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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Spiritual Life: To dance around one another in relationship

Here is my Spiritual Life column for the current edition of the Ilford Recorder:

Explaining the idea of the Trinity - three persons, one God - has always been a challenge to priests and preachers. The shamrock is one favourite illustration - three leaves, one stem - as is water - two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen forming one entity which can be a liquid, a solid and a gas.

My favourite image, though, is not of the form of the Trinity but of its dynamism and dynamic. That image is of a dance as the Greek word for the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit - perichoresis - means ‘to dance around one another in relationship.’ Dance partners interact “within a rhythm which remains the same but in a continuous variety of movements.” At its best, you have people totally in tune with one another for the period of that dance.

This is what the united relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is thought to be in the Christian faith and it means that at the very heart of God is a dynamic relationship in which a constant exchange of love is underway. We could call it the dance of love. Being in relationship with God means, for the Christian, being drawn into that constant, eternal exchange or dance of love. Jesus describes this when he says that he is in the Father and the Father in him. He then extends that same relationship to others too - I am in you and you are in me.

To really know love, Christianity suggests, we must be drawn into the dance of love which Father, Son and Holy Spirit share and which is at the very heart of God.


Leonard Cohen - Dance Me To The End Of Love.

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