Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent with Abi -- Love as Perichoretic cHesed

Today I finished the 33rd and final lecture in Baxter Kruger's The Big Picture series.  Took me about five weeks. Wow ... thanks so much, Baxter, for sharing your passion! Now I need to go back and re-read all of his books -- I have a much better perspective for them now.

It has been through Baxter's goal to make perichoresis a household word that I found the perfect pairing for making cHesed a household word:  make them a household phrase!  :^)  I have already blogged about that some.  Please see this post.

But for today, as we begin the second week of Advent, it is time to talk of Love.  But the full, deep love that is perichoretic cHesed.  The eternal love that Father, Son and Spirit -- the blessed Trinity -- dwell in together.  Love that is other centered and self-giving ... the eternal reality out of which came Creation, and it's crowning glory, Humanity.

As Baxter has hammered into my brain over the past year, to say the name of Jesus is to say that the Trinity and Humanity now dwell together. Forever.  Begun before creation, incubated in the Old Covenant, brought forth from the virgin Mary, hammered out as the babe grew into a man, shown to those who had eyes to see in the years of open ministry, Jesus was fully God and fully Human.  The only fully human person ever to live. And in his willing death at the bitter hands of his fellow humans, Jesus entered fully into human darkness -- felt all the pain and agony and loneliness and blindness -- and took creation down with him in death.  He did this so that the Father could raise us up with Jesus from the dead and so that Jesus could take us home to our Father's side with the Deed of  Adoption signed in his own blood.  Done deal.

This is the Gospel.  The Good News.  The news that too many have not yet seen in their blindness or heard above the deafening cacophony of their own ideas about who God is and who they are and who others think they are supposed to be ... and how are they going to find a way to make it through another dark and lonely day all on their own....

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It is all good and well to talk about the love of the Trinity being other centered and self giving.  But I believe that there is a richer concept that comes to us from the Hebrew language -- just as the beautiful word perichoresis comes to us from the Greek language.  If you know anything about me, you know that this concept is hidden in the gem of cHesed ... merciful loving-kindness.

You could read quite a long time on my blog if you looked up all the posts on cHesed...which would not be a bad use of time.  I have mentioned before that there are many things I've written about over the past seven years that I would need to tweak considerably.  And cHesed needs a bit of that as well.

I have begun this tweaking with this labeled and colored version of the ancient Celtic Trinity Knot.

Just as we see the interpenetrating, looping reality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you will see the ring of gold that encircles them.  I have labeled this ring with the three descriptors of cHesed:  love, grace and mercy.  But underneath these three are three others: submit, serve and lead.

To say that Father, Son and Spirit live in an unbroken dance of love -- so much so that the foundational description of God is love -- is saying much more than the western mind has generally had the tools to grasp. This has led me on a twenty year quest to, as it were, redeem the word "love" from the too-often shallow usage to which western civilization has adhered.

Trinitarian cHesed is a Love of deliberate affection that submits its wants to the needs of the beloved ... it is a Grace of unmerited favor that serves the best interest of the beloved without thought of repayment ... it is a Mercy of kindness mutually owed that initiates and leads the beloved in ways that move toward the accomplishment of their mutual goal.  In this circle there is no competition or hierarchy or envy. Their's is a unity of such togetherness that the only way to describe it is to say that these Three are One!

It is descriptive enough to show us what it actually means to say that God IS Love.  That the Trinity have lived in this amazing relationship from all Eternity ... and that They have desired to share this love in and through their creation -- and especially in Humanity.

Their desire to share their love with Humanity was so strong that the Father's Eternal Son decided that, for the remainder of Eternity, he would live as the Human Man named Jesus ... Emmanuel -- God with us!  And in this form, Jesus entered into a New Covenant with God as the representative of Humanity ... resulting in our Adoption -- joint heirs of God with Jesus.

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While I am yet a long way from distilling this down, what I hope to leave you with this week is the assurance that this cHesed -- the merciful loving-kindness of Father, Son and Spirit -- is the gift that God has been showing Humanity from the very start.  And that this gift has been permanently given to Humanity in the New Covenant in Jesus.  You and me -- we all are already completely loved and adopted by Father, where we may dwell with him and Jesus in the fellowship of the Spirit.

May you have eyes to see this love all around you in the beauty of Creation -- in the heavens and on the earth and in your adopted brothers and sisters all around you.

May you have ears to hear this Good News of love and adoption in Jesus ... all ready finished and just waiting for you to recognize.

May you rest -- truly rest and relax -- in this knowledge of God's love made flesh in Jesus. This is the only healing balm for your soul sickness.  Nothing else matters if you are blind and deaf to the Love Song of the Trinity.

Be blessed, adelphoi -- brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.  I am grateful to have your fellowship on the journey in the Kingdom.



Linda said...

Beautifully expressed Peggy!
Thank you.

AbiSomeone said...

Thanks to you, Linda, for your introduction to Baxter's work. I am so very grateful for you both!