The Divine Welcome.
This is one of the most famous icons in the world.
I hope to see it in my own lifetime.
It recalls the story of when Abraham received 3 visitors who came to his home (Genesis 18).
There’s a lot of mystery to this story.
You start to get the sense that these visitors are something so much more.
We discover that Abraham played host to God Almighty.
Already in the Hebrew Scriptures,
we have a hint, a sneak preview,
of the three-in-one Relationship that God is.
And so the iconographer clothes each person around the table in a way that says,
“Father, Son, Spirit.”
But today, what I want you to see,
is how each person of the Trinity is postured.
Notice how each person is looking at a different member around the table.
Notice how each person is gesturing to a different member around the table.
Visually, we’re experiencing the dynamic life of the Triune God.
Each member is enjoying the other.
Drawing attention to the other.
You can’t look at just one member too long
before your eyes move to the other,
and then the other.
On and on it goes.
One more thing…
The iconographer employs a technique called Forced Perspective.
Maybe you’ve noticed that the angles of the table and the horizon are a bit off…
a bit strange.
That’s on purpose.
It has an effect of pulling you in.
What happens is that if you look at this icon long enough,
You realize that there is a spot at the table
Do you see your place at the table?
At the Center of the Universe is a Relationship.
The best of all Relationships.
A Relationship to which the best of human relationships,
are a mere sneak preview of this Relationship.
And through the life and ministry of Jesus,
God has invited you and I into this Relationship.
There is a place at the table for you.
And so Dallas Willard can say:
It is being included in the eternal life of God that heals all wounds and allows us to stop demanding satisfaction. What else matters of a personal nature once it is clear that you have been included?
The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard – pg 341
What if church communities reflected this wonderful reality at the heart of all things?
I suspect that it would begin with each of us first experiencing the Divine Welcome for ourselves.
Once we've tasted this, and then God brings others across our path - those who have been excluded and have become weary with empty pursuits and small stories -
we can say to them,
"Come with me - I've experienced something that will fit you so much better!"