Sunday is Trinity Sunday. I have no new or startling theological insights into the great mystery of the Trinity. What I do have is an idea for another trinitarian image – one for our contemporary age – to stand alongside St. Patrick’s shamrock.
There are several ways of looking at the color spectrum. In painting and printing different colors are made by combining Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK. This is called the CMYK color system. Most people are familiar with it because they need to buy CMYK ink/toner cartridges for their color printers.
CMYK only works when there is an actual physical pigment to be manipulated. When a computer screen, a phone or an electronic device shows color, it uses light, not pigments. Specifically it uses the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) color system to represent the colors you see on the screen.
RGB light is my new analogy for the Trinity. Each color is separate and distinct. No one would confuse red with green with blue. Each color is different, with its own properties along the light spectrum. Yet – combine them all, one on top of the other and the result is not something dark, muddy or indistinct. The result is pure bright white light.
Who would think that white light could possibly be anything but white? Who would suspect that in fact it was made up of three different colors?
Three in one. It seems like a pretty good Trinitarian analogy to me.