I do not have to fight a battle

Read time: approx. 1:30 minute

After two decades of contemplating the mystery of Rublev’s sacred icon of Holy Trinity, I still have not exhausted its depths, nor its capacity to draw me in and change my heart.


Every morning, now,
I rise before dawn,
light the oil lamp,
behold the lovely faces
of the three angelic figures
seated at Abram’s table,
awaiting Sarai’s feast.

The one in the center,
in the rabbi robe, hand
resting on the table, two
fingers extended,
quietly reveals who he is.

Two fingers.
You catch it if you are
paying attention:
divine and human,
not one or the other
but the way we each
were meant to be … One.

And what I notice,
in these early mornings
before I steel myself for what
the news might bring about
our precious world’s new
forms of brokenness, is this:
the three faces are all the same
gentle face, attentive and
peace-filled, attentive and
loving, attentive in silent
conversation that pours out
upon the world.

Beloved One pouring forth heart
to Abba, Abba pouring forth
heart to Spirit, Spirit pouring
forth heart, hand extended in
holy benediction, upon this
one precious, hurting yet
hopeful world.

And I discover that this
is what the predawn hour
is for: to gaze upon these
three lovely faces that have never
stopped pouring forth Love
and only Love upon this
one precious world,
this hurting yet hopeful
world which I bring
with all my heart
into my morning prayer.

I do not have to fight a battle.
I have only to love,
because this is the only thing
the holy hidden Three in One
know how to do.

They show me how it’s done—
my discipline of heart,
of mind, of spirit,
for the new day.

Detail from Andrei Rublev, Holy Trinity

Find my essay on Holy Trinity, “Meditation on Three Words,” in my book Touching the Reign of God.

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