“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Don’t you just hate it when people say that to you? It’s like, just say what you need to say, and leave being able to bear it or not to me. I know whenever my wife are having a perhaps slightly heated conversation and she starts to say something but abruptly brushes it off by saying “nevermind” or something, man that just irks me to no end. It’s like I have to know what she is thinking or at least what she was going to say. I have to know what is on her mind because I know it’s about me. I have to know because… well… I just have to know.
So when we aren’t filled in on whatever it is people are talking about, we get a bit annoyed. We get frustrated that don’t know the things that we think we should know. We would risk our own safety and stand on the street just to see if the bus is coming or not. We just need to know.
And when we don’t? Well, maybe we fake it. If we can’t know, then let’s at least look like we know. So sometimes we fake laugh at a joke we don’t get. Sometimes we pretend we can see the emperor’s new high tech invisible clothes when he’s actually naked. Sometimes we just want to lead others to believe that we are smarter or wiser or more knowledgeable than we really are.
At least, I can say that I do that a lot. I know I like to know things. I like to look smart. I like the respect that I think I get when I show off what I know better than others. And if I’m honest, I really don’t think that I’m the only one.
That is why we have phones that are connected to the internet in our pockets all the time. Whenever we don’t know something, a few taps will take us to a vault of information that can answer all of our questions. These phones get faster and faster so the time between not knowing and knowing gets shorter and shorter. We are bombarded with information from all fronts because we have to know everything as soon as it happens. If you watch the news on TV, you don’t just get one news story at a time, but the screen is riddled with information about other things like the weather, stock trends, sports scores, and even other news stories. Newspapers used to come out with two editions a day to cram more news into us, and those archaic things are going to the wayside because frankly, same day news isn’t good enough anymore, we need same hour, same minute, same second if possible news to quench this thirst for just knowing. Newspapers are just too slow to fend off this almost addiction to knowledge.
Although the internet is a relatively recent invention, this need to know isn’t new at all. Throughout history we see people battling for knowledge and those who know more are rewarded. We hear and read about people over the centuries fighting over what is right and correct and true, and what isn’t. We even see it in our bibles as the characters and especially the disciples keep asking questions and demanding signs and hoping for more knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong, knowledge isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you know. The problem is when the knowing comes in front of your calling and identity as God’s children, in front of your passion for community and right relationship with others, in front of your faith that God knows enough for all of us.
Easier said than done, I know. So it’s no wonder that this thirst for knowing has bled over into even the religious realm, in that we have to know everything there is to know about God, this God, this all powerful, all present, all knowing God. So we try to create words and images to describe God. We try to think of concepts and doctrines to help explain away the confusion and not knowing. We have days of the year like today, Holy Trinity Sunday, to shed light on this idea of a Triune, Three-in-one, One-in-three God that has baffled even the brightest scholars throughout history.
For the sake of knowing? Because quite honestly I don’t know if I can think of any other justifiable reason. The concept and nature of the Trinity doesn’t have anything to do with our faith. We don’t need to understand it through and through before we are welcomed into God’s kingdom and family. The term “Trinity” isn’t even found in the bible.
Yet we have the concept. We have the doctrine. We have this whole day dedicated to the idea of the Holy Trinity, and no one really can explain it in a way that is understandable, relatable, or even relevant.
So if my assumptions of what you’re assuming right now are correct, then I’d say your assumptions are correct, I am stalling for time, because I honestly can’t explain the Trinity any better than any of you can. It’s just one of those things that I don’t know.
And you know what? Maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s ok not to know. Maybe it’s ok not to understand. Maybe it’s ok to just let this whole concept and doctrine of a Triune God be a mystery to us that fills us still with wonder and awe and perhaps a little head-scratching confusion. Maybe it’s ok to just let that be enough.
Because we don’t need to know how the three persons of the Godhead relate to each other to know that God is about relationship and community. We don’t need to understand how God can be three and one at the same time to know that God cares about unity and equality among all of us. We don’t need to crack the mystery of the Trinity in order to believe, have faith, and be loved and saved by the whole Trinity together as one.
Because sometimes, that is just enough. It is enough to stand in awe of the mystery. It’s enough to just have faith and believe in something we don’t understand. It’s enough to just not know.
In this season after Pentecost, may we be practical in how we as a church run and operate and express our faith, that we might be faithful in our service and worship of a God we simply cannot understand. Thanks be to God. Amen.