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Walking the road of faith is not about knowing, but about staying curious about what we do not know.

In 1991, a nationwide contest was announced.

The news spread through thousands of grade schools across the country. Children in classrooms penned their most creative essays , crossed their fingers, and hoped their submission would be chosen. 

The engineers at NASA sifted through thousands of entries to find the perfect name to capture the spirit and mission of the car-sized planetary rover that would travel millions of miles to Mars to explore the alien surface. Finally, after months of deliberation, the engineers reached a consensus. They issued a news release and announced the name submitted by 12-year-old Clara Ma of Sunflower Elementary School in Lenexa, Kans.: Curiosity.

“Curiosity,” Ma had written, “is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are today. Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder.”

Getting to Know the Trinity

Every year in the church calendar, we celebrate the gift of God’s life-giving Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. Then we are quickly ushered into the second half of the liturgical year, known as Ordinary Time. This lengthy and important stretch of time begins with Trinity Sunday. Trinity Sunday roots the church and its being to the mysterious, wonderful, all-encompassing life of the Triune God—Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

One of the ancient creeds that many Christians confess (besides the familiar Apostles’ Creed) is the Athanasian Creed. It was named after Athanasius of Alexandria (293-373), a champion of orthodoxy against the heresies of his day. If you really want to make your brain hurt, spend some time reading the entire creed online. But if you want a quick summary of essential Trinitarian teaching, you can hold onto this concept: There is one God in three distinct persons who are equal in divinity. To deny any of these three things—oneness, distinctiveness, or equality—is to stumble headfirst into heresy (untrue statements or beliefs). The Athanasian Creed explains:

We worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity, neither blending their persons nor dividing their essence. For the person of the Father is a distinct person, the person of the Son is another, and that of the Holy Spirit still another. But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal [emphases added].

When it comes to the mystery of the Trinity as revealed in Scripture, some have noted (with a hint of suspicion) that the word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible—and that is true.  However, like the NASA rover rolling around the Martian surface, carefully noticing subtle patterns and doing a deep dive with analytical tools, early theologians were curious about the repeating patterns of God’s revelation in three distinct persons found in Scripture. It’s not easy to name and describe a superior spiritual being, so it’s no surprise that it took the church almost 400 years to give faithful language to the God revealed in Scripture. 


After Clara Ma’s name for the Mars rover was selected, she was flown to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California to see the rover up close and sign her name on the vehicle’s underside. Her signature represents every human name, a diverse humanity driven by a passionate curiosity—that powerful force that gets us up in the morning and motivates us to seek knowledge and meaning. 

On the surface of Mars, the rover named Curiosity is slowly rolling around, exploring a strange and provocative planetary surface covered in red dust and jagged boulders. At the start of Ordinary Time, the church is encouraged to embrace a spirit of patient curiosity as it participates in the mysterious life of the Trinity by seeking to know God and love God in all the ordinary moments of life and hungering to discover and learn where God is present and working.

But too often when we encounter a mystery, we get frustrated and give up, resigned never to know or fully understand. The Athanasian Creed encourages us to engage the mystery of God’s self-revelation in a particular way when it says, “Anyone who then desires to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.” Thinking our way to knowing can be helpful in one sense, but thinking hard about the Trinity will ultimately lead to a dead end. Only when we surrender to God’s grace can holy mysteries become doorways that lead to never-ending discoveries.

In fact, all throughout our lives we are brave explorers of the divine, endlessly curious about the Trinity’s inner landscape of grace and the subtle contours of God’s self-giving love. This, in large part, is what it means to be a Christian. Walking the road of faith is not about knowing, but about staying curious about what we do not know. Faith is trusting that the divine mystery is a doorway that we can walk through and explore endlessly with wild curiosity. As we participate by loving God and loving our neighbor, there are surprising discoveries along the way, and our knowledge of God indeed deepens and grows.

In Ordinary Time, the church goes into the world as the body of Christ. As it goes to every far-reaching corner, Trinity Sunday is at the beginning, reminding the church that it participates in the divine life rather than creating it. The work is fully Trinitarian—Father, Son, and Spirit working to heal and bring about wholeness to a creation fractured and broken because of the devastating effects of sin. Through faith, by the power of the Spirit, the church participates in this good work while fanning a burning flame of curiosity about the God revealed in three persons—one God, beautiful and glorious, now and forever.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Has your church typically observed Trinity Sunday of the Christian liturgical calendar? Or how has your church highlighted the doctrine of the Trinity in the past?
  2. Have you been curious about the doctrine of the Trinity? Why or why not?
  3. Read the Athanasian Creed. What do you find striking and/or confusing in it?
  4. What “surprising discoveries” about God have you found in your walk with God?

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