Participating in the life of the Trinity

The painting to the left is the Icon of the Holy Trinity, painted in 1425 by Adrei Rublev (click on the painting for a larger image).

According to Stephen Seamands in Ministry in the Image of God, this painting powerfully conveys the trinitarian circle of God's love and life which is an open, not a closed, circle.

Note the three persons of the Trinity (from left to right: Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  They bear the same face, emphasizing their oneness. Their heads are inclined toward each other, indicating humble, self-effacing love. The Son and Spirit gaze upon the Father and the Father upon the table where a gold chalice holds the symbol of the lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.

Each person holds a staff, indicating equal authority. Each wears a blue robe, the color of heaven, again indicating oneness. Yet each wears additional clothing of differing colors indicating distinction and complementarity in their roles in creation and redemption.

Though none of the persons speaks, you get the impression that there is intimate conversation and communion occurring. A profound sense of enjoyment in seen in their gleaming eyes.

Note the hand positions. The Father raises both of his to bless the chalice. The Son points with two fingers toward the symbol of the lamb in the chalice, acknowledging his divine mission. The Spirit points toward a rectangular opening in the front of the table signifying inclusion of the world in the Trinity's love and life (relics of the martyrs were kept in a niche like this at the altar).

The key message of this painting is the communion of the Trinity that includes all humanity in a Triune circle of love. The circle is open -with a clear sense of gentle invitation to participate in this divine communion - this intimate conversation. The divine communion is an open house of perfect love. Welcome home!