I-Thou

Christian worship is not awe in the face of an irresistible and unresponsive Power, nor is it the attempt to manipulate by magic or placate by offerings remote deities or the forces of nature. Christian worship is an ‘I-Thou’, not an ‘I-It’ relationship. 

—John D. Witvliet, The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Theology and Practice of Christian Worship in the Reformed Tradition (dissertation), 161 

At the Center

At the center of the New Testament stands not our religious experience, not our faith or repentance or decision, however important these are, but a unique relationship between Jesus and the Father—a life of shared communion, mission, and service into which we are invited.

—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 97 

The Neglected Trinity (10)

Trinitarian worship is worship that fits with a God whose own being is faithfully and aptly described in trinitarian terms. Worshiping this kind of God should not be done with just any readily available worship technique. It should rather look for approaches that are fitting to address this kind of God, including (a) celebrating and resting in the mediation offered by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, (b) savoring the kind of intimate and healthy relationality in divine life that is depicted in the Scriptures and offered to humanity through Jesus, (c) rehearsing the astonishing litany of divine actions in history, and (d) perceiving the unity of purpose of divine actions attributed to each divine person. Each of these is a part of a distinctly Christian approach to worship.

—John D. Witvliet, “What to Do with Our Renewed Trinitarian Enthusiasm: Forming Trinitarian Piety and Imagination through Worship and Catechesis,” in Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship, 244-5

The Neglected Trinity (8)

Trinitarian worship enacts, reflects and savors the relationality or communion that comprises both divine life and the Christian life. The doctrine of the Trinity offers a vision of each that is fundamentally relational and interpersonal. . . . Christian worship is not obeisance by which we appease a divine tyrant. We do not sing loud or pray hard in order to generate divine favor—the perfect theology of worship if we wanted to worship Baal. Worship, rather, is the joyful and solemn exchange of gifts.

—John D. Witvliet, “What to Do with Our Renewed Trinitarian Enthusiasm: Forming Trinitarian Piety and Imagination through Worship and Catechesis,” in Trinitarian Theology for the Church: Scripture, Community, Worship, 241-2

The Blessed Tri-Unity 4

The Trinity is not a doctrine, not a sacred teaching or formula or analogy or geometry. Jesus Christ the Son of God reveals the hidden Life He shares from eternity with the Father and Spirit. Jesus only says what He hears His Father saying. Jesus only does what He sees His Father doing. And the Spirit is everywhere making manifest the inseparability of the Father and Son as One God with Them. 

The One God is the “us” in whose image we are made. The One God is the voice Isaiah hears ask the question “Who will go for US?” The One God is present as Son and Dove and Father as Jesus is baptized by John. And so on. The Trinity is known because God acts and speaks in the world they make and the world they love and the world they seek to save as the Father from all eternity sends the Son and “thereafter” (only from our vantage, for there is no before or after in God) sends the Spirit. 

Trinity is what we humans name this revelation in actions and words of the triune nature of the One Love that simply was and is and is to come. God is not words on a page but a divine community of relations that seeks to make us participants by grace in Their eternal way of life, in Their nature. All of this is partial and all of this is “through a glass darkly” but we stammer anyway our worship and our praise. What we don’t do is worship an idea about God. We worship the Triune God of Life who shows us His face in Jesus. 

—Fr. Kenneth Tanner (https://www.facebook.com/kenneth.tanner)

The Blessed Tri-Unity 3

The implications of the doctrine of the Trinity are profound. As Michael Schluter has often said, before anything material existed, there were relationships. Love among the members of the Godhead existed before creation. Love belongs to ultimate reality. Love is from eternity to eternity. In monotheistic religions without the Trinity, there is no-one to be loved before the creation.

The Trinity also means that ultimate reality is unity with diversity. The goal of history is everything becoming rightly related to each other, into shalom, unity in diversity.

—Jeff Fountain, Weekly Word May 28, 2018