Many congregations that enthusiastically celebrate Christmas, Easter and Pentecost neglect to emphasize Trinity Sunday (this coming Sunday). This makes me sad. At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation, God made flesh in Jesus Christ. At Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we are still remembering the astonishing reality that Jesus is God’s son in the flesh. At Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit sent from the Father through the Son. Shouldn’t we spend at least one Sunday focusing on the Three in One, the Trinity?
People in our congregations deserve to know about the explosion of books and articles about the Trinity written in the past two to three decades. Theologian Stanley J. Grenz uses the words “renaissance” and “rebirth” to describe the rise in interest in trinitarian theology in recent years. The titles of his three books on the Trinity represent the theological trends on this topic: Created for Community (1996), The Social God and the Relational Self (2001) and Rediscovering the Triune God (2004). An emphasis on the relational Trinity appears over and over in recent books.
As an introvert, I sometimes find this stress on the relational Trinity to be challenging, as if theologians are pushing me toward constant engagement in difficult relationships. As an antidote to that view, I have loved reading about the idea that the persons of the Trinity are engaged in a dance. We are invited into that dance. Pastor and church consultant George Cladis describes this image of the Trinity as the
three persons of God in constant movement in a circle that implies intimacy, equality, unity yet distinction, and love. . . . In this circle dance of God is a sense of joy, freedom, song, intimacy, and harmony. . . . In a circle we can see each other. No one is left out. We are all interconnected. We hold each other up.
I’m not being forced into something onerous or unnatural for me. Instead, we are all invited into a dance that’s already going on, a dance that’s full of joy, and a dance that we were created for.
Another significant aspect of the new writing on the Trinity relates to mission. Our word “mission” comes from the Latin missio, which means sent. The Father sent the Son into the world, and we are sent into the world as Jesus was sent (John 17:18). The Holy Spirit empowers this sending and enables us to engage in mission. The role of the persons of the Trinity in mission is described in John 20:21 and 22:
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Mission is not something the church does on its own. Instead, mission flows from the triune nature of God and in fact belongs to God, not to us.
Let’s rejoice this Sunday in the circle dance of the triune God, a dance that we are invited to participate in. Let’s rejoice that God calls us to join in the mission of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as we dance.
 George Cladis, Leading the Team Based Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999), 4, 5, 6.