"What do you want to do?"
"No, what do you want to do?"
"You can have the bigger piece."
"No, I want you to have it."
"I'm ready to cook supper. What do you want to eat?"
"No, you're more tired than I am. I'll cook supper. What do YOU want?"
In truly giving relationships, we keep our eyes on others, anxious to see how they are feeling, or what they're thinking, or how they're acting, not because we're obsessive, but because our love is filled with genuine concern for their well-being.
And in truly giving relationships, or communities, there are few if any power struggles. All people are seen as being powerful, each in his or her own way. And between them, power is seen as being shared and shareable. After all, Jesus tells us that through the Holy Spirit, we are all clothed with power from On High, and it's the power to love with wisdom and servant love.
When we love with servant love, when power is shared and shareable, we're truly living as people made in the Image of God. Because for God, power is shared and shareable.
So often, when we think of God the Father as King, we picture Him as being "on top," on a throne above everyone and everything else, reigning with his spiritual army at His beck and call. But, then, what about the Son? Does God the Father have more power than God the Son? And what about the Holy Spirt? Usually we think of the Holy Spirit as a dove or as tongues of fire, instead of as a Person. Is the Holy Spirit at the bottom, so to speak, of this hierarchical God?
But, no, all three Persons in God are equal in power and majesty. They love each other with equal intimacy and joy. Their power is shared and shareable. They are comfortable with each other, like a family seated around the family dinner table, enjoying a meal together.
In fact, one of the best depictions of the Holy Trinity has the Three doing just that: sitting around a table, enjoying a meal. This Old Testament Trinity icon, created by the Russian monk Rublev, depicts the Father (to the left), the Son (in the middle), and the Holy Spirit (on the right), sitting around Abraham's table where he is serving dinner to the Three Strangers who have come to visit him.(from Genesis 18).
All Three have the same face - young, yet ageless, to show they are one. Their faces and bodies are without gender, to show they are spirit.
If you look at the front of this table, you can see there is room for others to sit there. Rublev's holy art is telling us: the Trinity invites us to sit with them, to be drawn into their holy, exuberant, love-filled life! We are invited to live "inside" the life of the Trinity at the same time that the Holy Trinity lives inside us! In fact, the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life, is to re-form and re-create human society into the Image of God: a life-giving, person-centered community, in which love is interpersonal, and power is shared and shareable.
The Holy Community of the Trinity has done and does and will do all things together. We think of the Father as the Creator. But everything was created through and for the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Divine Wind stirring the waters. We say that Jesus the Son died and rose for us, but since the Three are always together, Jesus did not suffer and die alone - the Father and the Holy Spirit were always with Him and within him (even if in his human anguish he could not always sense his Father's presence.) Today in this world, all Persons of the Trinity live in our souls, each communicating with us in a unique way. They walk beside us on our journey, as they visited Abraham.
When we say that we are created in God's Image, this is the image - Community; Relationship; sharing Power, not lording it over another. We are created for intimacy, for personal communication, as human beings in families, as human beings enjoying numerous loving relationships with friends, as human beings working together with a shared vision or goal for human betterment. God created us to be in relationship with and interdependent with people of all cultures and nations.
What's more, God created us in relationship with an entire planet, an entire universe. All of the ecosystems on this planet are interdependent, and for true, healthy, flowing life, human beings need to recognize and accept their interdependence with the earth, insects, animals, reptiles, creatures of the waters, birds of the sky. Together, all peoples and all creation, give praise to our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
Yet, we know that, in families, there is sometimes one person who tries to be dominant, aggressive, abusive, holding all power tightly to him or herself. My last post said very strongly: God does not want us either to abuse or be abused. Abusiveness is the exact opposite of the Trinity. The nature of the Trinity is servant love, equality, mutuality, and the equal sharing of Power.
Even human systems can be abusive, and one of the worst is Big Business when it has been corrupted. The nature of the Trinity is communitarian, personal and life-affirming, and its goal is human development. The nature of a corrupted Big Business is impersonal, and the goal is profit, especially profit for the people at the top of the hierarchy: the C.E.Os and shareholders. Power is not shared but is concentrated at the top in the C.E.Os and shareholders. In corrupted Big Business, workers are not seen as individuals with dignity and value, but as pieces on a checkerboard, who can be moved and shoved off, their jobs eliminated to increase corporate profits.
A Big Business lives for itself, and sees itself as being in competition with all others. A nation run on the Big Business model does not see other nations as allies with which to form a greater community. Instead, other nations are economic competitors, to guard against and go up against rather than to work with in common goals and interdependence.
When a President chooses to govern a nation by the Big Business Model, the country's goal becomes immediately impersonal and profit-centered rather than Trinitarian, communitarian, and person-centered. The Big Business model is not a sustainable model for a democracy, because democracy by its nature has as its goal the development of a person-centered, communitarian government which shares power between its three branches. (Our federal government has three parts. They are the Executive, (President and about 5,000,000 workers) Legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) and Judicial (Supreme Court and lower Courts). The President of the United States administers the Executive Branch of our government.) When a President uses a Big Business model (especially if that model is corrupted), he envisions the Real Power as being at the top: in the hands of the Executive branch, because, for him, the President is the All-Powerful C.E.O. Democracy envisions the three branches as providing checks and balances in power among them.
Fr. Richard Rohr and many faith leaders from other Christian denominations have signed a faith document entitled "Reclaiming Jesus," which states in part:
"We believe our elected officials are called to public service, not public tyranny, so we must protect the limits, checks, and balances of democracy and encourage humility and civility on the part of elected officials. . . .
"We reject any moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule. . . . Disrespect for the rule of law, not recognizing the equal importance of our three branches of government, and replacing civility with dehumanizing hostility toward opponents are of great concern to us. Neglecting the ethic of public service and accountability, in favor of personal recognition and gain often characterized by offensive arrogance, are not just political issues for us. They raise deeper concerns about political idolatry, accompanied by false and unconstitutional notions of authority."
The Holy Trinity is a beautiful, life-giving Community in which each Person serves the Others in joyful love. All of creation is created in the communitarian Image of the Trinity: families, nations, ecosystems in Nature. Since humans are relational beings by nature, our modes of Government should also be communitarian, meant to evolve to produce servant leadership and unity among the people, meant to be operated for the common good, respectful of individual freedoms. A nation founded on communitarian principles works with other nations in friendship, always looking to the common good of a multitude of cultures, and for the good of the entire planet.
An aggressive Big Business model cannot be communitarian and person-centered because its main way of operating is impersonal, and organizational, and is goal is economic profit, mostly centered among the top echelon.
As Christians, our mission is to guard the communitarian, relational, intimate, joyful, loving Life of the Trinity within ourselves, within our families, within our nation, within our world. Here is a Prayer to the Trinity, by Fr. Richard Rohr:
God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.
You are the eternal mystery
that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us and even me.
Every name falls short of your
goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.