity occurs nowhere in the Bible, there are places where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are present together. They are distinct and unable to be confused with each other, yet they present a unity that cannot be divided.
The Trinity offers us a precious gift of relationship, a grounded connection with God, self, others, and the world. The Easter Season invited us to be in relationship with Jesus; it awakens us to a way of living, loving, and relating – something that has for many of us been challenged by lock down, and needs to be redefined. Whatever the story behind the hares symbol, it provides an intriguing reminder that we are invited to be like the Trinity- living in absolute relatedness to the Trinitarian relationship of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The pandemic has perhaps pushed us all to a place where we realise that we are together in a web of mutual interdependence. When we recognize this on a spiritual level, we call it love.
We know it is through love, we come to know God. As Christians we believe that God is revealed to us as a Trinity-three persons who are who they are because of how they love one another. It is in God’s nature to love, to reach out to all and in relationship with God we too can reach out to those around us with the same love and the circle continues.
Ever one, Sacred three, Holy God the Trinity
O God beyond us, lead us forward to pray.
O God beside us, teach us gently to pray.
O God within us, still our hearts to pray.
O God of love send us out to pray.