by Mary Lou Edgar.
Recently Dan and I watched the movie, The Shack. We had both read the book and been moved by it; however, the movie made it more real. The Shack is the story of a man whose child was murdered. It appears in the story that this man has a dream where he encounters the Trinity. It is probably not in the way any of us see The Trinity, and it might seem almost sacrilegious to some. But to me, it was a helpful portrayal.
I saw God, not as a dominant figure who had often frightened me, but rather as an understanding parent who aches for His child. It was helpful for me that God was a Black woman and later a Native American man.
Jesus was much more outgoing than I think I pictured him. But He was able to reach this man and help him make peace with himself.
The Holy Spirit was the most interesting for me. Besides being female, the Holy Spirit was quiet and perceptive. She was focused on growth, whether it was plants or people. She also seemed to be more in the background watching and thinking.
It was clear that the three of them had a strong working relationship. Each of them had an important role, but God was at the center.
I began to think about the Trinity in my own life.
It was difficult to put into words. I thought about how I could write about God the Father and Jesus, His son. But even though I often speak of the Holy Spirit, I wasn’t sure what I would say and how I could make it come together. I began to read and to pray.
Lately my prayer life has been more about listening so I would read and then listen. I used to ask God for what I needed; say thank you (or not) and move on. But now I believe that God provides everything I need. So, every moment of my life I am dependent upon God’s love, goodness, and understanding.
I think of Jesus Christ as humbly entering the world. He loved everyone and challenged us all to grow and be transformed. In Jesus, we see the triumph of love over death.
Before He died, Jesus told his disciples that after His death, His Spirit would come and guide them. They didn’t really understand, but on Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit.
The guidance we receive from the Spirit cannot be separated from the love of God the Father and the love of Jesus.
Each person of the Trinity shows us something about the other persons of the Trinity. The Trinity represents how God’s very being is about relationship and love. Through the Trinity we know that God will be with us in all our struggles.
In The Shack, I watched the father of the murdered child face a horrible struggle – the loss of his child. I also watched as each member of the Trinity loved him, helping him deal with his hate, anger, fear, and disbelief. They accepted his feelings, showing him unconditional love. When he was able to listen, the man began to change, to be transformed.
I see that I depend on the Holy Trinity but in a different way for each one. I am a novice at accepting God’s love, but I am learning, and I don’t question it any longer. I love reading the Scripture and thinking about how it must have been for Jesus to be human. He was kind, patient, and accepting of all people. Much of his life was incomprehensible so I often think of what he taught. I rely on the Spirit for insight and direction. Learning to be silent and wait has been both a gift and a challenge.
At the end of this movie, the man fears that he may be alone. The Spirit says that She has always been there; Jesus says that He is there; and God says that He/She will always be there. For me, that sums up the Holy Trinity – love that never ends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.