I was delighted to help teach the sixth grade class this week for Faith Formation. We started class with a big question. Who is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? These questions of course point us to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, a complex subject to wrap your mind around even as an adult. The pivotal question was asked. “Who is God?” Most kids replied, with a straight up answer. “He is the creator of the heavens and the earth!” One student definitely had a perplexed look. Joe, raised his hand, and said. “I can’t see God. He doesn’t seem to be talking to me either, How do I know He is there? Let alone, three Gods in one!”
“Great question.” I said. “Let’s explore this mystery. We do have some proof of just how incredible God’s creative abilities are. Let’s go outside!” We all hustled out the door. I directed the kids go set under one of the huge oak trees that are towering around the church. The trees are practically raining out acorns right now, and as the kids took a seat on a patch of grass, I asked Joe to grab an acorn. “Joe.” I said “Take a look at that acorn, and try to crack it open. What do you have in there?” Joe replied. “Just a big seed.” “So, you don’t see a giant oak tree?” I asked, Joe shook his head no. Now look up at that giant oak tree, and at the acorn, somehow you do know that giant oak tree is there.” This tiny thing can some how be that huge tree. Right! Joe nodded in agreement.
“Everyone grab an apple form the basket on the step.” I asked. “We know in the spring time that this apple begins what appears to be a pretty little flower, yet that flower has the intentions of the creator God built right into it. Over the summer time it manifests into an apple. The flower became an apple and the apple gave seed then the process miraculously starts over again and again. Joe does this acorn ever turn into a peach? Does a peach ever turn into a pumpkin?” The kids all began to laugh and shake their heads at the idea of fruit turning into other things rather than what it was intended to be, was an absurd notion. “Then we all agree. God’s intentions do not err. It is good there is order in all these fruits, and in all God’s creations.”
“What events happened that led to God revealing His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit?” The kids responded, because the first man Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.
Now let’s imagine a huge apple orchard (That represents the human race.) In this apple orchard some of the apples (people) decided one day that they wanted to be pears, instead of apples, some wanted to be oranges. The orchard began to argue, what fruit was greater, and better than the next. All the trees became sick and diseased, because they attempted to change into something they were not intended to be.
In the middle of the orchard stood a might ancient oak tree. (This tree will represent God.) The great oak tree had been there from the beginning of time, waiting and hoping the fruit would tell Him of its problems. The mighty tree waited and waited for the apple orchard (people) to decide to look up for help, but it was far too late now the entire apple orchard was completely sick… The tree loved the orchard and did not want to see the orchard destroy itself, and so, He sent a part of himself in the form of an acorn (Jesus). The apple trees knew that Jesus came from the mighty oak tree, to help them, and some of the fruit rejected the acorn (Jesus) and attempted to destroy it, however the obedient acorn continued to operate under the intentions of the mighty oak tree. The acorn (Jesus) had to give up his life, so he could be planted deep into the heart of the orchard into the soil, to give hope and order back into the apple orchard the acorn restored all the willing trees back to God’s original intentions. What the acorn (Jesus) left behind was hope, and courage for the apple orchard to change, that force we call the Holy Spirit.
This story of the apple orchard and the mighty oak tree, can help us connect the concept in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. In real life we can observe Our Father God, performing his creative abilities, through this tiny acorn.
We humans are limited. We try to manipulate and change the things God made perfect for us. Just like Adam and Eve we too are just as guilty as they were. We fail and sin, all the time. The truth is we can not design an oak tree, nor can we design an apple blossom to perform with perfection.
If we look, we can see God working, just by looking at that acorn and apple in our hands. We all have special purpose. We are to blossom and grow fruit too. As we grow, we listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit who helps us make good decisions.
We can wonder about the Holy Trinity just as we marvel at the process of a flower turning into an apple, or an acorn can be a tremendous size oak tree. As Christians we can not see, or fully understand how God is three Gods in one, but we have the Gospel message, that tells us of Gods love for us and we witness His love and miracles in nature every day, through acorns, oaks and apple blossoms all connecting, and directing us to look up to Him.
Copyright 2009 Marjory S Erdman