Monday, June 05, 2006

dancing the trinity?

I've heard of the two-step...why now a trinity dance?

After all, this Sunday is Trinity Sunday. And, now and then, I get this yearning to celebrate and emphasize our trinitarian theology. Not just the ol' formula (Father, Son & Holy Ghost), but with all kinds of names.

One of my favorite trinitarian words is perichoresis. (I figure that during the week after the National Spelling Bee, it's a good time for tricky words. Did Starbucks ever put that one on a cup?)

In theology, it's been defined as the interconnected relationships of the Holy Trinity--the dance of interconnection between God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

For all you word nerds, you'll see that it has roots in Greek words that could be translated as "dancing around": peri- like perimeter, meaning around, and -chor- like choreography mean dancing or moving.

Anyhow...all of this is to say that I like imagining the divine (GOD!) as a wily, dance, working with us (and the whole world) in beautiful steps to building God's justice. A dancing God who can't quite be caught on film or tied down, even by the most elegant of church-y language.

Here's part of a poem I found online, by a man named Andrew Stephen Damick. Poetry about a dancing God. What could be better?!

Perichoresis

O elegant and gentle Leader of the dance,
we do not know the meaning of each step
nor how to rightly turn this way or hold this pose.
Each spinning step or angled movement's twist
does sometimes give us vertigo here where we stand;
this mystery of how the rhythm's pulse
and how the music's lilt are tuned to only You
has caught us up, and we are overwhelmed.

O grace-filled, grace-bestowing Leader of the dance,
please teach me how to twirl and how to move;
please teach me how the song pervades each dancer's form,
these dancers who have learned to dance with You
throughout the ages of the song, the holy song
You sang in ages past to Abraham,
to Isaac and to Jacob and his Hebrew seed:
Now sing to me and give me, too, this life.

5 comments:

Randy Baker said...

I have always found the concept of Trinity difficult. This notion of a perpetual dance helps understand it -- somewhat. Thanks for sharing. (And, oh yes, we're moving to San Diego soon and I was just curious about Methodist churches. Question answered.)

karen said...

Welcome to the virtual cove, Randy!

We'll look forward to welcoming you to the real thing when you reach San Diego.

Dcn. Andrew Stephen Damick said...

For whatever it may be worth, my intended meaning wasn't so much about a dancing God in particular but rather to connect the perichoresis (interpenetration, with the pun on "dancing around") of the Holy Trinity with the divinization of man (theosis) which is the traditional Orthodox Christian understanding of salvation. That is, the sharing of the Persons of the Trinity in the one divine essence is imaged by the sharing in energies of the human person in union with God. As St. Peter says, in salvation, we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it. Anyone interested in reading the whole poem can look here, and any interested in taking a look at my book of poetry can look here.

evan said...

Hi Randy,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you will look us up once you move here.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.