The overflowing Fellowship

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God is not a bookkeeper or an old professor or some kind of divine black hole who is so angst-ridden, so lonely and bored and needy he sucks the life out of everything around him. God exists as a triune relationship–Father, Son and Spirit. And it is not a dead or empty relationship. The Father, Son and Spirit are not like three bronze statues in the park–speechless, motionless, heartless. The Father likes His Son. He loves him, is absolutely thrilled with him, bursting with pride over him (Matthew 3:17; 17:5 and John 5:19-20). And the Son adores his Father, loves Him with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength in the freedom and fellowship of the Spirit.

Far from being frozen in some lifeless pose,
the Father, Son and Spirit live in a circle
of eager and lavish hospitality.

It is a circle of passionate embracing, of mutual acceptance, delight and love, which issues forth not in sadness or depression or misery but in unchained life–joyous, overflowing fellowship. The early theologians of the church were quite right when they spoke of the triune life of God as a divine dance. It is not dead, but alive, good, right, unstifled, overflowing, creative…

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The gospel is all about the fact that the Son of God, who enjoys life with his Father in the fellowship of the Spirit, became human–came across to our side of the table–so that he could share nothing less than this life with us. And he was sent not only to share this life with us but also to deal once and for all with our alienation from it. What good would it do for the grandparent to stoop to the grandchild if the grandchild were blind, deaf and mute? But, if in stooping, the grandparent could also heal, well then that is the point. Jesus came to share his rich life with us, and he came to do what was necessary–even at profound cost to himself–to heal us so that we could know and live in his life with him.

–C. Baxter Kruger
The Secret

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The birthplace of beauty

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The Christian understanding of beauty emerges not only naturally, but necessarily, from the Christian understanding of God as a perichoresis of love, dynamic coinherence of the three divine persons, whose life is eternally one of shared regard, delight, fellowship, feasting, and joy.

–David Bentley Hart
The Beauty of the Infinite

The Dance of God

Our concert of praise
To Jesus we raise,
And all the night long
Continue the new evangelical song:
We dance to the fame
Of Jesus’s name,
The joy it imparts
Is heaven begun in our musical hearts.

–Charles Wesley

The Greek noun perichoresis was the early church’s favourite word to describe the interrelationship of the holy Trinity. When the prefix peri (around) is linked with the root of the verb choreuein (to dance), a compelling metaphor is formed or “choreographed” to describe the “one nature in three persons” of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Literally they “dance around.” The choreia or dance of God is the choreography of the cosmos, the interrelationship of Creator, creation, and life itself, the holy creativity of the All in All.

The dancing metaphor of the holy Trinity is envisioned and embodied as a circle dance. The dance of the triune divine is moving, active, eternally both transcendent and immanent, and flowing together in a joyful harmonious, rhythmic and resonant celebration of life…

As we join the Lord of the Dance in the art of pilgriming (being on the way), we form a community of followers, each relationally on the move and invested in each other’s life. The body of Jesus becomes a whirling life force, wherein each member of the growing body becomes aligned with Christ and at one with God. The implication of the dance of the Trinity is that all persons dance a dance of mutual love, breath together the breath of life, and pour out to one another in mutual giving…

O Lord . . . you changed
My mourning into dancing . . . .
Forever will I give you thanks.
Psalm 30:11-13 NAB

The Bible is filled with stories of dancing. These dances are not planned, scripted ballets but improvised songs of freedom and hope. They aren’t performed by trained and seasoned professionals but are initiated in the joyful celebrations of the common people of God…

Jesus invites us all to dance, though not all follow. “We piped to you, and you did not dance.” But look what happens when we do. As followers fall into sync with Jesus, we enjoy not just synergy with him but a syncopated and synchronous movement together. The rhythms of the Jesus life echo within the movements of the Spirit’s music until we are singing and dancing together in a beautiful and diverse harmony. The dance of Christ is a world dance.

The Holy Spirit is starting new dances
in every part of the world.
When we dance the dance of God,
we follow the Spirit’s lead.

The time is now, and the dance is eternal. Don’t sit this dance out. Life is a speedy season. Buds burst in smelly spring; fruits delight in fertile summer. Leaves change colors in inflamed autumn. Trees fall in whitened winter. Dance while you can. The world doesn’t need more conversations so much as it needs more dancing.

When you stumble,
make it part of your dance.
–Anonymous

. . . The perichoresis of God is a dance of love that moves and flows through the ins and outs, ups and downs of all of life’s joys and travails. The circle of our dancing is a powerful movement of shared com(passion)…

To join the dance of the Spirit, we need to break out of our square lines and ballroom boxes and let the Spirit draw us in. The dance of the perichoresis is a unity of sound and sight, a unity of followers of Jesus, and a unity of God and world.

Heaven is much too serious a place for work.
It will be all dance and play there.
–C. S. Lewis


–Adapted from Leonard Sweet

The Trinitarian Dance

The theologians in the early church tried to describe this wonderful reality that we call Trinity. If any of you have ever been to a Greek wedding, you may have seen their distinctive way of dancing . . . It’s called perichoresis. There are not two dancers, but at least three. They start to go in circles, weaving in and out in this very beautiful pattern of motion. They start to go faster and faster and faster, all the while staying in perfect rhythm and in sync with each other. Eventually, they are dancing so quickly (yet so effortlessly) that as you look at them, it just becomes a blur. Their individual identities are part of a larger dance.

The early church fathers and mothers looked at that dance (perichoresis) and said, “That’s what the Trinity is like.” It’s a harmonious set of relationship in which there is mutual giving and receiving. This relationship is called love, and it’s what the Trinity is all about. The perichoresis is the dance of love.

–Jonathan Marlowe

Perichoresis

Genuine acceptance removes fear and hiding, and creates freedom to know and be known. In this freedom arises a fellowship and sharing so honest and open and real that the persons involved dwell in one another. There is union without the loss of individual identity. When one weeps, the other tastes salt. It is only in the Triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit that personal relationship of this order exists, and the early Church used the word “perichoresis” to describe it. The good news is that Jesus Christ has drawn us within this relationship, and its fullness and life are to be played out in each of us and in all creation.

–Baxter Kruger

Restoring the rhythm

The early church leaders described the Trinity using the term perichoresis (peri-circle, choresis-dance):  The Trinity was an eternal dance of the Father, Son and Spirit sharing mutual love, honour, happiness, joy and respect… God’s act of creation means that God is inviting more and more beings into the eternal dance of Joy.  Sin means that people are stepping out of the dance… stomping on feet instead of moving with grace, rhythm and reverence. Then in Jesus, God enters creation to restore the rhythm and beauty again.

–Brian D. McLaren

The Eternal Dance

The center and the matrix of the universe is not a machine or a monastery—it is a dance, a ballet, a perichoresis, an interaction of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit that is so beautiful, so exuberant, so marvellous that the Triune God purposed to create us so that we would be part of the dance and participants in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity. Could anything be more amazing than that?

–Jurgen O. Schulz

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