Today is Trinity Sunday – the day we celebrate the nature of God.
Of course, I think it seems quite presumptuous to say anything about the nature of God. God might disagree with us. However, over the centuries since Jesus lived amongst us, believers have wondered and worried about the whole concept.
Because I am a visual person, I turn to images, when I cannot fathom the unfathomable.
This icon of the Trinity, by Andrei Rublev, has always been my favourite way to envisage the nature of God. It is not a picture of God, as such. There can be no picture of God, because God is an eternal mystery, surely?
An icon is not a picture – it is often described as a window, through which we might see an eternal truth. People do not “Paint” an icon – they “write “it. I find this icon to be helpful, for me. It may not be for everyone. Many people find it more difficult.
Some years ago, I “wrote” my own version of Rublev’s Icon, which will be here in church this morning. I would just like to say a couple of things about it, in my ramblings today.
The three persons, or angels, look towards one another. Our attention is led around the table. Each of the persons of the Trinity bow to one another, graciously. None takes precedence. The chalice on the table, for me, represents the work of Christ for us – the love expressed in sacrifice and service.
The perspective of the table is in reverse – instead of diminishing into the distance, as tables normally appear to do, it diminishes forwards, to where we sit – at the table, in the fourth place. We are to feel welcomed and included in the nature of God. We are made in the image of God. The meal is for us.
When I wrote my icon, I made it triangular, containing a circle. Three in one, and one in three: If you like, a geometrical representation of God.
There are also three symbols behind the angels: A mountain – the place where human beings seem to encounter the Father. Jesus and some of the disciples encountered the Father on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured. Moses encountered God on the mountain, and was given the Law.
The second symbol is a tree. This represents The Son. It is both the tree of life, and the tree of death, which is the cross – which is our pathway to eternal life.
The third symbol is the house. This represents the Church, which is the life of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit is the life of the Church. It has an open door, which expresses welcome.
There are many other symbolic interpretations which are possible. I am always keen to hear any of yours!
For me, I am left with movement. The three persons lead us into a beautiful, graceful dance. They weave in and out, bowing to one another – turning towards the outside of the circle, to include us, and turning inwards to acknowledge one another. They are never still – always creating, always saving, always inspiring – ever-living.
We don’t need to have a deep understanding of what is meant when we talk about the Trinity. It is something we accept by faith. But faith seeks understanding sometimes. Once we speak of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, we can no longer be simple, when we claim to worship the one God. How can God be only One, if Jesus is God? Perhaps the Spirit of God is easier to accept in some ways? Yet not when Jesus speaks of The Advocate, the Comforter – another entity.
I encourage you to reflect about these things to the degree which is needed for your own enjoyment and learning. But certainly don’t let them worry you. We are Christian people, and so we have Jesus Christ as our focus and our Way, our Truth and our Life.
May the Holy Trinity bless your week