Thank you for all who have given their all

Published 8:41 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

It’s Memorial Day weekend, a great time to reflect and remember those who have given their lives so that we can enjoy our freedoms. I know a lot of folks will be spending time around the grill or at the beach, but even there it’s great to just take a moment to say ‘thank you’ for all those who have given their all.

In church circles, this coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after the Day of Pentecost. For those who ‘celebrate’ it, this is a day to celebrate one of the foundational doctrines of the church – God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Or if you prefer, God as Creator, Savior and Helper.

It’s OK to scratch your head and wonder, “Why celebrate a doctrine?” I know a lot of ministers avoid preaching on this topic, because it is just too hard to explain. All of us who profess the Christian faith have scratched our heads over the Trinity. But lately I have enjoyed reflecting on an icon painted by Ivan Rublev in the 15th century. It is a painting of the three figures who came to Abraham in Genesis 18 to tell him he is going to have a baby in his old age. Rublev paints them as the three persons of the Trinity. They are sitting there, around a table which has on it a chalice of wine. Each of the figures is dressed in clothes that symbolize their role – God the Creator, in the browns of created earth; God the Savior, in royal blue; God the Spirit, in a shiny robe that points to mystery.

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They are all bowing to each other, each person of the Godhead respecting the other, each with their own role to play in being present to humanity. The Greeks called it perichoresis; a dancing God, a God who does not dictate or command as much as God dances with us, and with each other. A dance of love.

In the middle of the painting there is a small rectangle. Archaeologists have tried to figure out what was there, and they have found some residue. It’s a glue, and most scholars think that a mirror was placed there, to bring the worshipper – you – into the icon. It’s a way of being in the dance with God, a dance of relationship.

The Trinity can still give me headaches when I try to figure it out. That’s why I don’t. It’s not a head trip, but a dance of loving relationship with a God who genuinely and lovingly cares about us. We are invited to dance, to enter into the relationship with God, and with each other. Including those who have gone before us, in war and in peace. All of us dancing with a God of love.

TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at