John 1:1-14 (NIV)Today is Trinity Sunday on the Western Christian calendar. I did not even attempt to explain to my children what exactly that means or how the Trinity works. Their main concern was the hot dog picnic after worship service and the “games” on the adjacent football field, which amounted to running around with tiny plungers and whacking people with beach balls.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And Monday is Memorial Day. I have not even considered explaining to the kids the concept of war or compulsory military service — what it means to serve and die for one’s country. I’m sure by third grade there have been lessons about America’s wars and people who lost their lives in such conflicts, but there’s simply no way for me to explain the tragedy of a person going off to war and not coming home, or the way the people who did come back might feel about those who never returned, or how the bodies may have survived while innocence departed forever.
I would very much like to one day have discussions about the trinity with my boys. Such a talk might help me further cement my own understanding, which runs along the lines of God who made us, Jesus who walked among us and died to save us and the spirit that came to live among us until such time as we are directly united with all three.
I would very much like to never need to have a serious discussion about war or battles or killing other people for any reason. I say this not to disrespect our military or those who gave their life for this country, but out of a desire that peace would reign, war would cease and killing our fellow humans, for any reason, could one day be a thing of the past.
The darkness has not overcome the light, and I believe it never will. But there are some days it is pretty tough to hold firm to that stronghold. Still, the light ever shines. When I start looking for all the places it shines in my corner of the planet, hope is restored. When I am able to encourage my children to seek as well, hope is bolstered. And when I find the light inside my children, or shining through their words and deeds, hope soars like a mighty hawk, coasting high above and seeing the world from a perspective I can only dream of sharing.
Trinity Sunday, Memorial Day and three days off from school and work to spend time strengthening the family bonds. May “the true light that gives light to everyone” drive darkness from our lives.
A prayer for May 26:
Lord, I pray my children believe and receive you, that they may live as your children in this world. We presented them to you for baptism and are trying to encourage and increase their understanding of your glory, grace and truth, that they may one day claim their faith as their own, not inherited but intentional and internal. I know the world did not and in many ways does not recognize or receive you. But I do, and my hope is for my children to do the same. Lead us all along your path. Amen.