Don't you just love Greek words – especially the word kebab! One of the richest pictures of the Holy Spirit I have discovered in recent years is found in the Greek word Perichoresis (pronounced Peri cori sis). This word has and is transforming my view of the trinity from being so impersonal. static and disconnected to being part of of a divine dance. Theologian Jonathan Marlowe describes the trinity as a divine dance of God expressed in the word Perichoresis.
“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 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 illustration of the dance speaks of a divine dynamic within the father, son and spirit. It describes to us a God who lives in perfect unity, intimacy and creativity. We need to understand this relationship or we won’t fully grasp who the Holy Spirit is.
The DANCE reveals Complete Unity
Oneness is at the heart of the father, son and spirit relationship. It is a non-static partnership with full participation and connection. The relationships in the trinity are never separated but somehow distinct. They are one in heart, mind, movement and purpose with no division. It is therefore interesting that where there is great division in the church we see the work of the Holy Spirit is grieved. Perhaps this is why Jesus prayed you and I would be one as they are one? Can you imagine there being grudges or offences in the trinity!
The DANCE reveals Perfect Intimacy
Relationship, community and love are found first within God himself. In the dance we discover that God is Love. Love is what we get invited into. When we are baptised in the name of the father, son and spirit – we don’t “let God into our life” but our life is immersed into God’s!
Baxter Krueger once said “The gospel is not the news that we can accept an absent Jesus into our lives. The gospel is the news that the Father’s Son has received us into his. We don’t make Jesus part of our world; he has made us part of his.”
We are invited to join the dance of heaven. It is a dance marked by the spirit of love, joy, peace, kindness, freedom and goodness. This is the very nature of God in which there is absolutely no fear present.
If you want to know if you are acting according to the spirit you can simply test your actions against love. The surest hallmark of the Holy Spirit working in a community is that there are expressions of authentic love and unity not just signs and wonders. Why? The last two characteristics can be counterfeited but the first two cannot. What if out of an atmosphere of love and unity we begin to naturally see more supernatural signs and wonders?
The DANCE reveals Powerful Creativity
Dancing changes atmospheres. The creative energy and power of God’s dance causes a shift in the spiritual atmosphere and then things begin to happen. Nothing God does happens in a vacuum. It happens as an expression of his creative nature.
Think about it; The Holy Spirit is the most powerful creative force in the universe. Present at creation hovering above the empty form of the earth, the spirit helped formed the universe. The spirit helped formed mankind from the dust and breathed life into our human spirit. That’s creativity in action. The creative power of the spirit caused the miraculous conception of Jesus, moved through Jesus to set captives free, and it even raised Jesus from the dead. This same power that made us new creations is the power that endlessly fuels the dynamic dance of God between heaven and earth.
When you pray for more of the spirit of God in your life, you are not just praying for more of a feeling, you are accepting an invitation to join the dance of unity, intimacy and creativity. What does being part of this dance mean for you?
Dave Boden – Lead Pastor