In 1528, embroiled in debate with opponents, Luther publishes his last major work on Holy Communion, Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper. At the end of the 200 page work that Luther calls his, “little book,” Luther says,
“I believe with my whole heart the sublime article of the majesty of God, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, are by nature one true and genuine God, the Maker of heaven and earth…All this has been maintained up to this time both in the Roman Church and among Christian churches throughout the whole world.”
Luther writes his polemic against positions taught that the Meal is symbolic of relationship rather than being actual relationship. (This is expressed as communicatio idiomatum) Luther ends the paper in the swirling dance of perfect loving moving as Trinity. Luther grounds Holy Communion in Triune life, for it’s most certainly true that partaking of the Meal given to the Church by the Son is partaking of the Son, and partaking of the Son is partaking in the life of the Triune God; entering with every communion into actual communion relationship with God and all the saints, sharing relationship with the Divine; being drawn into the perichoretic life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, being drawn into the dance of Trinity through simple bread and wine.
Don’t we sometimes overthink relationships? Ever dated someone who was so up in their head, so busy questioning the relationship rather than being in the relationship? Ever had to say, “Just be in the moment, stop overthinking things!” Shouldn’t we confess that relationships aren’t matters we think into being? Aren’t relationships dances of being that unfold?
When it comes to the relationship dance that God has with us, don’t we overthink the dance, overthink God?
What if we opt to be with God rather than overthink God? Be with God rather than overthink God.
And this brings us to Matthew 28:16-20:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” (NRSV)
Where in this text does Jesus ever say, “Go, make disciples of all nations by forming a community of navel-gazers who perpetually think about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” Nowhere, never! ”
Rather, to this end, doesn’t Jesus say, “Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” Yes, definitely!
Christians get their start in Trinity—Christian’s do not get their start in thinking things into distraction. We’re “Baptized into Trinity,” not into thought. Isn’t this why Christians are called to live Triune lives? (Meaning lives of free-flowing, living into one another, love relationship)
So, what if overthinking the Triune God distracts us, inhibits us, shifts us, from being fully present to and with God? Doesn’t overthinking (thinking about) create a shift from being in relationship to being about relationship?
Do not we think about our favorite TV show once it’s off the air?
Don’t we think about that lost pet?
Don’t we think about our hometown if we’ve moved away?
Don’t we think about children who’ve moved on and moved out?
Don’t we think about our beloved when we’re parted?
Don’t we think about others when we’ve become absent friends?
Don’t we think about our dear departed kin?
These “thinking about” occasions are occasions of absence. And occasions of absence lead us to occasions of presence; occasions when we truly show up, bring the real us to the dance, freely pour out all that we are, and all that we bear, not thinking, only being. When presence unfolds it’s communion, love, intimacy, authenticity, all at once, unconstrained by location, time, distance, life, death, circumstance, or indifference. When presence unfolds it’s communion, love, intimacy, authenticity, all at once, created for us through the swirling, mystic, eternal life and love shared as Trinity in unity and unity in Trinity.
Think now of the person who knows, sees, loves, and blesses you just as you are? See your relationship. See your beloved. When together are you thinking about your beloved or are you so caught up in being with your beloved that there’s no thought to it all? Are you thinking your way into their life or being your way into their life? Are they thinking their way into your life or being their way into your life? Isn’t there an open-ended, free-flow to it all? Isn’t it ultimately the holiness found in the openness of giving one’s self to another and openly receiving the other in turn? Isn’t that free-flowing, open-ended, giving and receiving Triune life? It is the unending ebb and flow, rise and fall, dance of Triune love.
It’s being so deeply into the other that time and thought are lost in the beingness of they with us and we with them. It’s the I and Thou, Me and Thee of relationship, moving around us, passing within us, flowing between us, rolling us, tumbling us, tossing us, embracing and simultaneously releasing us—no thinking involved for it only is.
Perhaps you’ll discover it in good company when laughing so hard that your sides hurt, losing all thought in the joy of it all, until suddenly you realize that the entire restaurant is staring at you.
Perhaps you’ll discover it being upstairs with a home for the Summer college age son, so completely content to be with him, that you forget yourself, fall asleep, awaken to your own loud snoring, awaken to see the laughter and love in the son’s grinning eyes.
No thinking’s required in this loving business of being; of freely living into the life of another, of being present to them, and they to us, for overthinking is lost in the swirling dance of relational love. That’s Triune life.
It’s walking the footsteps of another, experiencing their life, feelings, joys, pains, not from the outside, but on the inside. It’s the other’s story being to us as if it were our own. This is true communion, when thinking is stopped for the beingness of love has lain hold. That’s Triune life.
It’s losing track of time in prayer, not hearing the alarm to rise and dress while we’re praying for those on our prayer list; being so present in prayer that we’ve no idea how long or for what we’ve been praying, for the timeless beingness of love causes us to seem one with God. That’s Triune life.
When, in love’s blurry beingness, thinking is lost, love opens us and with no thought we embrace and are embraced in Trinity as mystery, and there faith empowers us to rest in love’s mystery rather than overthink it all. Perhaps this is why Jesus,shows Trinity, never explains it, prefers instead to encourage us to love our neighbor as ourself. For maybe Trinity is less a puzzle to be solved, or a doctrine to be obsessively pondered, for it is far more a love to be lived. And love that’s lived—that’s Triune life!