2 May Be Company and 3, a Crowd, but 4 is a Relay
We Methodists do like to think, but I’m one day back from the beach and Pastor Tom tackles the Trinity…Really?
I remember being taught that our minds couldn’t think two things at the same time. The teacher challenged us to try it. I still remember struggling to hold onto one image while introducing a different one. The best I could do was to leap from one thought to the other. Quickly, for sure, but never at the same time. It made my brain hurt.
So I experienced some of this same exasperation during Sunday worship, trying once again to wrap my mind around One God in Three Persons. Not sequential, not divided in thirds, but simultaneous. One Being who, when called upon in prayer, says “yes” in three voices all at once. (I like that thought anyway – not sure if it’s theologically accurate.)
But Tom helped me out here, or perhaps it was Jesus to the rescue, when he mentioned a relay. Tom did say God was not like that. Not one racer passing the baton to the next. But I immediately pictured the young, beautiful, powerful women racing to a new world record in the 4X100 meter relay. (Yes, the excitement was spoiled ahead of time by my social media feed but anyway…)
I imagined what it must have been like for those ladies, especially the one running the anchor leg. Now, I have never been too fast on my feet but I was decent swimmer in my heyday. So I was remembering the times when the swim meet was to be decided by the last relay. Each swimmer in turn would launch themselves into the pool and swim as fast as they possibly could. And each, heaving with effort, dragged themselves out and then screamed encouragement to the swimmers who followed. If the volume of our collective voices could impel them, it would. Everything was on the line, it seemed to our little summer swim relay, and the spirit of the three of us would bring that anchor leg home. Somehow I always swam faster in the relay than I ever did in an individual event.
So if was a bit distracted sitting there in the pew I was imagining that 100 meter champion in the final leg of the relay sprinting down the straight away toward the finish line. She was full of power and exerting herself with every ounce of strength. She is beauty in motion. But her effort is not just her own. She is absolutely bursting with the hopes and urgings of the three women who have run before her. We can’t see it, but carrying that baton she is more than she is.
And that just doesn’t add up, does it? But, even in my tiny world of summer swim club competition, I know it’s true. I’ve been there.