My dad kept a can in the garage, and whenever we had to fix something he’d have it right beside
George W. Cole invented this general purpose household oil in 1894, and he called it “3-in-One” because it had the ability to “clean, lubricate, and protect.” It became one of the first household oils ever on the market, and proof of it’s staying power is that it is still produced and widely used, even after almost 120 years.
This Sunday is the celebration of the “Trinity Sunday,” where we remember and celebrate the Trinitarian God...God the 3 in One. There are many who resist the day because the whole concept of God being Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit is too much for the human mind to fathom, and yet at the same time for me there is a lot of solace in the fact that God knows far more than we do. We’d be in big trouble if that was NOT the case!
It was while I was reflecting upon The Trinity that I remember 3-in One oil. At first I thought it
After all, both are always available and useful in just about every situation where there is a need for application. I have the oil on a shelf at home, and I’m surrounded by God everywhere. Second, both are here to stay. Neither are going anywhere, because they is so useful, and I’d expect the oil to be around at least another 120 years and God for eternity. Finally, the naming of the oil is quite fitting in describing the abilities of our God – “the purpose is to clean, lubricate, and protect.”
Central to the Christian understanding of life and faith is that we begin as those who need to be cleansed of Original Sin. I’m not going to define that term too deeply, but there is an innate tendency that we focus on ourselves. And when we do, we can easily lose sight of God, get caught up in self, and before we know it, we can find ourselves in some sticky situations.
Through baptism, then community, confession, study, fellowship, worship, and communion, the Holy Spirit places life in perspective AND walks with us. As this happens, we are cleansed and guided to live into, receive, and share God’s gracious love.
As this process continues our faith grows, and a kind of lubrication takes place. We can find ourselves a bit more pliable when we are faced with stress and tragedy. When we are stuck or frozen, then God can touch us and begin to loosen things up so we truly live. When we just can’t get going,
Finally, but a part of every step, God protects. With God’s presence, love, and care, God makes a way for us to be protected by Grace. The Psalmist describes this as us residing “Under the shadow of God’s wing.” Like a mother whose love never ends and who will go to all means to save...even to death...God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit protects us.
In the book of Romans, St. Paul writes about what happens when God the Three-in-One is with us. He writes:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. [Romans 5: 1-5]
This God of ours is an all-purpose God who especially in the midst of suffering, provides the very thing we need, just as we need it.
This Truth rings true for those grieving the loss of a loved one, struggling in relationship, trying to wrap one’s mind around a bombing or a tornado, dealing with a grave diagnosis, or just handling the day to day stress of life. God the 3-in-One is there to cleanse, lubricate, and protect, and God’s staying power is forever.
Where do you need God to touch your life? Are you stuck? Feel lost? Need to be cleansed?