Daily Devotional reflections

As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.

Sunday 7th June 2020


[The Trinity (also called The Hospitality of Abraham) Andrei Rublev, 15th century]

'The being of God'

“When they saw him (Jesus) they worshipped him but some doubted.” (Matt 24:17)

It is now almost 3 months since we ceased to hold formal services of worship in the Church because of the coronavirus pandemic.  From all that we have learnt about this virus it seems unlikely that we will be able to return to worship in the Church for some weeks yet.  What have we learnt in this time about God?  About ourselves?  About worship?  What might help us to continue to worship God in our own homes over the next weeks and beyond?

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the being of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 


Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Genesis 18

The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.


Our reading from Matthew’s Gospel, is one of the few places in the Bible in which reference is made to the Trinitarian nature of God in a format that we use all the time.  Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples and baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  So how does the Trinity help us to understand who God is and what difference does or should this make to us in the Church and in the world?

A picture that people have found helpful in reflecting on the Trinity is Rublev’s icon.  Dating from the 15th century, the icon shows the three angels who visited Abraham at the oak of Mamre.  It was common in Rublev’s day, to use that story of Abraham’s encounter with God as an illustration of the Trinity.   And Rublev’s icon is full of symbolism that is designed to lead the viewer to meditate on the Trinitarian God.  In brief that symbolism points to the differences in the angels pictured around the table but also to the unity of love that exists amongst them. And that is what the doctrine of the Trinity is about - the diversity and unity of love that is God’s nature.

One Christian monk writes that “Rublev's icon gives us a glimpse of the house of perfect love".  This is what he writes  "Andrei Rublev painted this icon not only to share the fruits of his own meditation on the mystery of the Holy Trinity but also to offer his fellow monks a way to keep their hearts centred in God while living in the midst of political unrest. The more we look at this holy image with the eyes of faith, the more we come to realize that it is painted not as a lovely decoration for a convent church, nor as a helpful explanation of a difficult doctrine, but as a holy place to enter and stay within.

Rublev created his icon for people who were struggling to remain focussed on God in a period of political unrest.  But still today the icon continues to speak to people.  As we struggle to remain focussed on God in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, violent unrest in many parts of the world, suffering and grief closer to home, or even the petty quarrels and major struggles that daily life holds, here is a picture that is capable of drawing our eyes towards God.  And it does so because it points us to the doctrine of the Trinity – the truth which gives expression to the human experience of God as one-in-three and three-in one.

But why should this be important?  And what has this to do with the way we live our lives.  Well first of all the doctrine of the Trinity is a reminder to a Church, of the diversity which exists within the very nature of God – the one- in- three.  The Church has always been made up of people of different views and understandings - some filled with doubting questions, others not seeking to question anything, others comfortable that their questions and wondering are part of their faith. From the very outset, as we heard earlier there was a mixed response to Jesus among the community of faith - “they worshipped him but some doubted”

A Church which is not diverse in its thinking and practice fails to take into account the diversity within the heart of God, who is not only Creator, but also redeemer and sustainer.  And that takes us onto the second practical implication of the doctrine of the Trinity.  And it flows from the unity of love that exists within the very nature of God – the three –in- one.  If there is community within the very nature of God, then it follows that community is also central to the nature of humanity.  Community is essential to the well-being of people created in the image of God.  


Pointers for Prayer

  • The NHS, its staff in hospitals and GP practices as well as the other emergency services and volunteers
  • Scientists and others engaged in the struggle against Covid-19
  • The Government and Scottish Parliament as they seek to manage the pandemic
  • Those affected or bereaved by the corona virus
  • Family, friends and neighbours, those most affected by the lock-down and those finding it difficult to move forward
  • All those in education as they seek to reorganise schools for the safe return of children to classes
  • Other people and situations who are in your hearts today. 

  • The Church that we might be renewed and revived and continue to offer a faithful witness to Christ through this time

Almighty God
You dwell in glory
Far beyond all we can imagine
Yet you are with us as we pray

God our Father
Creator eternal
Through your love
you brought into being creation
In all its wonder and beauty.
You made human beings in your own image
And you love us with an everlasting love
You inspire our praise and worship
In all places and at all times.
You care for us
and on that care we depend in faith
Even though sometimes we doubt.
Father God
We worship and adore you.

God in Christ
Saviour and Redeemer
You came into this world as one of us
And you continually come to us
where we are
Sharing our joys and sorrows
Our pain and our death
And by your resurrection
You open the way to new life for all
Inspiring hope
In the darkest of places
Jesus Christ, Son of God
We worship and adore you.

God the Spirit
You are the life and love of God
in everyone
You prompt our wonder
You fire us with your freedom
You fill us with your power
You bring order to our chaotic lives
You sustain us with your love
That wells up in our hearts
An everlasting spring of life-giving water
Holy Spirit of God
We worship and adore you.

Lord God
Three in one
One in three
Come to stir and move
to heal and challenge…
Come as one to make us one…
As we worship you today
 Gather us into Your presence,
 Let Your arms sweep around us
that we might nest in the warmth of Your love…
And safe there,
help us to confess to you our faults…
Our failings…
The hurts we have felt and those we have inflicted…
 We are not proud of all we say or do –
but in the light of Your gracious and generous forgiveness,
may we find the courage
to let You cleanse and renew us
in thought, word and deed…
and fill us with your peace

Then turned around, 
May we walk with You, our Lord,
Into each new day with hope
and the promise of Your eternal presence.
These things we ask
in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who taught us when we pray, to say:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours
now and forever.


Go with God to be disciples,
and to make disciples.
Not knowing all the answers,
not promising to give all the answers;
but content to know,
and confirm to others,
that God is present,
in all the mix of certainty and doubt
faith and fear, sadness and joy,
that is this human life
And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Remain with us now and forevermore