Being ‘Knit’ Together ‘in Christ’: Communion Reflections for the Seventh Sunday of Pentecost

Yesterday, Sunday July 15th, my family and I had the privilege to lead our church community, Crosspoint Fellowship, in the celebration of the Eucharist or Communion – something we do weekly as a community.

First, I read the Epistles text for the seventh Sunday of Pentecost – Ephesians 1:3-14 (CEB),

Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven. God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves. We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. God revealed his hidden design to us, which is according to his goodwill and the plan that he intended to accomplish through his Son10 This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth. 11 We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design.12 We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ.13 You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.

And then Christie (C.C.) read this brief reflection (in which we tried to tie together the text and Communion with the theme of knitting – since Christie knits … A LOT!),

You may not know it, but the God and Father of our liberating King Jesus is a knitter. We find in Ephesians 1 that we are adopted ‘through the son’…that we have received grace ‘through Jesus Christ’. And seven times the phrase ‘in Christ’ is used: for example we are blessed ‘in Christ’; chosen ‘in Christ’; our hope is ‘in Christ’; and we find that ultimately all things in heaven and on earth are brought, or knit, together ‘in Christ’. The table of our Lord is set with the broken body and shed blood of our Lord which sustains us. It is Christ himself who has invited us to his table. At this table, as we serve the bread and juice to one another in mutual submission, we are knit together in community. At this table we are knit into the story of our liberating King as a cruciform, cross shaped people. As we submit ourselves together to the table of our Lord, we are constituted; we are knit together, as the body of Christ for the sake of Abilene and the world.

Then Damaris read this introduction to how we practice Communion (we tried to get her to do the prayer too, but she was a bit gun shy on the speaking in public thing),

At Crosspoint we serve the Eucharist, or Communion, every week to each other by intinction. This means when it is your turn to partake of the bread and juice your neighbor will hold the plate while you take a piece of the bread and dip it in the cup. And then you, in turn, hold the plate for the next person as they partake of the bread and juice.

And Christie then finished off with this Communion Prayer:

Loving God,

through your goodness

we have this bread and fruit of the vine to offer,

which has come forth from the earth

and human hands have made.

May we know your presence

in the sharing,

so that we know your touch

and presence of all things.

We celebrate the life that Jesus has shared

among his community through the centuries,

and shares with us now.

Made one in Christ

and one with each other,

we offer these gifts and with them ourselves,

a single, living act of praise.

We pray this in the name of our liberating King Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

I can’t adequately express how excited I was to be able to lead our community in Communion along with my family in this manner. Firstly, I absolutely loved that the voice of my wife and daughter were heard. Not only am I a supporter of the full inclusion and ordaining of women in ministry as a whole, but I am most fully a supporter of one ordained woman in particular – my wife. And my hope is that as Damaris grows up she will find her own voice as well. We are blessed to be a part of a community that values the hearing and leadership of female voices as well as male voices – and most importantly I think, the hearing of male and female voices alongside each other.

But this was also something I needed, a counter liturgy to what I did all day at work on Friday. If I’m honest, I have to admit the difficulty of working in Christian retail and trying to be authentically kingdom centered and missional. This is because Christian retail represents the commodification of the kingdom and the subversion of anything missional to the liturgies of consumerism. Some of this (but not a lot) is ameliorated working in the books section. Sometimes I have a good and productive chat with people about Bible translations … sometimes. And sometimes I get to talk to someone who has good things to say about N.T. Wright (for example) … sometimes. I feel these consumer liturgies even more when I have to cashier … a liturgy which I had to repeat all day on Friday (I must confess that, as a result, I came home Friday evening in a very bad mood and feeling very defeated and displaced, wanting very much for this current season to be over with).

James K.A. Smith remarks on these sort of consumer liturgies (HT: – of Paper, Pints, and Tweed),

Marketing understands that we are liturgical animals, that we are lovers, that we are longers, that we are shaped and primed by stories that capture our imagination. But we should know that, the church should be the centre that understands and appreciates that. So, if something like this model or argument is right, it will actually become a way to account for Christian assimilation to cultural forces. It actually helps you to understand Christian assimilation to consumerism, nationalism and all kinds of egoisms, because these –isms have had all the best stories. The devil has had all the best liturgies.

The proper response to that situation is to change our practice. It’s not just knowledge, right? I mean, I do think intellectual reflection on these matters is important; that’s kind of what we’re doing tonight. But what the impetus for that intellectual reflection should do then is prompt us to immerse ourselves in practices that will form us otherwise, to reactivate and renew those liturgies and rituals and disciplines that intentionally embody the story of the gospel and enact a vision of the coming kingdom of God in such a way that they’ll seep into our bones and become part of the background of our perceptions, the very baseline for our dispositions.

