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Thunderbirds are go!

To use the TV programme Thunderbirds as a model for the Trinity.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To use the TV programme Thunderbirds as a model for the Trinity.

Preparation and materials

  • Thunderbirds toys would be good visual aids. They are still available (try, but if you ask around younger siblings may still have these toys at home.


  1. Trinity Sunday occurs eight weeks after Easter Sunday. It is the day that the Christian Church reflects on the nature of God. The Church refers to God as ‘Trinity’, i.e. three persons within one God. We call them the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is heavy-duty thinking, so here’s a way to think about the Trinity that you may find helpful.


  2. Many years ago, you may have watched a TV series called Thunderbirds. It was originally shown in the 1960s but has been repeated many, many times. The toys from the show are still available, and so are DVDs of the series. Not so long ago a feature film was made, and there’s also been a stage show.

    If you never saw the series, it’s made with puppets – marionettes, the type with strings. It’s about the Tracy family who live on a remote island in the Pacific: the father, Jeff, who has five sons – Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan – and Jeff’s mother, Grandma, whose only role seems to be making coconut crumble! Also living on the island are a servant, Kyrano, and his daughter Tin-Tin; and Brains, a genius designer and builder of planes, spaceships and rescue vehicles of every shape and size. The other person we meet is the very English Lady Penelope and her ex-convict butler, Parker.

    Jeff runs the family business, which is top secret, called International Rescue. This organization picks up distress calls from around the world via its own satellite. These are radioed to HQ, and then the Thunderbirds are launched!

    Scott goes first on Thunderbird 1. He flies in and sets up a mobile HQ, so that when Virgil arrives in the heavy transporter plane, Thunderbird 2, the rescue can begin.

    The rescue always has moments of drama and high tension, especially if Kyrano’s evil half-brother, ‘The Hood’, contacts him through a weird psychic trance to try and sabotage the rescue attempt. Lady Penelope usually joins in the action, giving chase in her pink Rolls-Royce. Finally, all is well; at the end the people are saved, and International Rescue vanishes back to paradise – until the next call for help.

  3. So what’s this got to do with God? Well, let’s look at how International Rescue works: Jeff, the father, stays at HQ. The sons go out to rescue people. They communicate by radio. You might like to think of God as the Father, in heaven. God sees that people need help, so he sends his Son, Jesus, who lives with people and shows us how to be like God. His relationship to God the Father becomes clear through his death and resurrection – which we thought about over Easter. Christians believe that Jesus saves people from the wrong things that they have done, bringing them back to a good relationship with God.

    And the Holy Spirit is like the radio – the carrier of the message from the Father (Jeff or God) to the Son (Jesus or Scott, Virgil and co.). Christians believe that it’s the Holy Spirit that lives within them, helping them to be close to God day by day. Without the radio, International Rescue couldn’t communicate. Without the Holy Spirit, Christians can’t pray – their way of communicating with God.

Time for reflection

Think about International Rescue, flying out to save people from the disasters that they’ve been caught up in.

Reflect on the claims of Jesus, sent by God the Father to bring us back to God.





and Holy Spirit.

I don’t understand how that works,

but I believe that you are there for me,

saving me and helping me

day by day.

Be close to each of us today.

Help us to work at our relationships with each other

and with you.



‘Spirit of God’ (Come and Praise, 63)

Publication date: May 2008   (Vol.10 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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