Is our journey just our own? No, especially not in the true sense of belonging and understanding what that is. Ultimately, our journey intersects and interacts with the journeys of others on a daily basis. It cannot be avoided nor should it be. Granted some of us are introverted, some are extroverted, and there are some that are a mix of something in between. For most introverts, we find our solace in withdrawing from the fray, and solving ‘everything’ not so much on our own, but where we can solidify our thoughts and ideas, and then come back to present them to those we walk with. However, God did not originally design us that way. He designed us to intimately intertwine our lives with those of others, and to let love be a bond of caring, compassionate discourse and service to those around us. Galatians 5:13,14 NLT cites, “13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
John O’Donohue states, “There can be no union without separation, no return without parting. No belonging is permanent. To live a creative and truthful life, it is vital to learn the art of being separate and the generosity of uniting (Eternal Echoes, pg. 23).” Since belonging is ever changing, we can understand why he states it is not permanent. As we transform, as we grow, we may find we no longer belong in one place or relationship, and have been moved forward to another more suited for where we are in our journey. Even our sense of belonging to the Father ever increases as transformation takes place. What we sense in one-season causes us to belong, changes and effervesces into something new and tantalizing. For me change is difficult, it is however, something that I am learning to accept as an intimate friend and ally. That being separate, change if you will, alters our sense of belonging while at the same time transforming us into something newer, richer, making life more profound, intimate, and enabling. One of the greatest aspects of belonging is found in separation from those with whom we find belonging, purpose, and intimacy. Why? Because when we are reunited, reconnected with them, there is a deeper sense of belonging from a deep, intimate longing for them; the longing is accepted and we find solace in being near those we have desired to be with.
In our journey, our belonging, we find that we become creators. Audacious – I think not. Genesis 1:26a NLT cites, “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” Then we find in Genesis 1:27 NLT, it states, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Finally, Genesis 1:28a/b NLT cites, “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” Hence, we are creators. We are made in the image of the Trinity. When we are born we receive the ability to change, transform, create. We are given certain gifts and abilities, innate only to us. We are image bearers of the Father, we belong because of the Son, and we live, change, and grow by the Spirit. We enter a dance with the Trinity that theologically is known by the Greek word perichoresis. The term perichoresis is intriguing and enlightening as to the nature of the triune God. Alister McGrath states, “The concept of perichoresis allows the individuality of the persons to be maintained, while insisting that each person shares in the life of the other two. An image often used to express this idea is that of ‘a community of being,’ in which each person, while maintaining its distinctive identity, penetrates the others and is penetrated by them (Christian Theology, pg. 241).” We belong to a community of being that gives us purpose, a sense of belonging. This community of being has been described by some as the circle dance of God – perichoresis. George Cladis in referring to the teachings of John of Damascus cites,
In the seventh century, John of Damascus, a Greek theologian, described the relationship of the persons of God (Trinity) as perichoresis. Perichoresis means literally “circle dance.” Choros in ancient Greek referred to a round dance performed at banquets and festive occasions. The verb form, choreuo, meant to dance in a round dance. (These round dances often included singing, hence the English word chorus.) The prefix peri (Greek for round about or all around) emphasized the circularity of the holy dance envisioned by John. Based on the biblical descriptions of Father, Son, and Spirit, John depicted the three persons of the Trinity in a circle. A perichoretic image of the Trinity is that of the three persons of God in constant movement in a circle that implies intimacy, equality, unity yet distinction, and love…In this circle dance of God is a sense of joy, freedom, song, intimacy, and harmony (Leading the Team Based Church, pg.4)
It points to the intimate relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All work in a cohesive, communal effort of relationship to one another and to humanity. Their nature, their work are conjoined so as to completely fulfill the economy and ontological purpose of the Trinity. Our relationship to the triune God calls us to enter into this intimate dance with them. Joining our worship to their intimate circle. This dance will permeate every fiber of our being, so intertwined and interlaced, that we will be different, transformed in essence, character, and purpose.