Quote from Smith’s interview with Encounter, where he talks about the power of storied formation, liturgy, and marketing.

The weekly observance of the Eucharist or Communion is a vital practice that I believe has the ability to ‘form us otherwise’, ‘embody the story of the gospel’, and ‘enact a vision of the coming kingdom of God’. It is at the Lord’s Table that we are drawn into the story of Christ and the triune theo-drama of Father, Son, and Spirit. It is at the Lord’s Table that we are drawn into community with Christians from the whole sweep of Christian history (yes, even the ones we don’t like) and sustained. But Eucharist and Communion is not only about the feeling of community. It is also about being formed into a specific type of community – a cruciform, incarnational, and missional people. In fact, as the reflection above states, I believe that it is at the Table of the Lord’s broken body and spilled blood that we are constituted as Christ’s ecclesia – his cruciform, missional body for the sake of our local contexts and the world alike. Yes, I think Communion is really that important. And to be honest, in leading our community in this sort of counter liturgy is where I felt at home and at peace.

May we seek liturgies that form us otherwise as a kingdom, cruciform people of the liberating King.

Prayer for the Week:

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Imagination, Story, and Kingdom: (Late) Reflections on the Third Week of Pentecost

The Gospel Text for the Third Sunday of Pentecost, Mark 4:26-34 (TNIV)

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

I’m still playing catch up, and still a week behind on these – yet being late has turned out to be providential for me. I had followed my normal routine for the lectionary passages. I had done my readings of the passages, oriented my private reflections around them as usual for the week, looked at some Greek, read some N.T. Wright, and so forth … normal stuff for me. But when I went to write nothing flowed. However, this morning with our Crosspoint community, within ecclesia, over the communion table of our Lord’s body and blood, in conversation and community, and through the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (much thanks to the Rogers family for leading us), the fog it seems was cleared and there was clarity. (Note: it works both ways – sometimes our experience helps us sort out what we know and have studied; and sometimes what we know and have studied helps us sort out our experience. Its never one or the other, but the two existing in interrelation and interdependence.)

Parables and Priorities

Before getting to the text at hand, we need to back up a bit and talk about the use of parables by Jesus. Now, it is common when we hear a sermon on the parables for the preacher to systematize the thing by breaking it down into parts (and, most importantly, sermon points) with the seeming purpose of relating it to each of us directly and individually. Thus the common questions: does your individual heart represent the hard ground, the rocky ground, the thorns and weeds, or the good soil? But this is to almost entirely miss the point from the very beginning – to miss the context of the kingdom.

This is not to say that the parables have nothing to do with us, they certainly do – its just that we aren’t the main subject. The danger here is that if we act like we are we are liable to substitute our own kingdom for the kingdom of God. Here is a general ‘rule’ I go by when dealing with the parables: they first and foremost tell us about the nature of the kingdom of God and the identity of Jesus before they tell us anything about us. Or we could say that whatever they tell us about us, they tell us about ourselves in relation to Jesus and his kingdom. Jesus and the kingdom of God first, us second.

Parables: Revealing and Concealing

This is all a carryover from the previous scene in chapter 3 where Jesus began using parables to respond to the religious leaders. Whether one understood the parables or not, and one’s reaction to the parables indicated how much was really understood of Jesus himself and the inbreaking kingdom. In chapter 4 we find Jesus again teaching by parables, in this case, the parable of the sower (vs 3-9). This parable was a teaching on the establishment of God’s kingdom in Jesus, the great eschatological moment of renewal that had been promised. For those that had ears to understand this was a message that God was making the land fruitful again. But as this parable shows a great many don’t get what Jesus is saying, his disciples included! They question Jesus and he responds with an explanation (vs 13-20) which, ironically, apparently wasn’t understood much better. The parables both revealed and concealed. And my suggestion here is that Jesus himself is the hermeneutical key to understanding the parables.

If we refuse to center our identities around Jesus and his kingdom, the parables become stumbling blocks. We may grow tired of having to wrestle with truths we feel should just be explained ‘clearly’ (see the disciples in verse 10). Or we may feel threatened in our position or status. Or we might conclude that we aren’t getting what is due us, that Jesus isn’t bringing in the kingdom the way we want him too. People responded in all these ways and more to Jesus and his parables, indicating whether or not they were part of Jesus’ ‘true family’ (3:35). The kingdom of God is a ‘mystery’, not a puzzle to be solved. We don’t deduce the kingdom by adding up clues. The word ‘mystery’ here is the word for God revealing something previously hidden and that otherwise we would not have access too. While our heads may certainly be involved – it is equally as much (or more) a matter of our hands and hearts as well.

