One of the difficult things about trinitarian theology is that it uses some funny words. Not funny haha but just weird. Some of these words however turn out to be quite important. I want to introduce you to just one today. Perichoresis meet readers, readers meet Perichoresis!
Perichoresis refers to the interpenetration of the persons of the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct yet one. They have a unity of love, purpose and outlook but are distinct. As I said yesterday, we are made in that trinitarian image.
A Latin American theologian, José Míguez Bonino, who I studied said,
What we are shown here is the nature of ultimate reality: The life of God is communion; identity is not affirmed by closing in on oneself but by opening up to the other; unity is not singularity but rather full communication. It is in that image we are created, it is in participation in that constant divine “conversation” that we find the meaning of our existence, life abundant; it is on this model we should structure our human relations. Neither the all-embracing authority of one over another, nor an undifferentiated mass uniformity, nor the self-sufficiency of the “self-made man,” but the perichoresis of love is our beginning and destiny—‘as persons, as church, as society. (Faces of Latin American Protestantism, 1997, p. 116)
God is reality. Life is not about individual self-realisation but about communion and fellowship. Human identity is self-giving and not selfish possession. This what it means to “know God”; being included in that divine conversation. The church, in its mission in the world sometimes forgets this (often forgets this). Mission isn’t God’s recruitment drive but an invitation to become part of that divine life.