Summary: A sermon for Trinity Sunday based on Rublev's Trinity

There is a Story in Genesis Chapter 18 where three angels appear to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre - three figures and yet later in the Story they are voice of the One God. Christians later took this as an Old Testament Image of the Trinity. The famous Russian artist Rublev painted an icon of the Trinity based on this Story.

Each of the figures represents a person of the Trinity. They are each robed in blue - a heavenly colour. But they are each robed differently. The face of each angel is identical to indicate the unity of God. But the rest of their clothing is distinct to represent the 3 persons.

On the left we have God the Father. On top of his blue robe is a slightly shimmery robe. He is in a sense hidden from us. We know him through Jesus and the Spirit. Their eyes point to him. This is God in his transcendence. God who flung stars into space. As we heard in our reading from Isaiah -

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

and marked off the heavens with a span,

enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,

and weighed the mountains in scales

and the hills in a balance?(Isaiah 40:12)

There is a video you may have seen that shows how tiny we are in the universe that God created

[picture starts with a woman’s face and gradually zooms out to show her park, her city, her country, the world, the solar system, the nearby stars, the galaxy, the other local galaxies and the whole universe - before zooming back in through all of these to the woman, to her cells to the structure of the cells to the atoms to the amazing complexity of the subatomic structure]

Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

and are accounted as dust on the scales;

see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.

The forests of Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,

nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.

All the nations are as nothing before him;

they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness…. (Isaiah 40:15-17)

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

and marked off the heavens with a span,

enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,

and weighed the mountains in scales

and the hills in a balance?(Isaiah 40:12)

Flick back to picture of icon - This is God who created everything - He sits in front of the house - God on his throne in heaven - yet one day he promises to welcome us home.

Because through Jesus you and I- little old you and I - can have a relationship with the creator of the universe.

Looking towards God the Father is the middle figure. As well as the blue robes representing divinity he wears a robe of earthy brown - he God became a human being. He sits under a tree. In the story in Genesis the angels met Abraham at the Oak of Mamre. So in one sense this is that Oak. But in another sense it is the tree of life.

You remember how in church we turn our Christmas tree into a bare cross for Lent and then at Easter we cover it in flower - the tree of new life. This is not just our symbolism. The tree of life in Genesis becomes the cross - both the tree of death on which Jesus hangs but also the tree of new life through which you and I are given eternal life.

If our Isaiah reading focuses on creation, our reading from Matthew focuses on the new creation that begins with the resurrection of Jesus.

The disciples meet the risen Jesus -

"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’" Matthew 28:16-20

So the middle figure in the icon sits beneath the tree of life. Over his shoulder you see he wears a stole like I do and Mother Patty does in church. Jesus is as the book of Hebrews puts it - our great high priest.

Hebrews 4:14-16 - "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.…

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