The picture to the left is an image of an icon that I’ve had in my office for years, going back to the Delta. For those of you who are not aware, icons are spiritual pictures, most often of Biblical characters of Biblical stories. They are really important within the Eastern Orthodox tradition. It would be wrong to compare them to stained glass windows within our traditions, but in many ways, they do serve a similar function of calling individuals to fix their eyes and their minds on things above.
The icon depicted here is one you may have seen before, it’s one of the most well known. It is called the Trinity or the Hospitality of Abraham. It was originally drawn in
15th century and gives a spiritual representation of what happened to Abraham. In the text, we see that Abraham refers to the guests at “Lord.” Abraham knows that there is something special about these guests. We see that within the text itself as well.
One of the ways of reading scripture is to read them “spiritually.” Stay with me, I want to explain what that means. Scripture is the most beautiful and powerful book that we have, it is the rule for our life, it points us to Jesus, it reveals to us the truth of who God is. I tell people I take it seriously and literally. But another level of reading scripture is to look at it through a deeply spiritual lens. Sometimes what you see is pointing to something deeper and profound. The Song of Soloman is a love point between a husband and wife. But, spiritually it can be understood as the love between Christian and His church. It is literally a love poem between spouses. But you can find and see that deeper spiritual meaning.
Today is a story of God visiting Abraham and Abraham showing Him hospitality. That’s what is literally happening. But, the Godhead is three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Spirit. How many guests were there? Three? This image points to the meal having a cup. That reminds us of communion. We see the guests eating together in full communion and in many ways inviting us into full communion.
What I love about that image and why it is near and dear to me is this. I think that the greatest thing that God offers us is Himself. That is His greatest gift to us. To fully know him, as we see in 1 Corinthians 13 (to know fully even as we have been fully known). This story shows us the hospitality and welcome of Abraham and the grace of God.
We invite God into our lives and God invites us into the depth of relationship with Him. We are welcomed into the divine embrace. God loves us, cares for us, welcomes us in. To me, this concept of the Old Testament trinity shows us that divine welcome.
Take some time today to think about that divine welcome from God. Know that you loved, but an amazing God today.
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