Sweet humility

At Elizabeth’s suggestion last January, I listened to a CBC Ideas segment entitled The God Who May Be. The segment featured an interview with Irish philosopher Richard Kearney, who had in turn been inspired by philosopher Paul Recour.

The program confirmed what I already knew about myself: I am no philosopher. The conversation ranged over the meaning of revelation and the role of imagination – fascinating topics, but I could barely understand any of it.

But then, at the very end, we were offered one perfect image of humility from the First Century.

It is a picture of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in an endless circle dance, where each gracefully steps aside to give place to the other. The empty centre they created at the centre of the dance was called by the early Greeks “the womb,” where the Kingdom of God is birthed.

The speaker concluded that God was found not only in suffering, but also in beauty. And the Kingdom of God is not made of dry bread, but of wine and dancing.

Friends,  I have been puzzling over the concept of “humility” for many months. This image has stayed with me, even though I hardly know what it might mean for me, or for us.

Do you know?



Filed under Joy's entries

4 responses to “Sweet humility

  1. Paul Connelly

    Do I know? ‘Fraid not. Would I like to know? Absolutely.

    Reading Joy’s entry reminded me of the reading from Micah an acquaintance of mine had read at his ordination, “You have been told what the Lord requires of you…to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

    Seems pretty straightforward on one level, but it could take a lifetime to figure out.

  2. Pat Thompson

    Closing the Circle

    Within the circle of our lives
    we dance the circle of the years,
    the circles of the seasons
    within the circles of the years,
    the cycles of the moon
    within the circles of the season,
    the circles of our reasons
    within the cycles of the moon.

    Again, again we come and go,
    changed, changing. Hands
    join, unjoin in love and fear,
    grief and joy. The circles turn,
    each giving into each, into all.
    Only music keeps us here,

    each by all the others held.
    In the hold of hands and eyes
    we turn in pairs, that joining
    joining each to all again.

    And then we turn aside, alone,
    out of the sunlight gone

    into the darker circles of return.

    Wendell Berry

  3. Elizabeth Sherk

    from http://www.christianity.co.nz/church2.htm

    “God does not reveal Himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a personal and intimate relation to the world”
    Abraham Heschel
    In the past there has been a lack of thinking about the connection between the nature of God and the nature of the church. Catholic and Orthodox theologians have consistently made the connection, but have tended more to affirm it than carefully reflect on it. In Protestant circles Jurgen Moltmann led the way in his book The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (1981). However, over the last few years the writing about it has been such that theologian Miroslav Volf, in After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity, can say:

    Today, the thesis that ecclesial [church] communion should correspond to trinitarian communion enjoys the status of an almost self-evident proposition.

    And it is only our understanding of the nature of the Trinity that can provide the philosophical basis for understanding both the true value of the individual and the importance of community. Professor Colin Gunton, in his seminal work, The One, The Three and The Many, points to the secular search for an ideology that can protect the individual while promoting community. Recent history, he suggests, had been ruled by two competing regimes. In the West, we are products of a world driven by the individual. And increasingly privatised worldview has promoted the rights of the indavidual above all else. In the East, communism exalted the many. What mattered most was the common good, the people and the nation. The reslult, Gunton declares, has been two equally oppressive and totalitarian regimes. The answer lies in the discovery of a worldview capable of honouring the one and the many, without either being a the expense of the other. The doctrine of the Trinity presents such an ideology. The God who is Father, Son and Spirit models this unity amidst diversity, and this community of equality. The church, through its relationship with the Triune God, is called to model this for the world.

    However, what theologians write about, and what happens at the local church level, are often far removed. ”

    Sweet Humility: One of the character traits of the amazing God christians love, worship & trust. However in most churches as in other human associations in which people work to get along with each other for the sake of the common good, most of the members are pretty severely ego driven. As Paul Connelly commented above, it will probably take a life time and more for us to learn the steps of the Divine Dance by which we will in honour truly prefer one another. (Romans 12:10)

  4. Julie MacLean

    What Elizabeth said is cool-another brick in the wall of my understanding of God about the trinity and the value of both the individual and community. Balance. I always value the things I learn that I can pass on to enlarge other peoples understanding of God. This will be a good idea to build a devo on for the children.

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