A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Prayers in Easter: 1, 2, 3 ~ All Together Now

God, our Creator ~ God, our Redeemer ~ God, our Sanctifier,
     You, 3 in 1, are simply yet complexly God.  It is to each, all, and only You that I pray at this moment. My head cannot understand or define You in Your three-in-one-ness, but if I could, then You could not be You. Let me not be too concerned with the depth and breadth of all the philosophical and theological stuff that others much smarter than me, like Your servant Athanasius, have argued over. Just help me to remember, that each day in my life, all I only need is You. amen.

Renowned, Significant, Profound, Influential  there are too few superlatives to fully contain the work of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373) who is celebrated today. At age 30 he became the 20th Bishop (or Archbishop or Patriarch) of Alexandria, Egypt with a tenure of 45 years. He is also known as  Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor and, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic. He has been named a Doctor of the Church by the Roman Catholic Church, Father of Orthodoxy by the Eastern Orthodox, and Father of the Canon by Protestant theologians.  
              Despite being exiled 5 times by 4 Roman Emperors for political and theological reasons, it is his Trinitarian theology that defines mainstream Christianity today.
             His first great theological struggle was against Arius, a priest from Libya, at the first Council of Nicaea in the year 325.  Arius denied the divinity of Christ and his "Arian" orthodoxy was the prevalent theology of the day. It was denounced and ultimately trounced by Athanasius who argued for the dual nature of Jesus ~ human AND divine ~ declaring that only one who was fully human could atone for human sin and only one who was fully divine could have the power to save us. He said, that "Those who maintain 'There was a time when the Son was not [divine]' rob God of his Word, like plunderers." Arianism is considered "heresy" today. 
             Athanasius' view of the Incarnation is what informed the structure of the Nicene Creed that is used today and he was the first to identify the 27 books that make up the New Testament canon in use today as well. Not without his detractors even today, nonetheless, even if you've never heard his name, if you are Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Coptic Catholic ~ and any other Christian who reads the New Testament, you have the benefit of this man's work.  Diminutive in stature, a giant in the history of Christianity.

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