When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
When I read the scriptures for Trinity Sunday I was reminded of a book I have read and reread a couple of times, The Shack, by William Paul Young.
Rather than tell you about the book, I just want to relate an experience of Mack’s when he went to a Shack that he had been invited to go to from God, who Mack’s wife affectionately called Papa.
Mack and his family were grieving the death of his daughter who had been abducted and brutally murdered three years before this invitation from God.
Mack’s experience at the shack was with the three-in-one, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit which were all in physical beings. Each of these spent time alone with Mack to help him deal with his grief so he could in turn help his wife and other two children. Mack experienced the three persons of God as God or Papa, a large black woman who loved to cook for them and their guests, the Holy Spirit as Sarayu, an Asian woman who loved gardening, and Jesus as a Hebrew in his early thirties who loved to build things out of wood.
A you might expect all of this took Mack by surprise. In each of their individual conversations with Mack, he began to see that many of his understandings about God needed some correction. He came away from his weekend with the unimaginable three helping him know God more fully and believed that God, however we might imagine God to be, has opened the door to enter into our humanity, through Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The three natures of God that Mack experienced were in human form, but totally different than his childhood imagination of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It helped Mack understand the nature of God is love, goodness, and mercy. Jesus taught his followers that the Spirit would come to be an Advocate, a Comforter, a Guide, to assist all who would call on God to find healing, hope, and help in their time of need.
I encourage you to read The Shack and see the movie so your stereotype images of the three natures of God can be challenged. Perhaps seeing God in images that break the mold we have of what God looks like and feels like will help you see how God comes to us in ways that are designed to nurture our relationship with God and with others in all of our life circumstances. The truth that is shared by the Holy Spirit is the truth about the kingdom of God, and the truth about living in community. It is the truth about reconciliation and forgiveness, about grace and judgment. God knows each of us so well and desires that we come to know God also.
- How do you picture God? How do you picture Jesus? How do you picture the Holy Spirit? Are you open for some challenges to your characterizations?
- What ‘Truth’ still lies hidden or forgotten for you? What do you wonder most about?
- How does the Holy Spirit reveal ‘Truth’ to you in your life? In the world around you?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.