Having lived most of my life east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line, when you talked about nature you were talking about two things: the color green and the gentle rolling hills. That can be and is beautiful, but it is all on a human scale.  Even in Pittsburgh, at the confluence of two mighty rivers and the foothills of the Appalachians, Mt. Washington is scaled by the mechanical inclines which used to ferry workers daily to the mills before they became merely for tourists. Around 1100 feet is the highest elevation. The contrast with Arizona or the West is part of this meditation. I’m sure you eventually get used to it and it recedes into the background, but beautiful is not the word I’d use.  I’d use adoration. The mountains are not on human scale.  Unless you became a hermit like St. Anthony, you would not live at the top of the mountains. As we drove to Las Vegas earlier this year I had a hard time keeping my jaw up.  Around every turn was a staggering view.  A lonely trail of asphalt with a few ants crawling along it dwarfed by the immensity of nature, untamed and unbothered by the speck speeding through it. Likewise for about 10 mins every morning and 10 mins in the evening something strange happens in the valley. The light has not fully gone away or come up.  The sun hides behind the mountains casting their shadow over the entire valley.  In the east there was always “the gloaming”, but this is different. The browns all move a shade or two darker yet still radiate.

The Trinity is a doctrine that we confess. And as with all doctrines it is important. As the Athanasian creed we will confess this week will say, “Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith…and the catholic faith is this.” But there are doctrines which can be understood.  For example I’d argue that the Providence of God can be understood. “God has given me my clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home…and still takes care of them.”  Even the pagans had some inkling of this calling Odin the All-Father or maybe more modern the Life of Julia with the government always present to supply. (Although I might argue that Odin was probably a healthier expectation of providence.) These doctrines are like those Eastern scenes.  They are on a human scale.  So much that we occasionally think humans can take God’s place entirely.  But the doctrine of the Trinity is not something to be understood.  It is something to be adored.

The second the human starts throwing around words like infinite, eternal, uncreated, almighty the only comparison we have are the mountains.  Who if they even notice us would do so merely in humor. Oh, we can reduce one or two with strip mines, but not the Rockies.  Not even the foothills. Pondering them is thinking about eternity and how it moves.  Scientists will tell us at one time they were flat.  The tectonic plates rammed into each other and threw them up.  Ok, if you say so. But in all of recorded history, they’ve moved nary a centimeter.

Some doctrines can only be adored. We see them and stagger. The fullness of the Trinity is beyond us.  Yet they have chosen to dwell with us, Father, Son and Spirit.  They have chosen to share their eternal life with us, whatever that really means. I simply believe it and adore.

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