Three is powerful in writing, working, and in the Bible
This past weekend, I witnessed two phenomena that I’ve never seen before.
Three hummingbirds flew by me
Hummingbirds are not social birds and they usually only come together to mate or share a feeder. They don’t migrate in groups and don’t fly together.
I have a hummingbird feeder at home and have witnessed their behaviour in visiting and drinking at the dish feeder. They fought and chased each other. But these three weren’t fighting. They just buzzed by in a group together and I lost sight of them in the woods.
Three Great Blue Herons flew over me
I live by a lake and when I visit the dock, I sometimes spot a Great Blue Heron in the tall reeds. One time, I got close enough in my kayak to snap a photo before it flew off.
These three birds flew together overhead. They looped in a circle so that they came over me twice. But by the time I grabbed my camera, they had flown too far away for a good picture.
Both experiences intrigued me. I’d never seen either bird in a group of three like that. A quick Internet search led me to symbolism, omens, and spiritual meanings.
But instead of venturing down that trail, I started to reflect on the power of three.
In the world of writing, it is said that if you want someone to remember what you’ve said, put it in a sequence of three (ex. Blood, sweat, and tears or I came, I saw, I conquered.) There are three acts in a play. Three bullet points are more effective than four.
I’ve always enjoyed working in teams of three. In the past, I started a blog with two other women and created a publication on Medium with two other women. Our skill sets complemented each other and allowed us to focus on what we did well.
The power of three is throughout the Bible, too. There are three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” to Peter three times. The Magi brought three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh).
And, of course, the most famous group of three is the Trinity — the Christian Godhead as one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
One of my favourite passages in the Bible is the baptism of Jesus. This is where we see the Father speaking from Heaven and the Spirit descending from Heaven on the Son. All three members of the Trinity are mentioned here in Luke 3:22 NIV
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
There is only one God. God is one in essence and three in Person. The power of three. The fact that there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons is not an easy concept to grasp. But one way I’ve found to help me visualize is to imagine three lit flames coming together to light one new flame. Each flame is not part of the new flame but is fully and equally the flame. (It makes more sense if you try it with real candles.)
I loved watching the three hummingbirds playing together and the three Great Blue Herons flying in circles overhead. But wouldn’t it have made a better story if I had witnessed three phenomena?
You may also like The Sign of the Cross