By The Rev’d Tim Booth
How did you fare when services of worship had been suspended during COV-19? I found inspiration in isolation through a remarkable picture in the book The Divine Dance by U.S. Franciscan Richard Rohr. The image was of a 15th Century Orthodox icon called The Trinity by Andrei Rublev.
Rohr describes the three ‘persons’ in Rublev’s icon seated around a table: ‘the Father’ in the gold of fullness as the ultimate Source; Christ in blue with two extended fingers representing his dual human and divine nature, unifying spirit and matter; and ‘The Spirit’ in green’s divine aliveness making everything grow and bloom. Rohr helped me see three other profound features.
At the table’s centre is a common bowl of food – symbolising table fellowship around a meal. Also, the Three share a gaze of deep respect with each other – reminding us that to love is to pay open attention to. Finally, the icon has a space at the front of the table. What is this for? Art historians say that the original icon had glue in this rectangular-shaped gap, perhaps where a mirror tile was pasted! There is room at the table for a fourth person – you!
At the heart of the Christian revelation is that God is not a distant and isolated king, but instead the Holy One is known in the dynamic loving relationship of Three. This divine fellowship is like a banquet that we’re all invited to share in right now. Like the experience of ongoing loving table fellowship over food, this relationship transforms us through the receiving of and sharing in love.
Despite our separation from Holy Communion’s table fellowship in our faith communities over recent months, we’re reminded that the precious gift of faith brings co-participation in the transforming banquet of divine relationship. The hospitality of God draws us into deepening union with the divine mystery.
So, when can you recall receiving the loving gaze of another, and who do you gaze on in this way? How has sharing in the hospitality of others over food impacted you? In what ways has your experience of receiving and giving love changed your life over time? We can ponder these questions as we gradually return to our regular worshiping communities again.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Cor 13:13)
Tim is a Deacon in Brisbane Diocese. In February this year he was a presenter at Clergy Conference in Grafton Diocese.