Perichoresis sermon ideas

Perichoresis (para-cor-AY-sis) is a Greek term from the ancient Christian church describing the mutual indwelling of the three persons of the Holy Trinity. Stemming from Jesus' testimony in John's gospel that the Father and the Son are "in" each other, the doctrine of perichoresis describes an intra-trinitarian hospitality of each divine person to the other two. Each person welcomes, envelops, and harbors the other two. Seemingly an arcane, perhaps speculative Christian doctrine, perichoretic thinking has some surprisingly practical implications.

What does the Bible say about perichoresis?

  • John 10:30, "The Father and I are one"
  • John 10:38, Jesus said, "the Father is in me and I am in the Father"
  • John 14:10-11, 20, Jesus said "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. . . "
  • John 14:16-17, "You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you"
  • John 17:21-23, Jesus said, "I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one. . ."

Sermon ideas about perichoresis

In John's gospel, perhaps the pinnacle of the Father/Son relation is that the two are "one" and are "in" each other. These relationships appear to be equivalent, and neither is explained. For reasons too complex to be explained here, the Paraclete or Spirit of Truth is, by extension, included in these relations as well. And the oneness/in-ness relationship of the three John describes appears to be ontological and eternal. The three have a relationship not just of function, but of their very nature.

The Father forever loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father back. The Father glorifies the Son, and the Son glorifies the Father back. The Son just does what he sees his Father doing. He "exegetes" God the Father because he is "close to the Father's heart." And when the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit upon people, this "Advocate" or "Paraclete" reproduces heavenly life among these people (John 1:18; John 14:26; John 15:26).

So at the center of the universe, self-giving love is the dynamic currency of the trinitarian life of God. The persons within God exalt each other, commune with each other, defer to one another. Each person, so to speak, makes room for the other two. It sounds a little strange, but we might almost say that the persons within God show each other divine hospitality. The Father is "in" the Son and the Son is "in" the Father, and each loves and glorifies the other. The fathers of the Greek church (especially Gregory of Nazianzus, Maximus the Confessor, and John of Damascus) called this interchange the mystery of perichoresis and added to it the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of both the Father and the Son. When early Greek Christians spoke of perichoresis in God, they meant that each divine person harbors the others at the center of his being. In a constant movement of overture and acceptance, each person envelops and encircles the others. So inside God there is a ceaseless exchange of vitality, the infinite expanse of spirit upon spirit in superlative, triplicate consciousness.

Supposing that hospitality means to make room for others and to then help them flourish in the room you have made, we could say that hospitality thrives within the triune life of God and then spreads wonderfully to the creatures of God. The one who spreads it is a mediator, a person who "works in the middle." Because of Christ, says John's gospel, the people of God may somehow one day be included in the triune hospitality ("As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us").

Seemingly an arcane, perhaps speculative Christian doctrine, perichoretic thinking has some surprisingly practical implications. Mainly, it's the basis for the Christian practice of hospitality. All kinds of people offer hospitality, of course. But Christians offer it for a special reason. They understand that when they make room for others and help them to flourish in the room they have made, then they are like God! (See also the entry "Hospitality" elsewhere on this website.)

Christians have found a great number of ways to offer hospitality.

Think as well of people who take in foster children.

The truth is that we human beings were created to spend ourselves.

One other implication of the doctrine of perichoresis:

Maybe 20 percent of worshippers have a disability. In our sanctuary architecture, in our provisions for people hard of hearing, in the training of our greeters, in our prayers and sermons, we may make provision for people with disabilities. It's part of our reverence for a trinitarian God in whom each of three persons harbors the other two at the center of their being.

Finally, to round out our hospitality, we will see to it that our worship is truly intergenerational. If possible, we'd like three or four generations of Christian believers to worship together and learn from each other. They may weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. They may instruct, inspire, and comfort each other as they together spend themselves in adoration of God.

Search Results for Perichoresis Sermon Ideas

Search not loading? You may need to whitelist in your adblocker.
This Vue component has not been initialized