Developing a Kingdom Imagination

While this may sound strange coming from someone with formal theological training (of the systematic type even) I firmly believe that we cannot ‘systematize’ ourselves into the kingdom! Jesus did not bring in the kingdom along with a systematic theology. Instead, he drew from the familiar and organic images the people knew and he told stories, lots of stories. The kingdom of God contains a surplus that can never be contained in an instruction manual. Attempts to make Scripture either an instruction manual or systematic theology demonstrate a lack of understanding of what the kingdom is and the manner in which God forms a kingdom people. We are by necessity storied into the kingdom and storied into a kingdom people by the conversion of our imaginations.

This is what following the church calendar is about – through doing so we narrate ourselves into the life and story of Christ. This is what our weekly liturgy is about – storying ourselves into the kingdom by the shaping of our imaginations. One of the ways that we do this is through taking Communion as a community each week. Through the Eucharist we narrate the gospel, the story of Christ becomes our own defining narrative, and we are formed into a cruciform, kingdom shaped people (as I have said before, I don’t know how churches get by without taking Communion weekly).

In addition, there are at least three other ways that come to mind for me with which we could shape ourselves as a kingdom people. The first is the regular corporate recitation of the Apostles or Nicene Creed, not merely as an ‘indoctrination’ into a supposedly dry, stale Trinitarian dogma, but as a way to convert our imaginations to the activity and story of Father, Son, and Spirit in the world in which we are brought to participation. The second, is the regular practice of corporate lament for those places in our lives, community, and the world where the kingdom is not manifest. I am convinced we cannot call ourselves a kingdom shaped people unless we lament and grieve well … together.

Now I expect some possible pushback on the first one, even from those that may have (re)discovered an appreciation for the church calendar and liturgy. Some may even think I’m nuts for bringing it up. And I expect that the practice of lamenting and grieving together will be too intimate for many (for us it was something we were thrust into and couldn’t avoid). The third thing I have in mind though is the corporate reading/recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13). Now, this prayer could just as appropriately be called the ‘Disciples Prayer’ but the designation that really captures my own imagination is the Lord’s Prayer as the ‘Cry of the Kingdom.’ Everything we need for the formation of a kingdom shaped people is in the ‘Cry of the Kingdom.’ I was blessed by our saying of the prayer this week and I believe we would be served well to say this prayer communally on a weekly basis. (I have other ideas but we’ll leave it at these three for now.)

You might say that the formation of a kingdom and Jesus shaped people takes (communal) practice – the sharing of the Table, the reading of the biblical story, shared lament, and the recitation of the prayer (and even the Creed) – by this we narrate the Story in multiple ways. And we do these things weekly, we do them and then we do them again. We do this because, as my grandfather told me, in repetition there is learning. But developing a kingdom imagination is not just about the head. We find also that in repetition there is living – a kingdom imagination involves the hands as well, the formation of kingdom practices. Finally, we find that in repetition there is loving/longing – and imagination of the heart as well, the desiring of the kingdom. At the intersection of the formation of our head, hands, and heart is a kingdom shaped imagination.

Go Small, Go Slow, and Go Home

It seems clear to me that the majority of Evangelicalism as a conglomeration is captured by a malformed ‘go big or go home’ imagination (browsing the shelves at any Christian retail store will confirm this). I expressed my frustration with this way of thinking, doing, and loving in my last post.  So, what shall we say as we try to imagine the kingdom through the lenses of the parable of the growing seed and the parable of the mustard seed (as well as the parable of the sower)? The first thing that jumps out is that all these parables involve the planting of something small, a seed. Second, we find that the images used here are all from the normal, everyday, local experience of the listeners. Third, we find that the image of a seed is both organic and slow.

Allow me to suggest that rather than the ‘go big or go home’ imagination, we are better served for the kingdom of God with a ‘go small, go slow, and go home’ imagination. Go small because the little things of the kingdom are what subverts the injustice of world systems. Go slow because the kingdom is more like a fruitful harvest that grows over time rather than have it your way fast food. Go home (or local) because the locally incarnated kingdom of God redeems the comings and goings of our mundane, ordinary, and everyday localities. There seem to be many who have a disdain for mundane, but if the kingdom is not manifest locally in the mundane it is not manifest at all. This is what the presence of a Jesus shaped people with a kingdom imagination (ie, ecclesia) is all about.

