Friday, August 07, 2009

father abraham where art thou?

Rublevs Icon, painted by a 15th century Russian monk, is a well-known depiction of the Trinity. Based on the account of Abraham welcoming three strangers in Genesis 18, it is an attempt to express what the communing love of God. (A short (children’s) talk I’ve done is here.)

I’ve loved the Icon, finding it very helpful for connecting with God.

But in recent times, as I’ve been pulling the material together for this conference teaching topic of faith:full families, I’ve become disturbed.

Where’s Abraham? Why isn’t he in the icon? He’s been written out of his own story.

Which seems a great shame. Because it seems to me that Father Abraham needs all the help he can get from God, to be sitting among God’s communing love as much as possible. Father Abraham is an appalling parent, sending Ishmael away and offering his wife as a sexual plaything to Pharaoah.

Faith:full families desperately need to be able to imagine God sitting around their everyday, ordinary, kitchen tables and in that sense, Rublev does a disservice by making Abraham absent from the table of Genesis 18.

Posted by steve at 10:56 AM


  1. Abraham was standing nearby “under a tree”. Why is it expressly mentioned that he stood under a tree? Reminds one of Nathaniel sitting under his figtree….Enjoyed your picture interpretation. Painted a copy of this icon once upon a time. Looks like Rublev pared things down to the essential. He also has just one cup in his picture where the other picture (see next comment) has three.

    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:11 pm


    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:14 pm


    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:15 pm


    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:18 pm


    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  6. And a bit of music (almost) on the subject. One of my Dylan favorites, but one does not hear it very often…………………………………………………………………..(Sorry for taking up so much space, but when I try to get everything in one box, it all overlaps. Have not had any computer-training so far.)

    Comment by Ingrid — August 7, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

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