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Trinity as Greek Circle Dance

I treasure memories of my Greek-American upbringing and our extended family gatherings. No get-together was complete without food and dance….

For a young child, the dance was inviting and daunting…. How to master the steps? The moves? The sway and bob? Jumping in looked risky—as if one false move would sink a group of flowing Greeks into a pile on the floor.

But jump I did! ...into linked arms clasped strong to the shoulder I rose with the billowing tide, this way then that…. I wasn't to master the steps before the dance; I was to jump in and let the dance carry, show, instruct, and ride me on the music to deep delight.

I understand better now the ancient wisdom of John of Damascus, a bearded desert seer of the eighth century who contemplated the nature of the divine three: Father, Son, and Spirit. What image, he wondered, would portal into the mystery of Trinity—what picture could unveil in small part what is too grand to grasp in its fullness?

Ahhh! The sage must have donned a grin from ear to ear—the dance! Yes! The dance of God! Perichoresis he called it in the Greek of his day: the circle dance—eternal movement, never still, shifting and swaying, emptying and receiving, delivering and accepting … an endless frolic of love and gift, a community of one, yet three.

- George Cladis, "The Dance of God," Christianity Today, July 7, 2011