For a couple of years before I moved to Chicago, I attended a church in North Carolina that, in retrospect, taught me more than four years of seminary.
It was a remarkable community, with a pastor and teacher whose influence still marks my life. And between his teaching and example, and the group of friends who formed an unusually close housegroup together, my theology became clarified and grounded.
By the time I got to seminary, I knew that the Trinity and the Incarnation formed the crossbars of how I thought about and engaged God and the world.
Hunter, my pastor, spoke of the Trinity as a circle dance (the Greek is perichoresis) – and perhaps because of his penchant for playing the bohdran and telling Irish tall tales, that circle dance always looked like a Celtic knot to me, strands of relationship and movement intimately interwoven.
The beauty of this reality is that the trinitarian circle dance embraces all of creation, and particularly you and me.
God, the three in one and one in three, is love – not the idea of love, but the very act of loving. Parent, Child, and Spirit are eternally loving, and that love expresses itself in creation and embrace. Always including.
Even in the Garden, after the fruit of judgement had been eaten, it is the man and woman who hide and God who seeks them. It is not God who is in need of reconciliation, but we who are in need of convincing that we are already in the divine embrace, fully accepted and loved.
The Trinity intertwines around and within us – “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” Jesus says.
And yet we run. We hide. We hide from acceptance and love in all our trying to find worthiness or an explanation for it.
Love needs no explanation.
All the while the dance encircles us, inviting us to join the dance of love that leaves no one out.
Richard Rohr and my friend Mike Morrell have written a beautiful new book about the Trinity called The Divine Dance. Mike gave me an advance copy this summer and I’ve loved the way they explore the Trinity.
“God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself.”
It’s the dance of the universe – solar systems and planets held in a dance together in relationship with each other. Protons, electrons, and neutrons dance together in every cell within us and at the furthest curve of creation.
All of creation reflecting the Creator – who dances with us all, if we can open our ears to the music, feel the rhythm beating in our hurts and in our hearts, and let it sweep us away.