Why I Find it Beneficial to Think of the Trinity as “Perichoresis”

by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar

So, please first forgive me for my obvious transgression: I should NOT try to define the Trinity in any way. To undertake such a feat is to tempt orthodoxy and could land me in heresy jail.

Second, excuse my use of the obscure term. The word is a combination of two Greek words: peri, which means ‘around,’ and chorein (verb form) which means ‘making space’. In its literal sense, it roughly means the way in which someone (or something) makes space around itself for someone or something else. It’s been used in theological discussion to describe the relationship of the Trinity. It attempts to describe the quality of God’s interrelatedness (Creator, Christ, Spirit) and how there is equality and unanimity. It also attempts to describe God’s indwelling around us, in us, and we in God. (cf. John 14) It can mean God moving through us while still retaining our individual identities.

A beautiful metaphor is that this is a ‘dance,’ a swirling of God with us. (Chorein closely resembles the word choreuo which – as you can see – is related to choreography and dance.) I often think of the scene in the movie, Addams Family Values, and remember the tango scene between Gomez and Morticia — the stunning movements of two humans moving as one beautiful creature.

So, the metaphor for the Trinity that for me best describes their relationship (with each other and their connection with us) is a dance. There is music, an intimacy, a synergy — the absence of any one of them would be the end of it all. The Trinity, I imagine, is far from a static entity, but is in constant, beautiful motion, like two dancers whose relationship dictates their well-choreographed movement. There is no hierarchical relationship — God the Creator at the top, Jesus the Christ in the middle, and the Holy Spirit being neglected at the bottom — between dancers and music: they are one and the same.

And so we are united in this sacred, beautiful dance. With a mutual indwelling — God with us, us with Jesus, the Spirit with Christ, God in all — we are all subsumed into the dance with God because God has made space for us to join in!

If our first approach in a relationship with God could be that we are engaged in a dance with the Trinity, I believe many of the worries we have around fear of God and shame might lighten up for us. The dance removes any false barriers that separate us from God, and makes us one, finding joy in the rhythm of creation, and peace in our closeness to the Creator.

Let’s teach our children how to dance and keep our dancing shoes on.

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Here’s the worship bulletin for Sunday, May 30.
Either print the bulletin at home and bring it to church with you Sunday morning, or bring your smart device to the service so you can pull up the bulletin.

Thanks for helping us reduce use of paper and toner.

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Adult Forum Begins Summer Break — See You in Fall!

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In-Person Worship Schedule:
Now that California is opening up a bit more and church members, clergy, staff are able to be on campus and in the Church Office, we’re making some welcome changes to our worship schedule.
• Morning Prayer on ZOOM is no longer held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
• Evening Prayer or Compline ZOOM services continue to be held Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Link available in my Saturday e-blast.
• Sunday morning worship will be held in-person at church and on ZOOM at 9 a.m. Link available in my Saturday e-blast.

If you’re not receiving my e-blast, please email me.

In addition, our clergy will no longer hold ZOOM office hours. You are welcome to schedule a time to come to the church office and meet face-to-face!
Contact Rev. Christopher or 949.888.4568, or Rev. Karen or 949.888.4595, x239.
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Q: Where do I find out what’s happening at church?

Throughout COVID the announcements of upcoming events and classes have been at the back end of the Sunday worship bulletin. Many of you didn’t know the info was there and we’ve heard your comments! You can now find all the details on all upcoming events in our weekly e-blast. Click away!

We’ll see you at St. John’s!