Each week I have my students in Theology 1 write four statements to see the interworking of the Father, Son, Spirit, and the Church. What this does is to see that every doctrine needs to be seen in 4-D to get the depth and interactivity of the Living God with His created creatures to
really understand theology.
I find some of these synthesis statements, as I call them, to be works of great art and insight. This week’s theme was God the Creator. My student Kathy Berry created this lovely set of statements and told me I could share them with you.
1) The Father is the Master Artisan who envisions the rich diversity and complexity of His creation, permeating every element with love, purpose, and communion.
2) The Son is the Divine Paint Brush through whom the Master Artist paints His portrait of creation, capturing meaning and purpose with every stroke for each member of creation.
3) The Spirit is the Divine Paint infused with rich hues and impasto texture, adding dimension and vitality to all members of God’s creation.
4) The Church is the Apprentice through whom the Master Artist bequeaths His handiwork, skillfully and lovingly tending the Master’s vision for creation, from generation to generation.
I love the dynamic of life and collaboration that are present in this depiction. It is clearly grounded in the expansive life of God, and yet comes splashing off the page into our setting.
It is a creative action itself, which almost feels like God is at work in a playful mood, breathing beauty through His beloved children.
Imagine following this exercise for 32 weeks, playing over and over again with the same lens but seeing how refractions of the Triune life, and our life of participation, is always in collaboration.
This way of thinking is more relational than much doctrinal formulations. It is highlights that no one acts alone. All are mutually involved in their unique participation of the others. This could bring an insightful breaking up of fallow ground in the church as it comes to consider over and over again the dynamics at work.
What would happen if there were church gatherings that were committed to brainstorming these kind of statements every week? What if it was not intent on narrowing down to one proposal, but took delight in the wide variety of insights that could be born? This could move from a pulpit-centered learning to an event of community-sharing. A topic, a verse, or a phrase from a verse could be thought through in a trinitarian manner. Sharing as humans in what is discovered from God creates space for an abundance of possible, positive outcomes. This is the
life of Grace. And the question of finding practical ways to act like these things are true opens exciting visions of creative life together that spill out in the streets and fields.
Sometimes, the simplest of approaches can produce the profoundest of transforming moments as we find our place in the circus of the Spirit (Cirque de l’Esprit).