by Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter
When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. – John 16:13–15
The picture on the right is a picture of a Celtic knot. I bought this pin in Lindisfarne many years (well, decades) ago.
Many of you have heard me speak of my Celtic heritage before, and the many ways I have always incorporated contemplative Celtic Christian practice into my prayer and devotional life.
This symbol is a symbol of the Trinity in Celtic art – the constant beautiful intertwining dance between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Or, if you prefer, between Mother, the Christ, and the Spirit. Or between Light, Form, and Spirit. It is spoken of in many ways – always with reverence.
The fancy word for this is “perichoresis”, from the Greek “peri”, meaning “around”, and “chorein”, meaning “to give way” or to “make room”. Though the actual Greek word is not found in Scripture, the idea is certainly there. Scholars speak of this as a choreography, a dance in which the three members move consistently as One, with love and precision and fluidity, to create meaning and life. To create meaningful work together.
Creating meaningful work together as a loving entity made up of the Children of God is exactly what we as a Beloved Community of believers have been asked to do by the Trinity. The relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of shared glory, generosity, and action. The idea of Divine Relationship focuses each of the members of the Trinity on One another – and on us. For we, too, are part of that glorious heavenly dance.
The Divinity, the holiness, of the natural created world is a key aspect of Celtic Christian practice, and so perichoresis also refers to how our omnipresent sustainer creator God intersects with all creation. Colossians 1:16-17 describes Jesus in this way: “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Presbytery of Cincinnati, let’s all find our place in the holy dance and so join the Beloved Community. It is through the power of the Trinity that, in so doing, we can flood the world with peace and kindness and wholeness.