Reflections from The Hill – Put on the Dancing Shoes – John16.12-15
I won’t say I was never a wall flower or a shrinking violet; far from it, really. However, I still marvel at the fact that I was never left out when it came to the Ladies Choice.
Whether it was a progressive Barn Dance, the stately Pride of Erin or an Old-Time Waltz, I certainly wasn’t on my Pat Malone. Maybe the ladies felt sorry for me, I don’t know.
If there was a problem, however, it was because I can’t actually dance – a fact with which My Dearly Beloved will heartily agree. Back then, I must have looked like a dancer, I suppose. There was nothing much else that would commend me.
This might be a parable of the way some of us relate to The Big Fella – mostly on the outer, can’t seem to do it, waiting for an invitation to join in. Truth is that the invite is already out there, waiting. For what? Godot, perhaps?
For a people who were stuck on The One True God thing, chaps like Abraham and Moses were heroes, and had been so for quite a while. Rightly so; there is only so much room in the camels’ saddle bags for a pile of statues.
Then along came the Christians and we really upset the apple cart. What we were banging on about sounded for all the world like a regression to the old pantheon of multiple gods and more saddlebags.
“Hmmm, we need a theologian”, cried the populace and a few good men put up their hands in successive, but not always successful, attempts to answer the conundrum of the Three-in-One. As I say, it sounded a lot like three chooks in a basket, at least until Good Ole Auggie came to town.
Known as a Thinker, Auggie latched on to the notion of Lover, Beloved, Love-Between-Them to explain the mystery, but, as I’ve said elsewhere, we’ve got to learn that when the church calls something ‘a mystery’ it’s probably because that’s what it is and that it ain’t any good trying to unravel it because it won’t.
Eventually, some smart fellers, Yuppies probably, in a real attempt to get away from gender-specific language, reckoned that describing Trinity in terms of what the Trinity did would be good. So we got the Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier type of words, which are not always on the money, either.
It does seem that there’s not enough language available to us to put into words what we want to say or believe – or both – about God-in-Trinity. So, how do we handle all this?
It’s instructive for us if we recognise that, throughout the arc of history, certain individuals seem to get such a handle on the Trinity that their insights become helpful for the rest of us and are not consigned to the scrapheap.
Some writers, thinkers, artists, musicians, scientists and more, have each had a profound effect on our understanding of this Wonder by doing what they do best.
These insights have one thing in common: they each describe God-in-Trinity in terms of a relationship. These insights unpack the identity of the Trinity. What The Trinity does, in fact, comes second.
The essence that is most commonly described is Love: Love that is God, a dynamic, affirmative and mutual icon of The Big Fella Himself. God is Love.
Moreover, the Trinity is a bit like a Divine Dance that’s taking place, a graceful and intimate set of movements that need no others to complete it but where he has invited us to join, just like my belles at the Ladies Choice.
Those invitations have been written and sent out. There’ll be no wallflowers, no onlookers, no outcasts there. He has chosen to create and redeem us to join him on the Dance Floor.
The tough thing is to put it into practice, to make it so that each person, each family, parish, church council, school, diocese, nation and so on, has been transformed into a living icon of the Trinity.
So, Luke and Lucy, put on your Dancing Shoes. That way, at least, you’ll be ready when the music starts.