The Mystery of the Trinity and Incarnation
Father, we stand at the precipice of another year. We continue to ask you to give us wisdom on what our priorities should be, not only for the year, but for each day. Help us to know where to spend our time. Give us wisdom that’s beyond our understanding to make decisions that need to be made to advance this work in your kingdom. Amen.
As I was thinking a little bit about this coming year (as we stand at the beginning of a new one), I wanted to orientate us in the most appropriate way that I could think of. By merging some of the things that I’ve been thinking about in my own devotional times, it’s going to be a little messy because we’re going to be looking at some mysteries that I’m not claiming to understand. We’re going to be talking about the Trinity and the incarnation, which will orientate us in a way which helps us to anchor our mission in who God is, who Jesus is, who we are and what we’re called to do. I hope after you read this, you will come away thinking, “Wow, God is amazing. We’re involved in something really incredible that He’s called us to.”
This is one of the most famous icons in the world. It’s by Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev (c. 1360-1430) and is based on a story in Genesis where Abraham meets three angels. As people contemplated what this icon represented, they found the mystery of the Trinity. It is a really remarkable icon and there’s so much to unpack in it, but there are two things that I want to highlight especially:
- The way that they are completely orientated in loving relationship. The gaze between the three members of the Trinity is one of affection. If you look at the fingers of the figure in the middle, his two fingers are pointing down. This has been interpretated as God as man, who was truly and properly both man and God. If you were to hold a coin up centered on those two fingers, you would see circular symmetry between all three of them. They are gathered around a table, or altar, with a chalice that is representative of Holy Communion.
- The small rectangle on the table at the bottom is a fascinating thing because experts have really no idea what that is. There have been some speculations that it may have been a box where bones were placed in there in the hope of the resurrection. It has also been theorized that is mirror to represent that as you gaze into the mystery of the Trinity and that perfect relationship, you are also invited in to that relationship.
Genesis says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… the earth was formless and empty…and God said, ‘Let there be light.’” The action of speaking implies that there is someone else to speak to, which would mean this act of creation involved the other two members of the Trinity. God used words and as he spoke, our universe was created out of nothing.
The same God, whose words created the universe from nothing, is incarnated in the person of Christ, and always around us in the Holy Spirit. He welcomes us into the middle of the divine dance through relationship with Him – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I find that remarkable and a meaningful way to orient my year around relationship to God, and to one another.
May our year hold opportunities for deep fellowship and relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity.