Saturday, July 16, 2011
Fellowship with God in Holy Communion
In this small chapel, where a priest is celebrating Mass, the Holy Trinity Icon is displayed behind the altar. It is was painted by the great Russian Orthodox saint and artist, Andrei Rublev. It is called "the Hospitality of Abraham," depicting the visit of the three angels to Abraham and Sarah in the Book of Genesis. The angels also represent the members of the Holy Trinity.
God as Trinity means that there is fellowship within the Godhead, relationships of mutual love. For Christians to be in union with God means to be brought into communion with the life of the Holy Trinity.
Abraham and Sarah served a meal to the three visiting angels in the Genesis story. In Abraham and Sarah's culture, as in Jesus' time and culture, sharing a meal was a sign of communion, of fellowship.
The Holy Trinity Icon invites us to share in the life of the Trinity. The Holy Eucharist is communion with the Body and Blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10.16,17), communion with God, and each other.
For a Christian, communion with God is not only realized in individual prayer and contemplation, but in the Christian Community's primary act of communal worship. The Holy Eucharist - the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Great Offering, the Lord's Supper, the Mass, the Divine Liturgy, the Qurbono, as it is variously called- is not a bare memorial but real fellowship and communion with a God Who is truly Present. The Grace and Presence of God in the Sacrament transforms us, so that we too, are deified, and "partake in the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4)."