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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories ~ Trinity: The Language of God

Language is a remarkable thing. We all have it. We all use it. For the human species, language is one of our primary characteristics. The fact that we communicate with each other in such a complex fashion is something that differentiates us from other living creatures. No other species on earth can communicate and relate to one another in the way that we do.

But language can also express how we differ. We know that there are many instances where language is an expression of our differences and can even create divisions among us. Even in Scripture we find a recognition and expression of this negative side of language, for example in the story of the Tower of Babel (Gen.11:1-9). For the most part, however, language is a positive thing. It is how we speak to one another. Language builds our relationships.

As human beings, one of our deepest longings is to know that there is something beyond ourselves. We may not know what this involves, but we do recognize that we are not complete, there must be something more. This quest for “something more, something beyond” is a spiritual quest. It is the search for God and for how we relate to this God. In the Jewish and Christian tradition, we have a faith that while we are in search of God, God is also questing for us. The 19th century English poet, Francis Thompson, captured this in his poem, The Hound of Heaven. As he fled from God, this God of ours was always in pursuit.

This is the image of God that we find throughout our Scriptures, a God of covenant love. The God of Jews, and Christians (and of Islam) is a God that loves us and seeks to establish a relationship with us. What is God’s language? How does God speak to us?

God speaks in the many instances of covenant care and loving outreach that our Scriptures reveal to us. We see it in the great covenant that God makes with Moses and the Israelites in their escape from Egypt in the Exodus. This is referred to in the first reading today (Ex.34:4-6, 8-9). The prophets of the Old Testament continually sought to have God’s People accept and live by this covenant of love to which God called them.

This covenant of love is renewed in Jesus and the Incarnation. It is a love so strong that God comes into our humanity in the person of Jesus the Christ. What a way to speak to us! What a language to use! The language of God is in the person of Jesus. It is this language of God that draws us into relationship with our God. It creates a bond between us and our God. It speaks to us of what God is. God is Trinity – a loving relationship of three persons in One God.

What is the language of God? It is an expression of God’s own self, the loving relationship of Trinity. It has been expressed in the covenant love shown throughout our Scriptures. It has been revealed in the gift of the Incarnation and Jesus. It continues to be the language of God in our own lives with the gift of the Spirit given to each of us. Trinity has been, is now and will be the language of God’s love for us.

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