May we be such a people.

May our imaginations be captured by our liberating King Jesus this week!

Prayer for the Third Sunday of Pentecost

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Remembering to Breathe: (Late) Reflections on Trinity Sunday (2012)

The Gospel Text for Trinity Sunday, John 3:1-21 (CEB)

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”

10 “Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? 11 I assure you that we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you don’t receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son.

19 “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. 20 All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. 21 Whoever does the truth comes to the light so that it can be seen that their actions were done in God.”

Catching Up

I have made it my goal to present weekly reflections on the lectionary readings. That being said, I missed last week’s reflections, which would have been on Trinity Sunday. So, today I am going to play a little catch up. The formal study of Trinitarian theology makes up one of my three main theological emphases – the other two being ‘narrative’ and ‘mission’ (see the tag line at the top of the screen). Get me started on any of these, or especially how they interpenetrate each other and its hard for me to stop. This is one of the reasons why I resonate with the conversational approach to church that Crosspoint offers. It fits my approach to theology and life in general. There is always ‘more’ to the triune nature and life of God, and always more to the story and faithfulness of Jesus, our liberating King. This aspect of ‘more-ness’ to God and the Kingdom is often times ineffable but at the same time inexhaustible – we may not be sure what to say sometimes, but say something we must, and what we do say will often seem … well, small. When it comes to the triune nature and life of God or the story and mission of Jesus, there is always more … more to be said, more to explored, more to be lived into. The passage quoted above, the story if Jesus and Nicodemus, offers an entry into this ‘more-ness’ of the triune God and the Kingdom.

Breath and Spirit and New Creation

I have come to look forward to Trinity Sunday each year. At first glance it may appear to be out of place. From Advent (when we prepare for the birth of Jesus) to Lent (when we prepare for the death and resurrection of Jesus) to Ascension Sunday (when we celebrate the reign and kingship of Jesus) to Pentecost Sunday (when we celebrate the sending of the Spirit after Jesus) the church calendar is dominated by the story of Jesus. And then we get to Trinity Sunday, the only Sunday that is set apart for a theological doctrine – or so it seems. I say ‘or so it seems’ because if we just think of Trinity as a doctrine, we miss the point and we risk missing out God’s very life. Trinity is not just about saying or thinking or affirming the right things about God. It’s not simply about having all our theological ducks in a row. Trinity, like incarnation, isn’t simply a box to be marked off on a systematic theology checklist. To name God as Trinity is to describe the reality wherein 1) we are brought to participate in the story and mission of Father, Son, and Spirit in the world and 2) we are brought to participate in the very life of Father, Son, and Spirit – life, life, and more life.

Perichoresis is a word that that theologians have used for centuries to describe the interpenetrating communion between Father, Son, and Spirit. Taking a cue from the word itself, peri – ‘around’ and choresis – from which we get our word ‘choreography’ (though some theologians disagree with etymologizing the word in this manner), many have used the metaphor of a dance in reference to speaking of the triune life – the dance of Father, Son, and Spirit in eternal communion with each other, a dance that we are brought into as participants. As classic as this metaphor is, I want to tie in with the John 3 reading for last Sunday with another metaphor … the metaphor of breathe. In this passage we find the typical Johannine themes of light vs day, night vs day, life vs perishing, and so forth. Even while making no presumptions on the motives of Nicodemus coming at night as he did, it is striking that he, a religious leader, goes away without understanding (night, darkness) but the Samaritan woman in the following chapter does understand (day, light). The occasion for the non-understanding of Nicodemus is his request to know how to get in on what Jesus is doing, to which Jesus responds by saying one must be born again.

Here that we need to remind ourselves that the new birth Jesus speaks of isn’t an individualist, ‘happy things happening in your heart’ kind of spirituality. Though I’m not particularly opposed too and like happy things to happen in my heart, it is a misstep to reduce the new birth Jesus speaks of in this manner.  It’s not simply a ‘me and Jesus’ thing. The new birth is a kingdom of God oriented reality, not a kingdom of me oriented reality. The new birth Jesus speaks of relates to the new creation reality of his kingdom. Entry into the new creation kingdom, getting in on what Jesus is doing, requires new birth by the Spirit. And here is where ‘breath’ comes in. After Nicodemas asks Jesus to explain the first time, Jesus responds in vs 5-8 by combining the images of birth and Spirit or wind. Four times the verb for ‘to be born’ is used and ten times reference in some fashion is made to pneuma­ – which just happens to be the same Greek word for wind, spirit, or breath. Could this be another Johannine allusion to the Genesis creation stories where not only did the Spirit hover over the waters and order the chaos ‘in the beginning’ but the very breath of God was breathed into the first man and woman? So here we have breath and Spirit and entry into new creation. This entry into the new creation Kingdom of Jesus, getting in on what Jesus has inaugurated, requires birth by the new creation breath (Spirit) of the triune God. This is what Pentecost is all about.

