Instead of a Friday activity, a ‘doing’ post, I am going to make a short series of ‘being’ posts.
If you are anything like me, you have far too much ‘doing’ in your Christian life. Sit with me for a while and step outside of all the doing , and into a garden of just being.
This is ‘The Trinity’ or ‘The Hospitality of Abraham’ by Andrei Rublev. It was painted in the early 1400s and shows three angelic beings visiting Abraham when he camped by the great trees of Mamre, as related in Genesis 18. This was near Mount Moriah, where Abram went to sacrifice Isaac, also called Salem (later Jerusalem), where Solomon built his temple to meet with God.
For us to think about
Look at the three figures. See how their head are bent. Why do you think that is?
They are all wearing sky blue. What might that symbolise? What about the other colours?
Notice the background. What is above each figure? What might these represent?
Trace with your finger the circle formed by the figures. Why have they been placed like this?
Consider the cup on the table. What is in it, and what might that represent? What do the hand gestures towards the cup mean?
Discover the shape of another cup formed by the outer figures. What does this mean? Why is is hidden?
Wonder what you might say to these three. Who are they? What might they say to you?
Imagine yourself invited to fill the fourth place at the table. Sit a while with them.
Other people’s thoughts on this picture
On the left in the background is the house of Abraham, the father of the nations. The angel underneath it taken to represent God the Father. His robes of sky blue symbolise his divinity. In the centre is tree of Mamre, reminding us of the Tree of Life and the cross upon which Jesus died. So the central angel is taken as representing Christ. His clothes are the blue of the sky for divinity, the brown of the earth for humanity and gold for kingship. At the right we see Mount Moriah, where Moses met with God and where, later, Solomon’s temple was built. So the figure on the right, dressed in green for new life, symbolises the Holy Spirit, through whom we can know God.
The three seated figures form a circle around their edges, showing completeness and perfection. God needs nothing of us, yet the picture is open and welcoming. The figures are seated around three sides of the table, leaving the fourth place open in invitation
In the space between the outer figures, the shape of a cup can be seen, containing Christ. This symbol is also on the table, where the Father and the Son are blessing the cup. This could be the cup of God’s wrath against sin, the cup of Christ’s suffering or the cup of blessing that overflows in God’s presence.
2 thoughts on “Being -Three Visitors”
Just found your website and we are running a Summer School in Derbyshire next week with the Bishop of Derby called Living in the Trinity and I have just found your meditation on Rublev’s Icon – we have a copy for display and so we will use your meditation as part of our week. Thank you!
Super, so glad to be part of your week. I’m from Derbyshire myself, so this feels like a little bit of home. 🙂
may God bless you all richly as you spend time with him.