“The Trinity” is considered the most famous icon of the Russian Orthodox church. The other name for this artwork is “The Hospitality of Abraham,” for it’s based on the story from Genesis that was our focus text during worship yesterday. I have been fascinated by this painting ever since first seeing a photo of it during my time in seminary. I would love to make a pilgrimage to experience it in person someday. But today, that feels like a nearly impossible feat.
When we look out into the world, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the places where help is needed. This can weigh especially heavy on the hearts and minds of those, like us, who have come to know the transformative power of God’s love. It’s especially helpful then, when stories of God’s love in action get a little light shined upon them.
There are lots of board games where players may find themselves going back to the beginning or starting point during the course of the game. This mechanic is often used to create tension, add strategy, or increase the overall challenge. Have you ever played Sorry!, Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, or The Game of Life? That last one fittingly names a reality with which we all can identify, sometimes life just takes you back to the beginning where you have to start all over again.
Over the course of the last few weeks, a small trickle has grown into a gushing current. It has acted much like the rising waters of a flood. Fortunately, also like the behavior of a flood, it seems to have crested in the last few days. Thankfully, unlike a flood, this deluge is filled with considerably more delight. I’m talking of course of the near complete takeover of our social media news feeds with first-day-of-the-new-school-year photographs.
How many times has this been asked over the course of the last few days, or even this whole summer? The extremes of higher-than-average temperatures and the accompanying humidity here in Minnesota combine to make for some pretty big challenges for us and our neighbors.
To welcome in the month of September today feels like a forced goodbye to summer. I’m confident that the students and teachers in our lives would agree. Of course, I had experienced a particularly enjoyable summer as I was on sabbatical for six weeks of July and August. Combined with the first six weeks I was away in April and May, gave me a real taste of a schoolteacher-like holiday. I hope the teachers are feeling just as rejuvenated for their return to work as I did.