Of God and Pencils
St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor 
24 January 2017
Human speech is struck dumb by the ineffable Trinity. The God who reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; three persons and one essence, is not able to be talked about in terms common to humans or described with the speech used to describe things of the creation. We can use God's Word to let God speak of Himself, but beyond that the mysteries unbridgeable by human words must be left as a chasm of silence. We must not build bridges over the chasms left by God. We must presume that He knows what He is talking about, even if we don't.
We cannot clarify the multiplicity and the unity in God using the ordinary terms available to us. Every comparison to earthly phenomena fails to describe how God can be both three persons and only one essence or being. So? What makes you think that you need to be able to describe how a thing so deep comes to be? Do you know how a lead pencil is manufactured? Think about it. Do you? Who would deny lead pencils exist just because he cannot describe how the thing is put together? When you really consider it, we are unaware of how most things work, yet never doubt their existence or efficacy. Take aspirin for example. Do you know how it works? No? But that doesn't keep you from taking it, does it?
Those who deny the existence of the holy Trinity contend that because they cannot understand how God can be both three and one, He cannot be. But we shouldn't worry because such people would never write down their aberrant views with the lead pencils the production of which they don't understand. But maybe they understand computers instead. Yeah, right.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"The faith of the Church, while confessing the only true God the Father, confesses Christ also. It does not confess Christ true God without the Father the only true God; nor the Father the only true God without Christ. It confesses Christ true God, because it confesses the Father the only true God. Thus, the fact that God the Father is the only true God constitutes Christ also true God. The Only-begotten God suffered no change of nature by His natural birth. He who, according to the nature of His divine origin was begotten God from the living God, is, by the truth of that nature, inalienable from the only true God. Thus there follows from the true divine nature its necessary result, that the outcome of true divinity must be a true birth, and that the one God could not produce from Himself a God of a second kind....
"But, as we have often said, the inadequacy of human ideas has no corresponding inadequacy in the unity of God the Father and God the Son, as though there were extension, or series, or fluctuation, like a spring pouring forth its stream from the source, or a tree supporting its branch on the stem, or fire giving out its heat into space. In these cases we have expansion without any separation: the parts are bound together and do not exist of themselves, but the heat is in the fire, the branch in the tree, the stream in the spring. So the thing itself alone has an independent existence. The one does not pass into the other, for the tree and the branch are one and the same, as also the fire and the heat, the spring and the stream. But the Only-begotten God is God, subsisting by virtue of a perfect and ineffable birth, true Son of the Unbegotten God, incorporeal offspring of an incorporeal nature, living and true God of living and true God, God of a nature inseparable from God. The fact of birth does not make Him God with a different nature, nor did the generation, which produced His substance, change its nature in kind." 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 9.36-37
Acts 16:1-5

Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. (ESV)
Collect for St. Timothy
Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock.  Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For Darrell Schepmann, interim Principal of Memorial Lutheran School, that the Lord would continue to uphold him in his labors
For the Lutheran Blind Mission at Memorial Lutheran Church, that the Lord would bless the work of Memorial with opportunities for service to those who cannot see the light of this world, but who see the Light of the world
For Pastor Sagar Pilli and the Telugu ministry at Memorial Lutheran Church, that the Lord would draw people of every nation, language, people, and tribe to the church and her riches
Art: DAVID, Gerard  Triptych of Jean Des Trompes (1505)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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