Many, many years ago, there was a time when there was no time; when there were no houses or people or animals. It was a time when everything was empty. The ancient Hebrew people said it was tohu v’vohu, formless and void. Nothing was. But God was; the God whose Spirit was afoot, the God whose breath was moving restlessly—pacing now—then rushing wind-like across the chaos to do God’s new work.

For God had a will and a work to do, and with a word, this will came into being. God needed only to will it, and it would be done. He didn’t even need to whisper for it to happen, but God spoke, loud and clear, with a twinkling gleam in his eye. “Let there be...light!” When God spoke, it sounded like the rumble of every laugh through the ages rolling together across a wooden floor. When God spoke, the light did appear, dazzling, moving on wavelengths, along with heavenly orbs by day and night, animals and birds, woodlands and prairies, rivers and oceans.

That gleam in God’s eye burrowed into this created will of God. It settled itself on this hallowed creation, and it was human beings. At a crashing, willful word from God, they came into being. Sitting in eternity, God crossed his arms, looked it all over, and chortled, “Hah!” There was life and joy in the laugh! God pointed at what his word had made and said, “It’s good!” Here was God at the beginning of all that we know, spending his Sabbath smiling at people.

The making of creation was not the end of it. God’s restless breath of life continued to move. God continued creating, for his will was life. Some in this creation saw with eyes of faith, but there was one whose heart was tohu v’vohu—formless and void—and hardened like stone. He was the Pharaoh who had enslaved the people of faith. God’s Spirit moved to save this small band and bring it to life in a new land. God swirled out of the desert sands as a pillar of cloud during the day and a fiery pylon across the night skies. Thus, God led his people out of Pharaoh’s land to the sea.

There God breathed on the waters, separated them, and opened a dry path to a distant shore. Pharaoh’s army followed, but walls of water and billowing waves crashed down. Because charioteers and steeds couldn’t survive amongst the fishes, eels, and sea urchins, God’s people were saved. God would brook no bondage here, for God’s will was life. God had a will and a work to do, and with a word, this will came into being. He said, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”

Years later, God’s word, which was always his will, broke through the boundaries of eternity again with life, wholeness, and healing in a special and unique timbre. It didn’t just float across the air on waves of sound. This word became something. The word, the will of God, had form and flesh in Jesus. His entrance was magnificently mundane: a baby lying on a bed of straw, whose first smells were the earthy kind found only in a barn.

But the word of God fleshed out in the man Jesus was not a welcome word. The world would reject him as God’s spoken vocabulary of grace and peace. He was mocked and hurt and finally put to death for bringing life to God’s will. Gentle Jesus whose hand stroked children’s heads. Angry Jesus who shouted venom at profiteers in the temple. Aching Jesus who wept at his friend’s death. Weary Jesus who went to a lonely place to find some rest. Here was God, fully human, walking the earth, killed for being and doing just what is at God’s core: healing, bringing life, freeing with a word of forgiveness. Killed and buried, sealed in a tomb.

That was surely not the end of it. God’s restless Spirit continued to move, for his will was life. God spoke, “No! Death cannot hold me!” In that instant, the entrance to the tomb was opened, and each cell of Jesus’ body was filled again with life. And now the tomb was the thing left tohu v’vohu, formless and void. Jesus’ followers began to speak words about the one who was God’s final word: Jesus, the new resurrected word, spoken by God, echoed back to his speaker. He returned to reign with the one who created, with the one whose Spirit always moves to fill the formless and void.

But that was not the end of it. God’s restless Spirit continued to move, not just over creation but within the hearts of all whose ears were opened to the word of life from God and whose eyes were brought to faith. Where there was illness, healing occurred. Where there was anger or ill will, peace came into being. Where there were danger and persecution, God’s Spirit moved to sustain his people, to bring them always through dangerous waters to a new land. And where there was no hope on dark nights of the soul, the Spirit of God brought words of hope that this is not the end, that there is an Easter morning with the newness of life on the other side of every dark Good Friday.

This is the story of the Trinity at work and at play. We live such full lives with school activities, work, meetings, and work. It takes effort just to keep our heads above water and keep our families afloat. We have so many other things vying for our attention and energy; how can anyone get excited about these four words: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? There is a way, and it is to see that these words are not a dry formula but a concise, short way to tell the story of God’s searching out his people. The Trinity is a handy dandy shorthand for all that God has done to justify sinners. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the abridged version, the Reader’s Digest version of the story of God’s work in you, in particular. It’s a story you are intimately connected with. The Trinity is your story.

Many years ago, God’s Spirit was afoot, moving restlessly, pacing now, and then rushing wind-like across chaos to do God’s work and will. Within your mother was a space, tohu v’vohu, formless and void. And God spoke a word, “Let there be...you!” It was glorious when God spoke. It sounded like every laugh through the ages. At a crashing, willful word from God, you came into being. Sitting in eternity, God pointed at you and said, “Hah! You’re good!”

This still was not the end of it. On a day more important even than your birth, God’s Spirit moved you through the waters, just as surely as he led Moses and the children of Israel through the sea. In those waters, you were drowned in a death with Jesus, God’s own word in the flesh. Like a rescued charioteer, you were brought to the other side to new life. As the words were spoken, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” God shouted in the highest of heavenly heights, “Yes! Death will not hold this one!” Then and there, your future was made sure. You remain forever in the covenant that God speaks to you, “I will be your God, and you will be my very own dear child.”

But this is not the end of it. God’s restless Spirit continues to move within your heart, to open your ears to God’s continuous word of life. Where there is illness, healing will occur. Where there is anger or ill will, God promises peace. Where there is danger and persecution, God’s Spirit will sustain you with the promises that your sufferings are a sign of your connection to Jesus. Where there is no hope on your dark night of the soul, the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus brings words of hope that this is not the end; there is an Easter morning with the newness of life on the other side.

This is the work of the Trinity. When you hear these mighty words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you hear the depth of God’s power working in your life. The Trinity recounts the work and will of God throughout the ages, into the future, and in your own life. The name of the Trinity calls forth honor, reverence, and praise because it’s about a God who lives in your heart, uses your hands, and speaks with your voice. The Trinity is a story with which you’re intimately connected.

As the hymn says, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity!” I need to hear that story that echoes into Revelation, and I bet you do, too.