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Center for Action and Contemplation

The Nature of Being

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trinity: Week 1

The Nature of Being
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

We need to reshape our image of God. Most of us begin with some notion of God as a Being, and then we discover through Jesus that such a Being is loving.

The Trinitarian revelation instead starts with the nature of loving—and this is the very nature of being! There is now a hidden faithfulness and goodness at the heart of the universe. Everything is now positioned to transform all our lead into gold; the final, inherent direction of history is toward resurrection. Alpha now matches Omega (see Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Duns Scotus saw the Christ icon as the Alpha point, and Teilhard de Chardin saw Christ as the Omega point.  History had a pattern, a trajectory, and a goal, which gave everything coherence.

Many of us grew up with the notion of a static God at the top of a pyramid-shaped universe and all else beneath. Most Christian art and church design and architecture reflects this pyramidal worldview, which shows what little influence Trinity has had had in our history.

I’m not saying the pyramid is entirely wrong. We certainly want to preserve a sense of transcendent greatness in God. I know that God is well beyond me, or God would not be any kind of God I could respect. But if the idea of Trinity is the shape of God, and Incarnation is true, then a more honest and truly helpful geometric figure would be a circle or spiral rather than a pyramid. Let the circle dance rearrange your Christian imagination.

Here’s another image to shift our perception of God: The Trinity is like a rubber band that expands and contracts. It moves out and it pulls back in, like inhaling and exhaling. Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Jesus came forth from the Trinity and became one of us. Before he returned to God, he prayed (John 17:20-24):

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

The glory which You have given Me I have given them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

In the Incarnation, Jesus comes forth from the Trinity and invites us and includes us in the sacred dance, taking us home with him.

Gateway to Silence:
God for us, God with us, God in us

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 66-67; and
The Divine Dance: Exploring the Mystery of Trinity, disc 1 (CAC: 2004), CD, MP3 download.

Image credit:  Möbius Strip (detail), Photograph by David Benbennick, 2005.
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