The anticipation was palpable. There was an electricity among the crowd that you could feel, a buzz you could almost hear. Everyone knew that they were in for a new and exciting phase– one that would bring about excitement, joy, and adventure. The prayer concluded, the bell rang, and school was out for the summer! And everyone now knew that they were in the phase we call summer break.
But do we know where and when we are in the larger scheme of history? The point of asking the question: where/when am I, is so that we can locate ourselves and then live and act accordingly. And so perhaps one helpful way of locating ourselves is to see the history of the world as through a trinitarian lense.
By that I mean, when we look at God’s dealing with the world in the Old Testament, the Father is front and center. Yes, the son is present as well in various theophanies, and the Spirit fills people like Samson and Saul and David. All three are indeed present at the creation of the cosmos. But on Center Stage is the Father as he deals with his son Israel. We could call this the Phase of the Father.
In the Gospels of the New Testament, the Father and the Spirit are very present (I think of the baptism of Jesus for instance), but the Son is center stage, ushering in the kingdom of God through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. We might call this the Phase of the Son.
And then, at Pentecost, a new phase begins– one which continues on to this very day, wherein God’s power and presence on earth are marked by the Holy Spirit, who fills the Church in order bring the gospel and kingdom to all nations. And so, the Last Days are the Spirit’s Phase.