Blogger Idol: The Rhythm of Life

by Richard on June 6, 2004

blogger idol gifWho shall we celebrate today? Until yesterday, the answer in the blogosphere was obvious. On the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing, we’ll honour the thousands who gave their lives in Operation Overlord. Surely nothing could be more important? The death of Ronald Reagan has revealed a hero whose candle shines even more brightly in this strange world of Christian blogging.

In all the hero-worship and hagiography of today, a more important festival is in danger of being lost. Today is Trinity Sunday, a day given not to the remembrance of an event but to the celebration of the Person and Life of God himself. God, who brought the universe to birth, who holds all things in the hollow of his hand and who poured himself out for the sake of a fallen humanity, has been supplanted.

It isn’t very surprising. We have never needed much of an excuse to push God aside, to call on his name to serve our agenda and to claim his blessing on us and ours. It is the way of things, part of the rhythm of of our lives, that we turn away from God and set up idols which are closer to home. In the church and out of it, we share with the Israelites of old an irresistible urge to erect strong images of gold and bronze that we can see and adore.

The attractions of today are obvious. Ronald Reagan, whether you see him as hero or villain, is likely to evoke a powerful ideological response. If you’re old enough, you are bound to remember your feelings on hearing the news that he had been elected those years ago. He is credited with “the defeat of communism” and “making America great again”. Alongside this, what has God to offer today? The tales of the heroism of Normandy stir pride and patriotism. We can still talk with a few who made the terrifying asault on those beaches in 1944. We can see and hear and feel the reality of their courage in film and television drama. God has none of that excitement. The doctrine of the Trinity cannot compete with Band of Brothers.

But still I cling to my naive belief that the really important celebration of today, the festival that is of eternal significance, is the celebration of the Trinity. Too often regarded as a dry an entirely optional doctrine, the Trinity is for me absolutely fundamental to the life of the Christian believer. It drives mission and lies behind our pastoral practice. The way that we understand the Trinity goes to the heart of our faith and determines not just our “believing” but bears directly on our behaving in church and society. We are made in the image of God, so the scriptures say. The question today poses is, “What does that image look like?”

Of all the analogies available, the image that appeals to me most is the Trinity as a dance. Or maybe that should be The Dance. Not a formal ballroom dance with couples entwined, nor the disco, where any partnership is temporary or non-existent. This is a dance without beginning or end, a “Circle Dance” of persons whose life consists in the joy of the dance. This is a fellowship of mutuality and self-giving, endlessly interweaving with affection and grace. The Partners and the Dance are etrnal and inseperable, the pattern they weave does not define the dancers but in the dance they are one. And without the dance, there can be no dancers. One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not a mathematical riddle to be solved, but an offer of joyful and eternal life. For the real miracle is that the circle of the Dance is eternally open, hands extended to invite us to participate.

At a party when you watch the dancers the dancers, you usually find that there is a great range of ability. Some glide and shimmer. Some are timid. Some are clumsy, a danger to themselves and others. (That would be me!) Saddest of all are not the dancers whose dancing is poor and inexperienced, but the many who never get up, who could dance but decide they will not.

The problem with human life is not bad dancing, but that many of us choose to ignore the dance that is going on before us. What matters is not how well we dance, but that we take the risk and get up on to the dancefloor. We can leave behind dull certainty, the place of safety that merely observes and comments on the dance. Today, and everyday, we are invited to join the circle and move to the music, the rhythm of the Trinity — the Rhythm of Life.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Swan 06.06.04 at 1:30 pm

Wow, that IS a great analogy. Especially the way you describe it. I’d never heard of this analogy before.

2

Jan 06.06.04 at 11:08 pm

I love the idea of a dance analogy. I’ve been searching all week for a simple metaphor for our being invited to join in with the relationship of the Trinity. Mind if I borrow it? Particularly appropriate for my arts focus cell too. All I could think of was a long greek word which would have only confused them.

Shalom,
Jan

3

Richard 06.06.04 at 11:45 pm

The idea certainly isn’t original to me Jan, so be my guest.

4

Matt25v40 06.08.04 at 5:26 am

I love your analogy too… “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” (Mark Twain)

5

Greg 06.09.04 at 11:51 am

Thanks very much Matt25v40, that is a fabulous quote; I’ll be able to use that in sermons and apply it in my own life, particularly my playing as I get very nervous now I’ll just play like nobody’s listening! I’ll have to go and get the book now!

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