Breath and (Triune) Communion and (Triune) Mission

All of this falls within the incarnational modus operandi of the triune God. The incarnation, that is – the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and reign of Christ, flows from the perichoretic love and life of Father, Son, and Spirit – this is what we might call the breathing out of the triune God revealed to us in the liberating King, Jesus. And it is this same incarnational reality through the sending of the Spirit of the incarnated One to dwell within us that takes us up into the love and life of Father, Son, and Spirit – this is what we might call the breathing in of the triune God. Thus our participation in the incarnational mission of Jesus, the narrating of ourselves into the story of Christ, is a wholly perichoretic reality. We are breathed into the divine life of the triune God by the Spirit and we are breathed out in mission by that same Spirit as participants in the triune life and the story of Christ. (As a not at all unrelated aside on this note, here I would like to point out that we are very much the poorer for ignoring Eastern Orthodox theologies, particularly theosis, which concerns our participation in the triune life of God.)

Those of us wanting to get past the schizophrenic splitting of the sacred and the secular and who claim to want to speak of church, ministry, mission, and life in general in more ‘organic’ ways ought to latch onto the metaphor of breath and breathing. There is perhaps nothing that has the everydayness, ordinariness, and organic quality to it than breathing. Most of us do it without thinking. And perhaps when we do have to think about it, is when we realize it is the most important. Nothing is more connected to our life than breathe and breathing. Wherever we go we have to breathe, we ourselves breathing in the Spirit and being breathed by the Spirit. We ourselves breathing out in incarnational mission and being breathed out in incarnational mission. There can be no participation in the life of God without also participating in the mission of the triune God in one’s own locality.

Is it possible to breathe in without also then breathing out?

Does God forget to exhale?

Do we make ourselves blue in the face by desiring all of God’s life, but none of God’s mission?

Or perhaps we go the opposite way, gasping for air by sending ourselves on God’s ‘mission’ without any of God’s life.

It’s all an organic whole – the life and mission of the triune God go together – the breathing of God. We, the people of the liberating King, are called to match the rhythm of our own breathe with God’s breath.

Breathing in … perichoretic, triune life.

Breathing out … perichoretic, triune mission.

Breath, Repetition, and Remembering to Breathe

How many times have you heard someone complain about having to do the same mundane thing over and over again? How many times have you complained of this yourself? But how many times have you ever heard someone complain about breathing? So basic to living, breathing is, proof that there is at least one thing we don’t get bored of doing. And proof that at least some things are worth repeating. My granddaddy used to tell me that ‘in repetition there is learning’. There is wisdom in this I think. By learning to breathe well, we are made more and more into new creation people. Like a runner, when her legs are burning, the learned rhythm of breathing cultivated through repeated steps, one after another, enables us to persevere through the ‘in betweens’ of this life caught between the inauguration of the Kingdom and its final consummation. In repetition (in breathing) there is learning … this is true. But this is not all that is true.

It is also true that in repetition (in breathing) there is loving. We can imagine the kind of intimacy and oneness shared between a husband and wife as the rhythm of their breath matches the other. In this kind of repetition we become a part of another … we are brought into participation in communion with another. This is perichoresis … the rhythm of our breath matching the rhythm of the breath of love of Father, Son, and Spirit. But, again, this is not all that is true.

It is also true that in repetition (in breathing) there is living. Without the repetition of breathing we die. Surely this goes without saying. And this is why, when we gather together, we repeat the practice of Communion (serving one another the bread and the fruit of the vine) with each other. This is an act of mutual breath, of mutual life, of being filled with the breath and life of Christ himself. (I can’t imagine how churches only do Communion anything less than weekly!) This is also why we continue to create places to dwell within like Monks Coffee shop, places in which we can fill up our lungs with life and breath. This again is perichoresis … living within the reality named by the life and mission of the triune God.

Let us be a new birth, new creation people … let us remember to breathe!

Prayer for Trinity Sunday (Book of Common Prayer)

“Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”