Orthodox Christianity as affirmed in the historic creeds is at its heart Trinitarian -there is one God existing in three persons. But what does this mean — and why is it important? Certainly the Trinity is a tough concept to grasp – it overloads our mental circuits. We say the right words – but don’t really know what we mean or what we are supposed to mean. The difficulty of the concept has led some to conclude that three persons means three Gods, others that there are three different modes or aspects of one God as perceived from human perspective, still others that there is only one person in God. Does any of this really matter?
Probably not! But we sure do love to try and solve unsolvable mysteries and argue about who is right and we really have no clue who is right….if there even is a right!!! I found an excerpt from Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God quite insightful, providing food for thought. In the final chapter, he describes his view of the intrinsic beauty and importance of the Trinity as The Dance of God….hence, my sermon title!
He asks: How significant is Trinity to Christian living?
According to Keller the importance of the Trinity is community. God is love but without another there is no love. The Trinity means that God is, in essence, relational. ( p. 214) Keller discusses the Trinity and compares the importance of this relationship to a perfect dance of love.
And Keller expands upon this theme to say: “The Trinity is described as perichoresis, which means – to dance or flow around, mutual movement, mutual indwelling.
…Musicians and dancers who have worked together for some time have an intuitive sense of the movement or rhythm of the others…sensitive to their mood and intent. It’s a blending of mind, body and soul. Beautiful to watch….and we are invited to enter into that movement or song as it wraps itself around us.
The fourth-century Cappadocian Fathers tried to communicate this notion of life as mutual participation by calling the Trinitarian flow a “circle dance” (perichoresis) between the three. They were saying that whatever is going on in God is a flow that’s like a dance; and God is not just the dancer, God is the dance itself!
God is a circle dance, a centrifugal force flowing outward, and then drawing all things into the dance . In reality then there must be a “family resemblance” between everything else and the nature of the heart of God.
…..The two passages of scripture that I chose speak to me about Trinity…though as I said, the doctrine of Trinity as such is not mentioned in the Bible anywhere. In the 2nd chapter of Samuel, an oracle of David…. his last words saying that the Spirit of the Lord spoke through me…God’s word upon my tongue….and when one rules in relationship with God, one is like the light of the morning sunrise, the brightness after the rain that brings forth fresh grass from the earth.” How poetic and beautiful! And in like manner, the author of 1st John writes of light and truth and love stating clearly that because God loved us, we ought to be able to love each other. It’s all part of the Divine Dance of love….it’s been choreographed into the pattern of our lives. It is we who complete God’s love…which goes back to Tim Keller’s idea that Trinity means that God is relational. We have never seen God, John writes….but we can experience God in each other because God has given us God’s Spirit….to live in us….to be part of us. It’s in our DNA…. a dna we share with God and all of creation. God is Creator and Sustainer….we, like Jesus are the embodiment of God….love in compassionate action….the Spirit is the energy that holds it all together….that enables the flow of life….the Divine Dance.
Poet David Whyte wrote:
… to be human
is to become visible
what is hidden
as a gift to others…”
Wow…that hit me with an ah ha! The simplicity of it.
For me, God is ONE …..God is relational and multidimensional …and we are all part of the Divine Dance of love. We can choose to be a wallflower or join the flow.
Rev Jan Hryniewicz