May 26, 2013

Join in the Dance

As I write this I am on a well deserved vacation visiting my family in Florida. It is a good time to be here since the weather back home is terrible for this time of year.  I am hoping it improves before I get home the first week of June.

When I think of Trinity Sunday I can't help but think of the movie Footloose.  OK, you might be thinking what on earth does that film have to do with the Trinity. Well, to be honest, nothing.  But it does have everything to do with dancing. For people who really know me I love to dance. I am not very good at it but when the music starts, especially good old Rock and Roll (from the 50's-80's) I can't help but get on my feet and move with the music. Footloose was all about a town that banned dancing and the one high school student (a young Kevin Bacon), who wanted to convince the town's minister and townspeople to let the senior class hold a prom. He does so by reading passages in the Bible that speak of dancing as a way of praising the Lord.  Perhaps the kind of dancing he was trying to get approved is not what you would call praising the Lord, but the image of dancing before God in the Bible has a lot of merit.

Dancing can also be used to describe the Trinity, the relationship between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I wrote the following in this blog about two years ago on Trinity Sunday and thought it would be good to repeat. In it I talk about one of my favorite 'churchy" words, perichoresis.

"My favorite way to enter into the mystery of the Trinity is with the word "perichoresis."  It is a Greek word that literally means "to dance around;" peri meaning "to circle" and choresis meaning "dance" (the root of the word choreography).  It is a word that was first used by the early Church Fathers, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssea, Gregory of Nazianizus and John of Damascus to describe the relationship of the Father, Son and Spirit. St. John wrote, “The subsistences [i.e., the three Persons] dwell and are established firmly in one another. For they are inseparable and cannot part from one another, but keep to their separate courses within one another, without coalescing or mingling, but cleaving to each other. For the Son is in the Father and the Spirit: and the Spirit in the Father and the Son: and the Father in the Son and the Spirit, but there is no coalescence or commingling or confusion. And there is one and the same motion: for there is one impulse and one motion of the three subsistences, which is not to be observed in any created nature” (The Orthodox Faith, 1.14).
I do like  the image of a dance.  If you look at dancers, and I am not talking about what you see on "So You Think You Can Dance," or "Dancing with the Stars" or other such TV shows, but real ballroom dancing, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sort of dancing. The dancers are individual persons, each having their own distinct movements and costumes, but together they create something beautiful and cohesive.  You cannot have someone ballroom dance alone.  It just cannot be done. So too with the Trinity.  The Trinity is a Communio Personarum, a community of Persons who move and flow and draw life from one another in a "Great Dance" of Love."

God wants to take my hand and lead me onto the dance floor where I can move with Him, Father, Son and Spirit.  Isn't that great! But an even greater thing about God is that He can have more than one partner.  Today, and every minute of every day, He is calling you to dance with Him as well.  The music is playing, so get your feet up and dance with the Lord.

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