We began the Season of Advent on Sunday! The church is decorated with the Christmas tree, Advent wreath, poinsettias, and the beautiful Nativity seen on the communion table. Shellee Riggio shared personal words about “hope” (our theme for the day) and then danced a stunning American Sign Language interpretation to the song “I Hope You Dance.” Kathleen Dahill sung a perfect solo for the day and taught the congregation a new song about waiting for the Lord (another Advent theme).
In my message, I talked about preparation for the many ways Christ comes to us (and, yes, another Advent theme!). I said that it was a bit like when my son Palani used to visit me after I moved to Dallas and how I anticipated and prepared for each visit. It was also very much like when he came to live with me full-time in California just before his junior year in high school. God, in Christ, comes to us over and over again, and yet, God also comes to stay and never leaves. The question to ask is: “How do we constantly prepare for his presence among us—today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives?”
I also shared a famous Russian painting by the 15th century artist Andrei Rublev called “The Holy Trinity.” (There is a picture of it below.) It is a very different image of the Trinity than the pictures I saw growing up, in college where I studied philosophy and religion, and in seminary. In most of those pictures, the figures are typically very masculine: an old man with a long white beard, a younger man with a long brown or blonde beard, and a dove or other figure or symbol for the Holy Spirit. The images in those pictures also indicate an authoritarian God, and frankly, a Caucasian God. In Rublev’s iconic painting, however, we see three figures sitting around a table enjoying a meal from a common vessel. Their heads are bowed in humility to one another and they sit as equals.
On the front of the table, in the center just below the bowl, there is a rectangle with remnants of glue. Some art historians believe there was once a mirror attached there. Whenever someone saw the painting, they saw themselves as part of this humble and intimate communion of God! During the Season of Advent, may we remind ourselves that God is relational, intimate and inviting. What more hope for the world do we need than that?
Kahu Alan Akana
“The Holy Trinity” By Andrei Rublev
Our Kahu (Pastor) offers a weekly message in church most Sundays during the year. Click HERE to see a video of a recent message from Sunday morning. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.