Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to travel to Dallas twice. One of these trips was to share the story of Resurrection Online and what we have learned to a clergy development group of executive pastors from across Texas. It was a great blessing to be with them and share ideas about how technology might be a tool for helping connect people with God. You can check out the presentation that I prepared for them at goo.gl/yGFHL. On that trip, I had the chance to share a meal with David Alexander, one of the pastors at First UMC Mansfield.
The second trip was instigated by my membership on the UMR Communications Board of Directors. This is my first opportunity to serve in this type of leadership role. I have learned a lot over the past several months and am looking forward to several more years of serving. On this trip, I had the opportunity to meet Paul Rasmussen, who leads Cornerstone, a worship community at Highland Park UMC. It was great to met him and hear about the way that God has been at work among that community. It was a blessing then to connect with Kevin Watson and Bill Gepford. I met Kevin at Wesley Theological Seminary and Bill worked as an intern with Resurrection Online this past summer.
It was good to be present for church stuff. It was, perhaps, more valuable for me to build relationships with people who care about Jesus and the church – people that I care about. Renewal of the church will be built on relationships – with God and others.
Have you looked at Rublev’s icon as an image of the Trinity? The picture of the table and an empty seat as an invitation to us to participate in God’s community? It also illustrates a non female / male image because it’s difficult to tell the difference. Interested to hear your thoughts.
There is rich symbolism in this icon which depicts both the three visitors to Abraham (Genesis 18) and the Trinity. There is a great deal of thought and study about the possibilities of which person of the Trinity each of those in the icon represent. You can find an in depth exploration of the icon here or many other locations online.
I had not before considered the empty seat (where the viewer is) as an invitation to be in relationship with God, but now that you have brought it up I agree. In this icon gender is not clearly evident and I believe that we cannot characterize God as being either male or female. I believe that the Son, Jesus, is male. I believe that Father is an appropriate term for God and I also believe that mother would be an appropriate description for God. God exhibits characteristics of both genders in relating to all of creation.
This question came out of a young adult small group taster last Sunday morning in which I taught about the question “What is the Trinity?”