We now come to Precosia, the last of the group of people we met a little while back. With each of the scenarios, we have seen that what we believe about God and specifically about the Trinity is relevant to how we handle pastoral situations in the life of the church. The Doctrine of the Trinity is not dry theory but something deeply relevant and practical.
Precosia had been rude and off-hand, attempts at finding out what was wrong had been rebuffed. This isn’t promising. Sadly, we can spot the obvious problems of sexual sin, addictive behaviour etc. However, in church life we can so easily tolerate situations that are equally unacceptable. There should be no place for gossip and slander in the church and no place for grudge bearing. The Bible is very clear that where there is a falling out, where someone has caused another offence that we should aim for reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-21). It is unacceptable when disputes are allowed to simmer for years on end with people turning up to church meetings without acknowledging the presence of others and keeping an unhealthy distance.
Why is this so important? Well remember what we have seen about the Trinity. Here are three of those lessons that apply directly to Precosia’s situation
God is Love and we are to love as he loved us
Has this become repetitive? Well maybe it needs to be. We are good at talking about God’s love, we apply to evangelism and to acts of mercy but this truth is meant to infiltrate every aspect of our lives as believers.
God’s faithful love calls Precosia to stop putting up the barriers. If offence has been caused, whether intention or not then it needs to be resolved. She cannot treat church as a social event which she comes to and then chooses who she will relate to. She is part of a family. Equally, faithful love calls on you to keep persevering to seek resolution here.
The Father and Son are one and we should be too
Jesus prayed for his followers that they would be united. The model for this unity was His relationship with his Father. In other words, our unity is not just institutional, it is relational based on the love mentioned above and there is something here about unity of nature. Of course this isn’t the same unity of nature as shared between the Father, Son and Spirit but there is a unity that says we are all justified together, we are all part of the same family and bear the family characteristics.
This unity is meant to provide a witness to the World of what our God is like. When Christians bear grudges and stop talking, then what witness does that give?
There is no denial of distinction and so there will be diversity within the Church
We do not become clones. There will always be different characters, styles, personal passions and priorities within a church. This diversity should not contradict or undermine the unity we have, rather it should complement it.
However, what this means is that we don’t come together based on affinity. This is not a social group united because we are the same gender, ethnic group, age etc or because we like the same music, humour, hobbies etc. Our unity is through the Father and the Son. Our unity and equality is in the Gospel. This means that within a church there are people that we would not naturally get along with, we wouldn’t of ourselves choose to mix with them. That’s the point about families. You don’t choose your earthly family, and you don’t choose your heavenly family either. You are born (again) in to it. This does mean that some relationships will need more work than others.
The Doctrin of the Trinty provides incentive to you and Precosia. There is both the command to love one another and to be one and the promise/hope that this is possible.