Wednesday, February 18, 2004

In Communion...

A discussion over on The Right Christians has caused me to think about what it means to be "in communion," or "in community," if you will.

Our relationship with others is informed and enhanced by our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is often defined by the images or concepts we associate with God; a God that is beyond any images or concepts of course.

I want to suggest that one of our most definitive conceptualizations of God is the Trinity; that God is three persons in one nature. Even though it is a troublesome concept, Christendom continues to hold it up as an important window into the nature of God. I think we refuse to discard it because it seems to resonate as truth on a level that does not consider rationality to be the final judge of truth.

One of the most universal characteristics to attribute to God is love. To state that "God is love" suggests that God participated in a relationship, a community, before the act of creation.

How might this community look? One way to envision it would be to see The Lover (or the Father, if you prefer) and the Beloved (the Son) bonded in relationship by a Flow of Love (the Holy Spirit), which is constantly moving between them.

We are invited to participate in this relationship through the transformational power of the Incarnation, in which the Beloved chose to dwell among us, offering this same Flow of Love to us. Heaven and Earth became joined as one.

To the degree that we stand in the place of the Beloved; that we willingly choose to participate in this constant Flow of Love, we become what we have always been intended to be; the adopted Sons and Daughters of God; the Beloved of God.

Among other things, this understanding of the Trinity allows us to see that we cannot exhaust the Flow of Love. We do not have to be stingy with it. We are not going to run out. We are not storage containers, but conduits, mediums, through which God's grace is manifested in the world.

We also see that being in community (in communion) is part of the nature of God. Consequently, even if we'd prefer not, being in community needs to be important to us.

There's a couple of signs out there that the conservatives in the Episcopal Church may be coming to the same conclusion. Even though I disagree with much that he has to say, I think that Ephraim Radner's article;
Why We Will Not Leave: A Conservative Reflection
, is worth a read. As a follow-up, you may want to take a look at

May we be conduits of God's grace.