This post makes me a little nervous, mostly because I am interacting with an old idea. It's a vital Christian doctrine, and it's finally brushing up against me. But I am not a seminary grad, nor do I know Greek and Hebrew. To make it more nerve wracking is the fact that churches have split and saints beheaded for the purity of this doctrine.
[I am going to apologize now for any unknown lines I may cross, any word choices that offend or deny. And I offer this disclaimer: The views of this contributor do not reflect the earnest intellect of Glenn Lucke nor other CGO writers.]
My understanding has come from a number of sources, none of who were teaching specifically on this topic. Here and there, little crumbs kept falling into my lap. And finally, the crumbs stuck together enough to form a shape that became my understanding. (This is probably a horrible way to do theology.)
But it's all I've got for now. And I can't quit thinking about it; it affects everything. I'm talking about the trinity. The idea that three people are really one. The idea that these three people are independent and interdependent. The idea that these three people are love.
I am struck by the obvious: God is in relationship with Himself. They speak to each other. They bring honor to each other. They have affection for each other. All the while, love reigns supreme. It's their language, their mission and their being.
Early Christians called the trinity's interdependence “perichoresis” or a dancing about. (Think “peri” as around and “choresis” as something like choreograph.) Dancing around suggests more than interdependence; it suggests interpenetration-moving in and out of one another in perfect rhythm and grace. And love is the motive. They dwell in one another with joy, a community of freedom. At the center of the universe is a family, a relationship of love.
This idea changes me. Something shifts. My desire for belonging and acceptance becomes a reflection of the trinity, not a place of demanding or withdrawing. My hope that I will move in and receive from others is holy, like the trinity. My longings for affection and intimacy are mirrors of the great dance.
Now, get this: The trinity of love longs to draw near to us! What they have they want us to experience, too. They want us to know their intimacy, joy, power, creativity and peace! That thought changes my view of so many Christian doctrines:
Sin becomes a stumbling block to the good stuff;
Evangelism becomes the best invitation to the best party around;
Jesus' death becomes about His consuming desire for me. (That's a big shift for me. The Cross used to be about my sin; now it's about His love.)
Loving one another is now joining the trinity in loving you.
And so on.
If the trinity is indeed a dancing about of holy love, how might that change your view of the world?