One of my favorite theological topics to discuss is that of the Trinity. If you read this post I wrote a few months back, you’d have a hint as to why that may be. Mysterious and confusing, the doctrine of the Trinity has tripped up our world’s leading theologians, scholars and fathers/mothers of the faith for centuries. It goes without saying, then, that theologians have long debated the doctrine of the Trinity. And who can blame them? It’s monumentally difficult to even begin to comprehend. In 325AD, the Nicene Creed was birthed out of the great Arian Controversy–forever establishing a trinitarian view of God for the orthodox christian church.
If you didn’t catch it yesterday, our very own Brittany shared the idea of the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as a divine dance of persons. A beautiful picture of the Godhead, an eternal metaphor dripping in the mutuality in love, the divine dance is a concept that challenges us to see our God, at His core, in divine community with Himself empowered by adorning love. The trinity, in simplest terms, is our example for how we were created to love and covenant with God and with each other. Because we cannot love without someone to love, I find this concept of God loving His creation through the love brought about by his very character–his three persons in one–mind blowing.
Building off of Brittany’s post, I want to bring us to John 1:1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John’s gospel, and this specific passage, is often referenced for it’s trinitarian nature. In this verse, commentators focus on John’s way of writing about God and Jesus (the Word). Here, John is explicitly stating to his readers that the Word is God and with God (weird–what does that mean?) and that both were in the beginning.
In the original Greek text, John uses the word “pros”, translated in English as seen here as “with”. Pros in Koine (ancient) Greek is a preposition. It means to, toward, facing. To be “pros” to someone would mean to be turned toward them, facing them. Translating this passage with this concept in mind, we have the following:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was face to face with God, and the Word was God.”
A good friend recently told me a story about her professor. As an object lesson for this particular passage, the professor called two female students to the front of the room, telling them to stand by each other. The students came to the front of the room and stood shoulder to shoulder facing the class. Intrigued, the professor asked, “Why did you not face each other?” to which the girls stated, “Oh! Because that’s so intimate!”
To stand face to face with someone is a vulnerable and intimate endeavor. To dance with someone requires it.
In John 1:1, Christ is face to face with God. They are not simply shoulder to shoulder, facing the evils of this world as war buddies. Jesus and the Father are nose to nose and eye to eye from the very beginning, they are facing each other. As my friend’s professor stated, “Jesus has been facing God for all eternity.” Despite all that happens within their creation, Father, Son and Holy Spirit face one another through an eternal love. For them, nothing else matters because through their intrinsic love of all loves, all things are possible.
To face others is vulnerable because looking someone in the eye and asking for an apology, saying “I love you”, or sharing horrific news is soul-searchingly and simutaneoulsy raw and heavy and oh so good.
What would it mean in all of our lives to face Father, Son and Holy Spirit completely as they face each other in a divine dance of mutual love and adoration?
What would it look like to begin to seek out others face to face? What reconciliation, learning and love could be possible if we only began to love one another by first taking the time to “see” one another and stand face to face in dialogue?
May you have peace in knowing our wonderfully magnificent Godhead is facing you, too.