Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Perichoresis

"Perichoresis: the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit...
The relationship of the Triune God is intensified by the relationship of perichoresis. This indwelling expresses and realizes fellowship between the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. Jesus compares the oneness of this indwelling to the oneness of the fellowship of his church from this indwelling. "That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21)." ~ Wikipedia
(Perichoresis.org for more info)


A very fine sounding word, and if you flash it around you'll sound highly knowledgeable and people will give you instant credibility, although there is the possibility they will think you are talking about a tropical disease.

But I love this concept. We all give it verbal acknowledgement to some degree, but the full implications seem to completely elude most of us. I'm starting to get my head around it, but I think I'm just flitting around the edges. I mean, "the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity" is a bit beyond the edge of where our nice safe doctrines usually take us. Sounds a bit like sex to me! That's full intimate hot sex between besotted lovers. And not only that, its a foursome!  


Have I just gone too far? Over-stepped the bounds of decency and morality?
Ok, we are made in God's image, so many things about love and intimacy that we understand are definitely God given and mirror part of His image, His character (and remember, God is Love!). We fall in love with someone, become more and more familiar and open to each other, the level of intimacy increases until it is consummated in sex. This must be a shadow of God's love, and, what's more, a dim shadow at that! Very scary!


This opens up a whole can of worms that would take more than this blog to cover. But I keep getting more and more overwhelmed with the revelation that I am loved so much that God wants to be that intimate - He wants our mutual inter-penetration. And not only that, He is already integrally a part of us, all of us, and He's inviting us to be as intimate as the Godhead is. Yes, this is starting to sound pretty cosmic and whacky but as usual, its been something I just can't shake! There really is something to it, and I'm starting to experience it, and I think we have all experienced a degree of it at some time, but the fear of loosing ourselves on that level is real, and we certainly aren't encouraged to pursue beyond a safe church experience.

Now I'm not much for the whole "drunk in the spirit" thing. I understand it, and don't knock the validity of the experience (although I have seen a lot of "faking"), but most of the time its just inappropriate self indulgence, in my opinion anyway. However, the sense of being in love to the degree that perichoresis allows goes way beyond being "drunk", as far as the "shadow", that our earthly experience is, indicates.

And here's another thing that really amazes me. God holds everything together - there is nowhere He isn't, therefore He is in everything - there is no part of us where He isn't, therefore He is intrinsically a part of us or we wouldn't exist, therefore perichoresisis isn't some weird new doctrine. All we have to do is accept it and allow God to gently take us into the awareness of our unity, to help us open our minds to His intimacy. He already knows us completely, but He wants us to enjoy His knowledge of us and our knowledge of him, that we would mutually understand, embrace each other, talk and listen to each other and allow that intimacy its full course, whatever that may look like!