Attractive Community

King David humbly wrote "I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me." (Psalm 131:1) Maybe less wisely, I'm pondering the Trinity. No one can explain the divine mystery, as Augustine of Hippo, in his On the Trinity, confessed.

But this much I know: God can't be defined (God's "incomprehensibility"), but God has been truly revealed: perfectly and historically, in the person of Jesus Christ (God's "incarnation").

God can be imaged in Christ's Body, the visible church before a watching world. The reflection is imperfect. When corrupted with lies or hate, beauty can be distorted and become ugly.

Reality is ultimately Relational. The divine Persons ("three-in-one") relate in an Ultimate Community of Truth and Love. And when God's people relate with Truth and Love, the world sees an (imperfect) reflection of mysteriously attractive community.

God's people are commanded: "speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:15) The Bible alludes to the beauty of the mysterious Trinity reflected in an attractive Christian community. Jesus prayed: "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17:22–23)

Abiding in God's LIGHT (truth) and LOVE (for each other), we cultivate eternal LIFE with God. The Letter of 1 John warns against the deception of the evil one. "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)

In the Orthodox tradition, an iconic image of perichoresis (cf. choreography) depicts the relationship between the persons of the Trinity as a "dance." Since humans are created in God's image, Christ's people can reflect a relational reality that is attractive, inviting others into a dance of eternal life, light, and love.

But society today reflects an ugliness caused by Lies (not Truth). Post-modernism replaces God's Truth with "my narrative vs. your narrative." The person's story with the most political power "wins." Society is distorted by Hate (not Love). From inside preferred tribes and "silos," people lob missiles of hate toward those with whom they disagree. The world is robbed of a vision of attractive beauty.

My Christian denomination meets this month. I pray for an attractive community. I am grateful for over 600 PCA pastors and elders who have signed a Public Letter: an appeal for our church to be a community of TRUTH and LOVE, not Truth versus Love. That is, to reflect the beauty of the Trinity.

John R. W. Stott echos both the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul: “Love becomes sentimental if it is not strengthened by truth and truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love. We need to preserve the balance of the Bible ... to hold the truth in love, to love others in the truth, and to grow not only in love but discernment.” (What Christ Thinks of the Church, 1990)