The World We Hear and the Trinity

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Growing up, two things were non-negotiable: swimming lessons and piano lessons. Both of which I’m eternally grateful for so by age 16 I was a lifeguard and a classically trained pianist. I was taught in my musical instruction to hear the world around me.

As a result I am so thankful for projects like Music for Theology. It was introduced to me by my sister Anne, a concert pianist. In Music for Theology you start with a musical phenomenon and ask how can this musical phenomenon help inform our theology. It’s the work of Jeremy Begbie, a theologian out of Cambridge University, and more recently at Duke. At the guest lecture I attended in London, Begbie began to teach on the Trinity while sat at a grand piano.

He said, ”In the world, we see the Trinity as a challenge because you can’t have two things in the same space and still see them as different – red and yellow, for example, when in the same space could cause one of two things to happen – one color masks the other or you get orange. It is very difficult to see different things in the same space at the same time as different.“

“Not so in the world we hear. When I play a note on the piano that note fills the whole of my heard space. It fills everything that I hear. If I add a second note – both notes fill the same space yet I hear them as different. Add a third and the same holds true. Musical notes can be inside each other and still be distinct. They also resonate with each other and enhance each other.“

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of the Trinity? One God in three persons – in the Trinity each person of the godhead resonating with each other and enhancing each other. As they work not only in our lives but in the wider life of the community.

This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday and we look forward to seeing you at All Saints.

Interested in reading some of Jeremy Begbie’s work? Try Theology, Music, and Time – Cambridge studies in a Christian Doctrine.