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Published by Joseph Winston

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Published by: Joseph Winston on Apr 28, 2008
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Store Closing
The Rev. Joseph WinstonJune 3, 2007
Grace and peace are gifts for you from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For almost seven hundred years, the Western Church has been celebratingTrinity Sunday on the first Sunday that follows Pentecost. Pope John XXII, wholived between 1316 and 1334, ordered the Roman Catholic Church to set asidethis day to remember the church’s teaching on the Trinity. We have inherited thistradition and today, we will examine our understanding of the Trinity.It has been said that the Trinity is one of those concepts about Christianity thatis poorly understood. Maybe the confusion arises because no one takes the timeto state what we believe.We, with the rest of the Christian Church, believe that God is One God in threepersons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God interacts with the creation
Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 1:3
in the manner of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Despite this fact, God isnot three different gods but One.While it might be relatively easy to restate a portion of our confessions, it ismuch harder to talk about the difference that the Trinity makes in the daily lifeof the Church. Perhaps, this problem exists because the old models of the life of the Trinity as either dance or music are difficult for us to understand because theydraw on images that rarely exist in our world today.For example, at one time the entire community danced. The infants smiled andswayed as their parents and grandparents moved to and fro. At the edges of theflowing bodies were the youngsters and the aged. The children, needing to learnthe steps, watched the adults dance. One day soon, they would join their sistersand their brothers in the celebration. With bones too brittle and joints too stiff, theoldermembersofthecommunityalsoviewedtheactivityallaroundthemandtheyremembered fondly their days on the dance floor. The rest of the people dancedtogether as one. They all knew what to do because they had been practicing themoves their entire lives. No, it was not always pretty or even perfect, but this nevermattered since they were enjoying themselves.Thisdescriptionofacommunitydancingtogetherisoneoftheprimarymodelsfor the Trinity. Every one: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit move as One.The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all know the steps so well that they canswitch roles if necessary. When this occurs, it often makes the observers a littlebit dizzy because they never expected that to happen. Just like the communitycelebration on the dance floor, the members of the Trinity all love what they are2
doing. The interplay between the Trinity is but one part of their life together. Whatreally is important to the Trinity is the care that the members have for each other.This dedication causes them to live as One with One another.
The application of these Trinitarian ideas should cause the church to freely goand love others.Theideaofutterinterdependenceonothersinadanceispracticallyimpossibleforustograsptodaybecausewenolongerlivelikethis.Instead,ourentertainmentexists solely for our own sake. We can clearly see this in our courting rituals.No longer do entire families and even towns provide proper ways for boys to beintroduced to girls. Instead, we do nothing and let nature take its course. Our lack of involvement with our children and grandchildren show how self centered wehave become. It is no wonder that we no longer use dance as a way to describe thelife of the Trinity.The same story applies for music making. In the not too distant past, every hu-man made music in some way or another. Society supported this idea by expectingthat all of its members could participate in song. Children listened to their motherssing around the house and soon even the babies could copy their mother’s mu-sic. Parents and schools joined together in teaching the children nursery rhymes,which were sung. Does anyone remember
Three Blind Mice
Hickory Dickery Dock 
? The emphasis on music did not end with singing simple songs. Every onewas expected to learn how to read music and to progress on to more difficult reper-
These ideas are based on the work of John Damascene’s doctrine of Perichoresis. Moltmannin
The Trinity And The Kingdom
argues that this is the lifestyle that the church must adopt. Thisapproach gives the church the freedom to love.

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