Step 2 – Embrace His Role as the Leader in the Divine Dance of Love
by Fred Carpenter
In the first of this 3-part series we considered 2 things that are necessary in order to experience God’s love more fully and consistently: 1) you must be thirsty for His love (we looked at 3 types of thirst), and 2) you must believe it is possible.
Let us begin our study this week by considering a quote from CS Lewis
“For we are only creatures: our role must always be that of patient to agent, female to male, mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in a true, and not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to His demand, our conformity to His desire: to experience it in the opposite way is, as it were, a solecism against the grammar of being.”
This quote from CS Lewis goes against two extremes that are prevalent in the American culture, 1) the fear of being “out of control” (and thus the need to be in control), and 2) a satisfaction with spectating, observing, and being entertained, rather than engaging.
These 2 observations from Lewis speak to the 2nd and 3rd steps in our quest to experience God’s love more fully and consistently. This week we will think about the 2nd, understanding that God is the initiator in this magnificent pursuit.
Perichoresis – the Divine Dance
a. The word, perichoresis, comes from two Greek words – a) peri, meaning “around” (this root found in the word, “perimeter”), and b) chorein, meaning “to give way” or “to make room” (this root found in the word “choreography”.) Perichoresis could be translated as “going, or moving, around.” Theologians have used this word to describe the interaction of the Trinity as a sort of choreographed dance. All members of this triune dance move precisely and fluidly to create a meaningful work together. In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dance as one.
b. The Father, through the Son, by the power of the Spirit is inviting you to participate in this divine dance. Consider the following verses.
- John 17:21 – “they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us. . .”
- 2 Peter 1:4 – “. . . He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature,”
- John 15:4 – “Abide in Me, and I in you.”
- The invitation of Jesus to “Follow me” appears 19 times in the Gospels. In light of the previous verses, consider that this invitation may have a fuller meaning than you have previously understood. Some may see this as an invitation to follow Jesus as one might follow someone on a path. Or it might be viewed as an invitation to follow His example as a student follows a teacher. But, from verses above, consider that the invitation to “follow me” is also an invitation to trust Him, and give yourself to Him as the lead partner in a divine dance of love.
c. Be mindful of the impossibility of doing this on our own initiative and strength.
In previous devotionals, we have referred to Leonardo Boff’s description of the Trinity as an “eternal explosion of life and love from one to the other.” Boff gives us a great image of the Trinity, but like all images of God, it actually falls short of all that He truly is. If you allow your mind to contemplate the explosive energy, the intensity, the immeasurable power . . . and at the same time the intimacy, the tenderness, the sensitivity of the Trinity, you will come to the place of realizing there is no way you can participate in His divine dance unless He does it through you. This is unlike any other dance. This dance must be God-initiated, God empowered and God-led! Remember the words of Jesus, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” – John 15:5.
What you can do
So, if we want to participate in God’s divine dance of love, but we cannot do it by our own initiative or power, then what can we do? Where does this leave us? In 2 Thess. 3:5, we find a prayer from God through Paul, “May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” From my experience, I suggest that praying this prayer, and praying it often is a great place to start. When God gives us a prayer to pray, we can be sure that He intends to answer it. Pray that prayer, and get ready to dance!
Note: There are two views on this prayer. Some say that the “love of God” refers to God’s love for us. Others say that it refers to our love for God. Knowing that “we love because God first loved us,” I would say that they these two views are actually one in the same.