Pages

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Dance of the Trinity



Trinity Sunday 2018

Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17

3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

To the best of my recollection, this particular text is the first verse of scripture that I committed to memory.  Not because I was particularly pious, it was at that very early age of childhood where one may be motivated by greed or covetousness and that this was in the context of a Sunday school where such competitive feats of memory were strongly encouraged and sometimes richly rewarded.

Nonetheless I take this text as the ground where I stand.  It is here that I hold my faith or not at all; it is here that I begin to consider the Trinity.  It is in the mystery and vulnerability of life, of lived experience, that we have a window into God.

I remember a most disquieting and terrifying moment as an 8 year-old, when in a darkened hallway, I attempted to imagine what it would be like never to have been born; attempted to imagine non-being.  I think I convinced myself that I had indeed glimpsed the abyss.

I look back on that memory from so long ago with renewed appreciation that our own bodies, and our evolving consciousness, are that little corner of the cosmos, from which we can be aware of the rest of the universe and all that it contains; and this is how we are driven to ask that question, why. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at all?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

God (the Father) and the Son were the initial pointers that formed my barest simplest faith.  There had to be a creator and I knew the story of Jesus, but the Spirit eluded and baffled me until I somehow grasped that this was the power, the presence, that connected us all.  Much, much later I realised that this was what we may metaphorically describe as the dance of the Trinity; creating, sustaining, evolving, continually forming, unforming and reforming the world and all that is in it.

It was only at theological college that I first encountered the term ‘perichoresis’, initially used in the East by the Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century to describe the inner life and relationships in the Trinity.  It means “mutual indwelling” while the associated word perichōreuō means to ‘Dance around’ – a wonderful dynamic image for the life of the Trinity.

So this text. .. remains engrained in my heart, -
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”-
This text holds the story of origination, incarnation, and sanctification; the celebration and summation of the dance of the Trinity in our faith, in our world and in our innermost being.  The inner life of the Trinity is in us and we are in it.

The ancient image of the Trinity, the triquetra conveys the dynamic  movement, the dance, of the Trinity as well as the interrelatedness.

I say the inner life of the Trinity is in us and we are in it because to understand the Trinity as way of being sustained in love, (mutual indwelling energy, i.e. perichoresis) is to realise that this love is the source of origination, incarnation and sanctification, and is to realise that the Trinity is entangled in us and in our world.  Once we start to think that way we may begin to look at the natural processes of the world differently and recognise God’s relationship with all that is: for instance, the proposition that God may not intervene in the natural processes of the world but may more commonly work within them.

So, pushing this thought a little further, we may begin to imagine further nuances of the Trinity as the dance of God within creation.  Think of God as spiritually immanent within creation, and guiding it to increased levels of complexity through the natural processes of evolution.  In that respect the dancing God is the God of evolution.

The apostle Paul touches on this dynamic truth when he says that it is within God that we “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”-

Amen!










The








Thinn li




Post a Comment