My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
If you like traveling, then it is a good week to be a part of the Barnhart Clan.
This Thursday, we head down to Mesa for the synod assembly. Synod assembly is the gathering of Lutheran churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in all of Arizona and part of Nevada. In other words, we get together with our fellow churches from the area. The gathering consists of conversation, worship, singing, and fellowship. And, while I make a lot of noise about not wanting to sit in meetings, it is a positive experience when I attend.
Then, on Sunday, the Barnharts pack up for our yearly pilgrimage to Montana. We will get to spend a couple of weeks riding horses, swimming, hiking, and being close to the grandparents. The hope is that, in the midst of all of that activity, that a fair amount of relaxing can occur as well.
Between Mesa and Montana lie miles and miles of roads. I haven’t actually done the math yet, but there’s well over 30 hours of driving included in those trips. 30 hours of being packed into our Toyota with the three kids, the dog, suitcases, toys, and whatever else finds its way into the vehicle. And, have no doubt, there will be joy and sorrow. There will be “getting along” and the ugly opposite of that as well.
But, I’m looking forward to it. All of it. Every packed mile. Every disagreement from the back seats. Every sleepless night in the hotels. I can’t wait. Because, in the midst of all those things, we not only find our way to new and familiar places… we find out who we are as a family. Traveling takes the five of us and makes us one.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It is the day we are supposed to ponder and celebrate the nature of our “three-in-one” God. To be frank, although hundreds of theologians and thousands of pastors have lent their expertise to the subject, I have yet to find one explanation that solves the mysterious nature of the trinity for me.
There are days where I am at peace with the mystery of it all. There are days I can hardly wrap my head around it. And, to be honest, there are days I don’t ponder it at all! Of all of the theology I have studied, it is one of the subjects that flummoxes me the most. It is a daunting concept.
Except for the fact that it does work. Whether it makes sense or not on any given day doesn’t seem to impede the fact that I know I have a Creator who made me who I am and is still creating in and through me. I know I have a Savior who has imparted grace upon grace to me and keeps me moving through the days. And, that a Spirit is alive in me and giving me words and concepts and ideas that I could not conceive of on my own.
Like the relationships forged in the fire of a family road trip, the relationship between God and myself is one that, at times, is best experienced, rather than theoretically discussed. I will never give up my pursuit to better understand the trinity. But, for now, I am quite content knowing that wherever the road of life will take me, I have an incredibly mysterious and wonderful God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, along for the ride.