Exploring the Trinity through art, literature, dance and

Exploring the Trinity
in art, literature,
dance and music
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise
to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Economic Trinity: the eternal triunity of God
within himself
Immanent Trinity: the triunity of God in
salvation history and divine revelation
Homoousios: Greek for “of one substance” or
“of one essence.” Used to describe the
relationship between God the Father and God
the Son as a response to Arianism
(subordinationism) by the first ecumenical
council at Niceae in 325 AD.
Hypostastic union: the perfect unity of two
distinct but never separate natures (divine
and human) in one entity (hypostasis), that
is, the eternally divine person of Jesus Christ
Perichorisis: the mutual inter-penetration
and indwelling within the threefold nature of
the Trinity
Kenosis: The Son of God’s voluntary act of
self-emptying, self-limiting, and selfrestricting his conscious awareness and use
of divine attributes in becoming human as
Jesus is “under” God, secondary to God
God is three only
in how he acts in the world
God is three separate beings
or a divine family with hierarchical structure
Social analogy: Compares the Trinity with
group of humans working in community for
common goal
Psychological analogy: Uses example of how
an individual has different roles, but one
constant personality
Trinity in art
What do you see?
What essential
truth(s) about
God do you think
the creator of
this piece is
trying to
How is the Trinity
or the relationship
among the three
members of the
Trinity depicted?
shortcomings or
limitations do you
see in this
portrayal of the
triune God?
What new
thoughts or
about God do you
have after
considering this
piece of work?
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
“By nature I am completely unlimited, without
bounds. I have always known fullness. I live in a
state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of
existence…Just one of the perks of being Me.”
“When we three spoke ourself into human
existence as the Son of God, we became fully
human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations
that this entailed. Even though we have always been
present in this created universe, we now became
flesh and blood…. Although by nature he is fully
God, Jesus is fully human and lives as such….
Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn
upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only
lived out of his relationship with me, living in the
very same manner that I desire to be in relationship
with every human being. He is just the first to do it
to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life
within him, the first to believe in my love and my
goodness without regard for appearances of
consequence…. [When he healed people], he did so
as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my
life and power to be at work within him and through
him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within
himself to heal anyone…. Only as he rested in his
relationship with me, and in our communion—our
co-union—could he express my heart and will into
any given circumstance.” p. 99-100
“But what difference does it make that there are
three of you and you are all one God?...” [Mackenzie
“…It makes all the difference in the world!...We
are not three gods, and we are not talking about one
god with three attitudes, like a man who is a
husband, father and worker. I am one God and I am
three persons, and each of the three is fully and
entirely the one…. If I were simply One God and only
One Person, then you would find yourself in this
creation without something wonderful, without
something essential even. And I would be utterly
other than I am.”
“And we would be without…? Mack didn’t even
know how to finish the question.
“Love and relationship. All love and relationship
is possible for you because it already exists within
Me, within God myself. Love is not the limitation;
love is the flying. I am love.” (p. 101)
“So then, where does that leave us?” [Mack] felt
like he was asking the question for the entire human
“Right where you were always intended to be. In
the very center of our love and purpose.” (p. 111)
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
“I love the way you treat each other. It’s certainly
not how I expected God to be…you respond with
such graciousness to each other. Isn’t one of you
more the boss than the other two?...I mean I have
always thought of the Father as sort of being the
boss and Jesus as the one following orders, you
know, being obedient. I’m not sure how the Holy
Spirit fits in exactly…kind of a…free Spirit, but still
under the direction of the Father.”...
“Mackenzie, we have no concept of final
authority among us, only unity. We are in a circle of
relationship, not a chair of command or “great chain
of being’ as your ancestors termed it. What you’re
seeing here is a relationship without any overlay of
power. We don’t need power over the other because
we are always looking out for the best. Hierarchy
would make no sense among us.”…
“…You humans are so lost and damaged that to
you it is almost incomprehensible that relationship
could exists apart from hierarchy. So you think that
God must relate inside a hierarchy like you do. But
we do not.”
“… we want to share with you the love and
freedom and light that we already know within
ourself. We created you, the human to be in face-toface relationship with us, to join our circle of love.”
(pp. 121-124)
Lord of the Dance at the Journey:
The immanent and economic Trinity
ELW 412:
Come, Join The Dance of Trinity
lyrics by Richard Leach
Come, join the dance of Trinity, before all
worlds begun-the interweaving of the Three, the Father,
Spirit, Son.
The universe of space and time did not arise
by chance,
but as the Three, in love and hope, made
room within their dance.
Come, see the face of Trinity, newborn in
then bloodied by a crown of thorns outside
The dance of Trinity is meant for human flesh
and bone;
when fear confines the dance in death, God
rolls away the stone.
Come, speak aloud of Trinity, as wind and
tongues of flame
set the people free at Pentecost to tell the
Savior's name.
We know the yoke of sin and death, our
necks have worn it smooth;
go tell the world of weight and woe that we
are free to move!
Within the dance of Trinity, before all
worlds begun,
we sing the praises of the Three, the
Father, Spirit, Son.
Let voices rise and interweave, by love and
hope set free,
to shape in song this joy, this life: the
dance of Trinity.
ELW 684: Creating God, your fingers trace
Words: Jeffery Rowthorn
Creating God, your fingers trace
the bold designs of farthest space;
let sun and moon and stars and light
and what lies hidden praise your might.
Sustaining God, your hands uphold
earth's mysteries known or yet untold;
let water's fragile blend with air,
enabling life, proclaim your care.
Redeeming God, your arms embrace
all now despised for creed or race;
let peace, descending like a dove,
make known on earth your healing love.
Indwelling God, your gospel claims
one family with a billion names;
let every life be touched by grace
until we praise you face to face.
ELW 735:
Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth
Text: Jean Janzen
Mothering God,
you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are my rain, my wind, my sun.
Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.
Mothering Spirit,
nurturing one,
in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flower, until I know.

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