Tuesday, March 27, 2007

to know the love of Christ, a Trinitarian love

This morning as I was listening to John Michael Talbot's song, "The Mirror of Eternity" (adapted from Clare of Assisi), I was struck with the lyrics that seem to tie "into the image of the Trinity, transform your soul in the image of the Lord" with "that you may know what his friends know, taste the hidden manna of God" with lines also about following the way of Jesus and he making us a fisher of souls.

Paul's prayer was for Christians to know this love of Christ which is beyond human knowledge, that we would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. And what kind of love is that except a Trinitarian love?

Jesus prayed that the love he experienced with the Father would be part of all believers' experience. This is a self-emptying love of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Father, by/in the Spirit. Or one could say, from the Father to the Son to the Spirit to the Son to the Father in a never ending interconnectedness. It is a communion of interactive, interpenetrating love, the Father in the Son in the Spirit. And this communion God wants to share with humans!

This love than, is relational, obviously. And it is inclusive, as we see from God's call in Scripture and Jesus's ministry. It is engaging, in quiet as well as in not so quiet ways. It moves us in love to act. And it makes us unhappy with the kind of "love" and brokenness in relationships we see in this life, even among us Christians. If we're in Christ we begin to experience this Trinitarian love now. And we're called to carry that love in Christ's redemptive mission by the Spirit to all others, so they too can join in this fellowship of love.

There is so much more in this. What do you see that can help us understand better and more enter into this Trinitarian love that is ours in Christ?

(Terminology and concepts I have drawn from others, and couldn't find a source in time, this morning. How I have written this out may not be in harmony with any one of them, though I tried to be since what I gather of this teaching of Trinitarian love, I believe to be true according to Scripture.)


Joe said...

I find that acts of service help me to experience this kind of love. When I, in obedience to the Father serve in the name of Christ with His love working in and through me and through the power of the Spirit, I am drawing nearer to God's heart and drawing others to Him as well.

Ted Gossard said...

Joe, This is at the heart of what we're called to be in Jesus. As he served taking the lowliest place of all on the cross for the love of the world and of the Father, so we are to follow and do the same.

There's always the danger of doing right and even good things, yet not doing it in love (as we see in the letter of Christ to the church in Ephesus in Revelation and from Paul's poem of 1 Corinthians 13.)

But I would agree that often we can find the love of God as we seek humbly to serve others in love.


L.L. Barkat said...

I suppose it could be interesting to consider the unique aspects of each "part" of God and then try to mirror those aspects in our earthly relationships. (The father, for instance, being generous to give his Son, the Son being willing to be given, the Spirit standing by to comfort and maybe even empower. How would this translate to a marriage, a friendship, a church? And could we play different "parts" at different times?)

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Good questions. Creation is certainly related to the revelation God gives us of himself as Father, Son and Spirit. It really is about life, and even hitting home for life here and now. While at the same time there is great mystery in the Trinity and this Trinitarian love. But that certainly mirrors the mystery that is present even in our human relationships.

I do think these aspects of God as One in Three, also hit home in ways we can readily understand and relate to in any self-giving love we give and receive. In certainly practical ways like taking time to listen to a family member or friend. Doing something special for another, even if it's just washing the dishes.

You ask good questions here for us to think about. Alot to learn and experience here. Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

I should have said Three in One...

L.L. Barkat said...

Well, actually, maybe He is also One in Three. :)

Ted Gossard said...

Yes, God is One in Three, I'd say (ha), in the sense of the Father, Son and Spirit being each, One. Where one is the other two are ever present; you cannot separate them. And yet Three in One.