Divine Circle Dance of Love
By Father Peter Iorio
Did you see the royal wedding last weekend? An event like that seems to catch the attention and fascination of us Americans. I did not get up before the crack of dawn on Saturday, May 19 to watch it, but I did go to the Internet and watch the sermon which was delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, an African-American Episcopalian from Chicago. It is definitely worth 14 minutes to watch. First of all, it was interesting to see the coming together of cultures-the prim and proper very elegant English royalty and their reaction or lack thereof to the fiery preaching style of the African-American. Very different from what they are used to in the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bishop Curry did evoke smiles and laughter in response even if he didn’t get a vocal “Amen” from anyone in the crowd. Most of all, it is worth looking at because the message is right on. He preached on the power of love. Not just sentimental love that brought a man and woman together in holy matrimony, but the fire of God’s desire to be intimately involved in our world.
I mentioned last weekend but not to you all at the 10 am Mass that “dynamis” is the Greek word for “power.” In our language, we have the word “dynamite” which is powerful stuff that causes a reaction. We have the word “dynamic” which indicates someone or something who has the power to be able to cause a reaction. Bishop Curry is a dynamic public speaker as you can see the power in him when he speaks because he moves around and is able to evoke changes of people’s hearts and minds.
My friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the very nature of God: dynamic, powerful and this essence is captured in a seemingly very bland theological term –“The most holy Trinity.”
Trinity describes the very heart of the nature of God. And yes, God is love! In order to have love, you need a plurality of persons. And Love has power. Love is dynamic; it is not static. Love is all about relationships. We believe in one God and there are three persons in this one God.
That is what brother Elias Marechal, a monk at the monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia wrote: “The very mystical Cappadocian fathers of the fourth century who lived in what is now eastern Turkey developed highly sophisticated thinking on what we call the Trinity. They depict the trinity as a round dance: an infinite current of love streams without ceasing, to and fro, to and fro, to and fro: gliding from the father to the son, and back to the father, in one timeless happening. This circular current of Trinitarian love continues night and day… The orderly and rhythmic process of subatomic particles spinning around and round at immense speed echoes it’s dynamism.” God is not a distant, static monarch but a divine circle dance. In Greek the word is Perichoresis. “Peri” means “around.” A periscope rises from a submarine and allows you to look around from beneath the waters. “Choresis” means “dance.” Choreography is the presentation of dance.
This divine dance of the three persons of the Holy Trinity is not closed. It is open for everyone. It is inclusive. This is the image of God that is imprinted in every human being, made in the image and likeness of God. We are meant to be in relationship.
Our Gospel for Trinity Sunday is taken from the very end of Matthew’s Gospel. The risen and glorified Lord speaks to the new Israel of the Church: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This is not an ordinary prophet speaking. This is the very Word of the Father, the exact replica of the Father’s being. Jesus then tells them to go forth and to do the work of gathering in, of drawing people into the very dynamics of the divine life.
And this divine dance is embedded in creation itself. God is the life force of everything. God is not standing on the sidelines, always critiquing which things belong and which things do not belong. The Trinitarian model always reveals God as involved in all of human life.
The triune God allows you, and impels you, to live easily with God everywhere and all the time: in the budding of a plant, the smile of a gardener, the excitement of teenager over a new girlfriend or boyfriend, the tireless determination of a research scientist, the pride of a mechanic over his hidden work under the hood, the nuzzling of puppies, the tenderness which birds feed their chicks, and the downward flow of every mountain stream. And yes, this God is found even in the suffering and death of those very things. How could this not be the life energy of God? We often see movies and books about Jesus. A few years ago, a book and subsequently a movie came out called The Shack. It depicts this essence of God who is Trinity.
Mystery is not something that you cannot understand-it is something that you can endlessly understand. There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve got it.” Always and forever, mystery gets you!
Our speaking of God is a search for analogies and metaphors. All theological language is an approximation, offered tentatively in holy awe. That is the best that human language can achieve. Mystery is the realm of transcendence and we must maintain a fundamental humility before the Great Mystery. That is why we Catholics love ritual which is divine action/participation in the divine dance which does not use precise words that always enlighten the mind, but we are invited to participate in the divine dance of life. Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between three-a circle dance of love.
In the Trinitarian God, we live and move and have our being…So let us go forth in the power of God’s love and become more aware of our relatedness to one another and to all of God’s dynamic Creation.
Divine Circle Dance of Love