“The life of the Trinity is characterized not by self-centeredness but by mutually self-giving love. When we delight and serve someone else, we enter into a dynamic orbit around him or her, we center on the interests and desires of the other. That creates a dance, particularly if there are three persons, each of whom moves around the other two. So it is, the Bible tells us. Each of the divine persons centers upon the others. None demands that the others revolve around him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic pulsating dance of joy and love.”
I don’t know about you, but I had never thought of the Trinity as a “dynamic pulsating dance of joy and love” before reading Tim Keller’s words in A Reason for God.
Even though I knew this wasn’t biblically accurate, I thought of it like a hierarchy: God the Father was at the top, God the Son was still up there but fell below the Father, and God the Spirit was significantly below the other two.
Not accurate, I know, but regardless of how much I learned about them I kept prioritizing each of them differently.
I love Keller’s words because it takes my model and wrecks it, but gives it an image that I can understand.
I don’t know if you know this about me or not… but I love to dance. When Ben and I were engaged one of our favorite things was dancing at other weddings. We would dance the NIGHT away and leave it all on the floor, to the point that one time while walking through the mall my husband was stopped and the guy said, “Hey, I know you! You’re that one guy who danced all night at the wedding.”
Who knows whether that’s a good thing or a bad one… but the point is, we like to dance.
When our marriage got hard, we took some dancing lessons together. Sometimes it was fun, other times our arguments spilled into the lessons and we debated on who was leading who and why I couldn’t learn the steps as quickly as he could. Our sin messed up our ability to serve and love each other well and the dance was awkward and messy. It was more of a hierarchy, each of us fighting for our own rights.
But when we fell into rhythm and we served and delighted in each other, the dance was beautiful.
I think that’s why I love Keller’s image of the Trinity. I’ve experienced what it looks like to delight in another imperfectly, to circle ones life around another. And even though I stumble and mess up, I love that God the Father, the Son, & Spirit never do.
And ever since I read the Trinity being explained as a dance, I’ve come to appreciate and look at each person of God equally. No longer do I look at God the Father as the person barking out orders, and Jesus the Son doing the work of salvation, and the Spirit as the whimsical being here to help and teach and guide us. Rather I see them all doing this dance of redemption, each of them playing their part in making the dance beautiful and successful.
The Trinity is tricky. And this side of glory I’m not sure how much I’ll understand, but I’m hoping this quote and post will be a blessing to you as you wade through deep theological waters and learn more about our God of hope.
Cheering you on,