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Center for Action and Contemplation

God Is Always Dancing

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Theology professor Sharon L. Baker Putt elaborates on the metaphor of dancing to capture God’s dynamic, Trinitarian love:   

Do you want to dance? God does. In fact, Zephaniah describes the delightful divine dance for us, saying that God “will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival” (3:17–18). These verses provide us with a profound word picture in which we see the almighty God of the universe dancing around God’s beloved people—us!—jumping and turning and spinning with great pleasure….  

In the divine community, dancing symbolizes the creative, flowing movement of love-in-action among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And as an extension of divine extravagant grace, infinite love, and unfathomable benevolence toward the world, God invites us into the sacred space of divinity and urges us to join this mystical, eternal dance. Indeed, dancing is not only allowed—it is strongly encouraged!… None of us needs to sit on the outskirts of the ball as mere spectating wallflowers. All of us have our names on the Trinitarian dance card and can take our place on the floor as active partners with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the beautifully choreographed kingdom waltz (or even the boogie, samba, jitterbug—your free choice—God knows all the steps to every dance). 

Through this Trinitarian image of active participation, we too become responsible for sharing the flow of love with others:  

So as we participate in the divine communion of love, we work with God to bring all things back to God. We might consider it a circular motion that begins with the dance between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who then, out of the urging desire of love, invite us to join in as partners, raising us into the presence of God (Ephesians 2:6) and sending us back into the world to invite others to the heavenly ball (Matthew 28:19–20). Just as in creation, everything flows out from God, and in the divine dance God brings all things back to God in choreographed compassion.  

The divine invitation always stands open…. God exists with us, in us, and through us as the divine life flowing through all things, circling, and dancing, re-creating and redeeming, reconciling and restoring as our partner in the work of transforming the world. Carl McColman puts this Trinitarian conception into words poetically:  

God is in us, because we are in Christ. As members of the mystical body, Christians actually partake in the divine nature of the Trinity. We do not merely watch the dance, we dance the dance. We join hands with Christ and the Spirit flows through us and between us and our feet move always in the loving embrace of the Father…. We see the joyful love of the Father through the eyes of the Son. And with every breath, we breathe the Holy Spirit. [1] 


[1] Carl McColman, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2010, 2021), 163–164.  

Sharon L. Baker Putt, A Nonviolent Theology of Love: Peacefully Confessing the Apostles’ Creed (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2021), 39, 52–53.   

Image credit: A path from one week to the next— Jenna Keiper, Untitled. Jenna Keiper, Untitled. Izzy Spitz, Untitled. Watercolor. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. 

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise. 

Story from Our Community:  

I have been following the CAC Meditations and have been practicing a more contemplative and conscious prayer and meditation time. I have been having chronic pain around my neck and this pain has driven me to a deeper prayer life. Today I was sitting in my “chapel” and I welcomed the Holy Spirit. [As I] settled into this time with God, I realized that I needed acceptance of my painful situation…. Amazing Grace gently played in my mind as I thanked God for Grace. Then I heard within my mind a loud horn—which really had my attention, as this horn was distinct—which immediately was followed by a peace that washed over me. My fear released, immediately. I was able to let go and know that the Love of God will sustain me. —Tom M.   

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