Lots of times preachers will choose a topic, grab a few verses, and illustrate them to death. We call it a topical sermon. It can be really good, or it can be little more than Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Not sure what you'd call my sermons lately, but as I've been following the Christian calendar this year we've gone from Ascension to Pentecost to Trinity Sunday (today) and so I'm smack dab in the middle of a series on the Trinity. Last week we looked at the Spirit, next week we look at the Faithful Son, and this week we look at the Giving Father. I call them theological sermons. I don't use a lot of illustrations.
Except today. Today I employ the help of some of the best illustrations I've heard or seen for a sermon on the Trinity, focusing on the Giving Father.
We begin with Andrei Rublev's Trinity, seen at left, which depicts the three visitors to Abraham in Genesis 18. We end with it too, since Rublev invested the scene with so much Christian imagery. Today in conclusion we'll let the image beckon us to the Communion Table.
But in between we will listen to a song by Sufjan Stevens called "Abraham". I put a few words and pictures to it as a way of helping people out. I hope Sufjan doesn't mind. The song captures Genesis 22 more wonderfully than any amount of exposition could.
The story is often told to highlight Abraham's faith (or maybe Isaac's). Today we look back at it, through Christ, and see it as an early lesson in the Trinity.
If you are captivated by Sufjan Stevens at all, I highly recommend Seven Swans, or his recent epic release, Come Feel the Illinoise.
And of course, there is plenty you can read about Rublev's Trinity. For more on Andrei Rublev himself, all I really know is to see Tarkovsky's film.