The above is the first verse of a wonderful twentieth century hymn by Richard Leach, who was born in 1953. His poem is set to that classic English folk tune, Kingsfold. Played properly, it really does make you want to get up and join in the dance of Trinity. The hymn was not published until 2001, after the publication of Common Praise, but in time to make into Evangelical Lutheran Worship (#412).
I find the language so helpful, so lifegiving, so beautifully open, compared to the blood, toil, tears, and sweat of centuries, indeed, millennia, of verbal jousting, conflict, and murder itself, all in the name of Trinitarian argument, as if God depends somehow on us getting it exactly right.
Don’t misunderstand me; theology is important, but the history of the church includes far too much sorrow and bloody death in ‘discussion’ on the nature of the Trinity. Thank God, most of the blood has stopped flowing – among Christians, on this topic at least – but there is still too much of what I might term violent separation – all in the Name of the One who prayed that we might be one – and a feeble, fickle witness to the world, at best.
Lately, I’ve been reading a great book called Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmid MacCulloch, who teaches at Oxford University. I’m only just nicely into it; as you might guess, it’s a rather lengthy tome. But much of what I’ve read so far has to deal with enormous efforts first to try to define that which cannot finally be defined, to pin it down on a theological collector’s board, and then, second, to fight like hell (Yes, that’s what I meant to say…) with everyone who disagrees with you.
All right, do the work, fine. It needs to be done. But how about living this way?
Sisters and brothers, enjoy the dance, savour the mystery, rejoice in the divine gift of relationship.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (II Corinthians 13:13)
Thanks be to God!