Homily: May 31, 2015
TRINITY SUNDAY, YEAR B; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar The time was the 1400’s
The Place? Russia.
Andrey Rublev wrote an Icon of the holy Trinity
Seated at a table,
With heads gracefully bowed to each other.
This very icon brings us to the heart of the Trinity,
as spiritual unity,
and readiness to sacrifice oneself.
I keep this icon in my front entryway at home.
reminds me of divine warmth,
God’s loving presence in my home.
The All Holy three look lovingly at each other,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
In Divine communion,
Some call it the divine Dance
The loving glance shows us that even within the Godhead
there is feeling, mutual affection,
Far from being some abstract, detached Cosmic Being
this Trinity burns with passion…
the love of the Father for the Son
the Son for the Spirit,
the Spirit for the Father.
The table is set here,
just as it was back in Father Abraham’s time-
When three angels came
to bring good news of Sarah’s pregnancy,
and receive from Sarah and Abraham the gift of hospitality.
That’s the Old Testament story on which this icon is based.
Abraham and Sarah entertain the three angels
receiving them as God’s messengers.
But that Table has been spread for divine hospitality
since long before 1800 BC.
The Divine Table has been set from the time before creation
When nothing existed but God, the Three in one.
The eternal Father,
creating all with the help of His Carpenter Son,
Carving out the wooden table of the World.
Together with them
Brooding like a nesting mother bird
over the chaotic waters of Creation.,
like a hostess concerned over her guests.
This was the Table of the World
Which God set for all creation at the beginning .
That table is still set today.
For us in this ancient story
And its slightly more recent Icon.
Let’s take a few minutes to look at different aspects
of the Icon- this Divine Banqueting scene.
We’ll follow a path I use in icon meditation-
First noticing some different elements of the icon,
then meditating in silence on their application to our lives.
Note that Christ in the Center
And the Spirit on the right actually touch the table –
earthing and grounding the divine life of God
in the created world.
How has that touch of God entered your own life,
touched your table?
Could table for you,
Mean what it means for many?
A place of refreshment, recreation,
Ponder the words of invocation in our Eucharistic prayer:
"Lord, You are holy indeed,
the fountain of all holiness.
Let Your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy...."
Reflect on that touch and its meaning for you,
the life of the world...
And for your life.
Behind the figures are a mountain range.
Mountains are places where people often encountered God -
places where heaven and earth seem to touch.
Moses met God on mountains.
Jesus was transfigured whilst in prayer on a mountain.
Reflect on your own "mountain top" experiences -
times when you have felt very close to God -
when you have felt transfigured and filled with the Spirit
Note that each person holds a staff,
which is so long it cuts the picture into sections.
Why should beings with wings,
that can fly like the light,
need a staff for their journey?
Because WE OURSELVES are on a journey
And these three persons of the Trinity enter into our journey.
Their feet are tired from traveling.
The Divine Trinity in some sense need to stop,
as we do,
To rest, and recreate.
God is with us in the weariness of our human road.
The traveler God sits down at our ordinary tables
and spreads them with a hint of heaven.
Look now at The Table.
The table or altar lies at the center of the picture.
It is at once the place of Abraham's hospitality to the angels,
and also God's place of hospitality to us.
That ambiguity lies at the heart of communion
And mutual love.
As soon as we open a sacred place for God to enter,
for God to be welcomed and adored,
it becomes his place.
It is WE who are welcomed,
it is we who 'take off our shoes'
because of the holiness of the ground.
The holy meal brought to the table.
All points to this space, this mystery:
everything about God is summed up and expressed,
God’s power, God’s glory,
and above all God’s sacrificial love.
Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality
join with the divine invitation.
It is expressed in such a way on the table that we can reach it.
For the space at this table is on our side.
We are invited to join the divine group at the table
and receive the heart of their being for ourselves.
We are invited to complete the circle,
to join the dance,
to complete the movements of God in the world
by our own response.
Below the altar a rectangle marks the holy place
Where there is also a seat for us.
It lies before us
and invites us to come into the depth and intimacy
of all that is represented here.
Come follow the Spirit up the hill of prayer.
Come, live in the shadow of the Son of God,
rest yourself beneath his tree of life.
Come, journey to the hospitable table,
prepared for you in the house of your Father.
The table is spread, by Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For us all.