The Power of Three

The Power of Three

The Power of Three


Erin McCallon-Estremera

On a sunny, comfortable afternoon in May, three friends gathered together and began their three-day journey inward.

When I was considering the Tres Dias retreat and very much undecided, I learned that another member of my church had made the decision to attend the weekend. Okay, I thought, maybe that would work, I mean, I would know at least one other person there. A few days later while still undecided, I heard the news that another member had also made the commitment. Suddenly, the decision for me to attend was rock stable. There is a certain power in three.

God works for us, Jesus works in us, the Holy Spirit works through us – this is a breath mantra that I often turn to when praying for my home church and church family. At some point as we made the drive from my home church to the retreat center, I became aware of my breathing. In that moment, instead of allowing my mind to wander, I prayed the prayer above, matching the rhythm of my breath with the centering words; inhale…. “God works for us,” exhale.. “Jesus works in us,” inhale. “The Holy Spirit works through us.” I continued the pattern until my mind was free of outside distractions and focused on stillness. Father, Son and Holy Spirit–there is a certain power in three.

Three days seems strange for a retreat. I mean. . . overnight retreat, weekend retreat, even a week-long retreat for the super-spiritual soul! But three days? What’s up with that?

     Day one of Tres Dias, I was anxious about the journey. I experienced a flutter of excitement when we arrived and were greeted by friendly, helpful women who gave us a warm, sincere welcome.

     Day two of Tres Dias, I found myself questioning whether I had made the right decision to attend. Was I fully present? Could I participate without anticipation? What was falling apart at home without me there?

     Day three of Tres Dias, I had absolute confirmation from a loving God that I was on solid ground – right where I needed to be. Did you know that The Federal Trade Commission’s rules state that a consumer has until midnight on the third day to cancel without penalty, a contract for any purchase over $25.00? I don’t know how they arrived at that number, but there is a certain power in three.

“No matter the length of the legs or the unevenness of the ground, a three-legged stool will always stand firm and solid,” we were told. Piety, study and action. Our egos were checked at the door – we were called to empty ourselves of ourselves and move only to the calling of God’s will, and on occasion, a bell. We were challenged to transform our learning into knowing, and our knowing, into sharing, another way of saying piety, study, action. There is a clear and certain power in three.

Three girls, three days, three-in-one God, three legged stool, three meals, the power of three is all around us …One of the most persistent models of preaching is a three point sermon. It’s a good model. Two points seem like too few, four seem like too many.  Although not a sermon, I feel empowered to leave you with these three thoughts. We came, We learned, We serve.

On a sunny, comfortable afternoon in May, three friends returned to their homes for their fourth-day journey, outward.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the May-June issue of the Fairfield County Tres Dias newsletter.