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The Trinity Within


Put three children in a room together, and they will play.

Take them to the lake, and they will swim and laugh and explore. They’ll take turns pulling a raft. Or pushing. Swimming in front or behind. Pulling down a corner to fill the raft with water. Then jumping in and helping to bail it all out. They’ll attack from beneath, flipping the raft and its occupants. Then they’ll have a mud fight. Go for a swim. Jump in the raft together and do it all over again.

Take them to a waterfall. They’ll climb rocks: “Look! Up here!” “How’d you get up there?” “There’s a trail. No, over here. It’s easy!” One will find a snake and yell for the other. Or maybe they’ll slide as far as they dare toward the back of a hole behind the falls.

Choose what children you will. It doesn’t matter. Even those labeled “shy” or “loud” or “disagreeable” find a way to fit, to take part, to interact, to play.

One of my new favorite writers – William Law – suggests that we must turn “to the Light and Spirit of God” that is within us. We bear in ourselves, he claims, “a living representation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

We were created for communion.

Children know this, and they are naturals at creating community through play.

I spend most of my days with children and youth. And it is this aspect of my job that gives me so much for which to be thankful. My schedule from just one week this summer: On Sunday, I drove a handful of fourth- and fifth-grade girls to Twin Rocks. On Monday, I took a dozen students to the St. Paul Rodeo. On Tuesday, I hiked to Wahclella Falls with 10 middle school boys. On Wednesday, another youth pastor and I drove 20 students to Hagg Lake. On Thursday, back to Wahclella Falls with another group of boys.

And it’s not always a joy.

They spit paper at each other while I’m driving in Portland traffic. They run ahead of the group and try to lose the girls. They toss their empty water bottles in the creek and complain when I ask them to wade in and retrieve them.

But they also play.

They let Thomas have the front seat even though Noah got to the van first. They lean into one another for a group photo. They offer to stay and clean the van when we get back to the church.

They don’t even have language for their experience. Other than that it is fun.

But I do.

And I am thankful for what I see, thankful for this every-day experience of communion, hoping that I am faithfully reflecting “the Light and Spirit of God,” hoping that I am helping youth to see in themselves, “a living representation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

We were created for communion.

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