Trinity Sunday. Eggs, oranges, kettles and ice cubes, complicated drawings of triangles with arrows in all directions; the children’s talk almost no one wants to give and certainly not for a second time.
Dr Ben Myers, Lecturer in Theology at the Uniting Church College, has released a humorous series, Tweeting the Doctrine of the Trinity. “How to combat Trinitarian heresy, #4: Have you come up with a really helpful analogy? Well done! Now please don’t tell anyone about it, ever.”
The Trinity seeks to describe God’s extraordinary relationship as three in one and one in three, yet explaining it is almost always a hindrance in us understanding it at all.
The character of God has been described as a dance, as a movement of God – Creator, Son and Spirit – as each influences the other, leading and being led. It’s an image of wonder and beauty. God as community; loving, dancing, creating, celebrating, moving … and welcoming us into the community of God. Is this just theological playtime, or is there something more?
If we understand God as community, then our relationship with God is affected, at the same moment as God asks something of us. What does it mean to create and live in a community which reflects the character of our God?
Watch the news, if you have the courage. There is an investment from those we support, and from those who seek our harm, to divide our world, into “us and them”. It’s almost as simple as that, and appeals to our baser instincts. An illustration: the media reports concerning the horror of the London and Manchester attacks obscured a larger scale horror in Kabul, and dissipated the widespread condemnation by international Muslim leaders of all these atrocities.
Us and Them.
Someone’s skin colour, someone’s name, are used as markers of divergence. How do we have a conversation about recognition of our Aboriginal sisters and brothers in our Constitution without defaulting into the same lazy, hurtful stereotypes?
The character of God has inherently different characteristics, and yet are all one. How do we, as disciples of the living, dancing God accept, welcome and celebrate our differences, not only as a reflection of this God, but of God’s deliberate intent?
Community is not easy, but it is necessary. We are citizens of God’s community, and the hope of that belonging enables and inspires us for the journey ahead.
Learning God’s dance takes time, effort and our deliberate intent. We need the imagination of God, the example of Jesus and the power of the Spirit that we may not lose our step.