Trinity Sunday

We Are One (Holy Trinity) by Michelle L Hofer — mixed media collage on mat board, 10 1/4 x 12 inches, 2018.

June 12, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

View Lectionary

Back during Christmas and Epiphany of this liturgical year, I introduced two collages made from copied text from a German Luther Bible I found in the paper bin of my local recycling center. Those pieces plus this one (three in total) were my simple attempt to reunite images with the Word. This artwork combines the text of John chapter 17 with Andrei Rublev’s famous icon of Holy Trinity. It is not THE Holy Trinity, but rather a portrayal of the Hospitality of Abraham — God visiting Abraham in the form of three persons to deliver the news he and Sarah will have a son. Rublev expanded this image into a visual symbol for the triune nature of God.

The mysterious way in which these three figures are communing and interactions with each other and similarity/differences in the figures portrays the concept of one God in three persons. Each figure holds a staff in the left hand indicative of their joint authority over all things. On the table sits a single bowl of food, a sign of their oneness and equally a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. The translation of the German text along the wing reads: …that they may be one even as we are one. — John 17:22

The figure on the left represents the Father. With the right hand, the Holy Parent gestures a sign of blessing toward the figure representing Christ at center. A band of gold across his shoulder distinguishes Christ as a ruler or king. Christ gestures towards the chalice with his right hand indicating his divine mission to become the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world. His gesture of two fingers is a reference to his dual nature – fully man and fully God. The Holy Spirit is represented by the figure who sits at left. Their hand gestures downward, perhaps to the small opening at the front of the altar table, a space indicating the customary placement of relics and the dwelling place of the saints as mentioned in the book of Revelation.

I have long treasured this quote in regards to that rectangular opening…

We must give all our attention to that open space because it is the place to which the Spirit points and where we become included in the divine circle… I come to the realization that this rectangular space speaks about the narrow road leading to the house of God. It is the road of suffering. While it’s four corners remind us that it represents the created order, including all people from the north, south, east, and west, its position in the altar signifies that there is room around the divine table only for those who are willing to become participants in the Divine sacrifice by offering their lives as a witness to the love of God. — Henri Nouwen

O Eternal, our Lord, Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth; Your magnificent glory shines far above the skies. When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation — on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals — sons and daughters of men — specks of dust floating about the cosmos. — Psalm 8:1,3-4

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

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