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Acts 13:26-31


"Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people."  (ESV)


St. Mary Magdalene

22 July 2014

I have been mildly dismayed by the explosion in the number of books and movies that are based on the vampire theme, such as the Twilight Saga. Even my daughter, although a fan of the Twilight books, expressed her disgust at the explosion of vampire films and television shows. Yet there does seem to be an abiding fascination with being bitten by evil in this vampire business. From where does that fascination arise? It arises from the echoes from the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden at the world's beginning. When Eve bit the bitter fruit she was bitten by death, Satan sucking the life out of her and Adam. She, who was the life of all the living, was now sown with the seed of death. And yet to her was promised the Seed that would make her again the life of all the living (Gn 3:16). So it was that the new Eve became that source of life for all who remained in the thorn-infested world broken by the first Eve. Mary offered her humanity at the Word of God unto the need of all of Eve's children.


Only when the Word of God assumed our broken nature of Mary were Satan's fangs able to be extracted from the flesh of all mankind. Only when the Word became flesh was that wounded flesh able to be healed. Only when the iron fangs of death bit into the hands of the Word on the cross was life placed into the hands of all flesh. Only when the mortal wound was opened in His side was our bleeding staunched. Our enemy tried to suck the life from the Life of all the living again and was thwarted.


The power of Christ's indestructible life destroyed the enemy and broke his tyranny over flesh. Flesh overcame the poverty of the flesh through its being joined with the Word. Flesh gives birth to flesh (Jn 3:6). Flesh is not self-correcting. A mere creature could not save us. Creation is the problem, not the solution. The creature needs saving. Only by being joined to that which was not created and was not subject to creation's decrepitude, could our flesh be healed. In Christ, Satan had bitten off more than he could chew. He choked on Christ. We have shared in that victory by our kinship to the Word made flesh. I suppose then that, I shouldn't be dismayed by the vampire stories, but rather just trust that the greatest enemy of human life has long ago been defeated by the Life of all the living. We no longer live in the twilight, but in the Light.


Athanasius of Alexandria


"If the Son were merely a creature, then man would have remained mortal as before, not being joined to God. For a creature had not joined creatures to God, as though seeking itself one to join it; nor would a portion of the creation have been the creation's salvation, because it needs salvation itself. To provide for this, He sends His own Son, and He becomes Son of Man, by taking created flesh. Since all were under the sentence of death, He, being different from them all, was able to offer Himself for all, offering to death His own body. Henceforth, as if all died through Him, that the word of that death sentence might be accomplished (for 'all died' [2Co 5:14] in Christ), and all through Him might be freed from sin and from the curse which came upon it, and might truly abide forever, risen from the dead and clothed in immortality and incorruption. Because the Word was clothed in the flesh, every bite of the serpent began to be utterly staunched from it.


"Whatever evil sprang from the motions of the flesh, were cut away, and with these, death also was abolished, the companion of sin, as the Lord Himself says, 'The ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me' (Jn 14:3); and as John has written, 'The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil' (1Jn 3:8). And since these were eradicated from the flesh, even we were all thus liberated by the kinship of the flesh to the Word and for the future were joined to the Word. Therefore, since we are  joined to God, we no longer abide on earth; but, as He Himself has said, where He is, there shall we also be (Jn 14:30). Henceforth we shall no longer fear the serpent, for he was brought to nothing when he was assailed by the Savior in the flesh, and heard Him say, 'Get behind Me, Satan' (Mt 16:23), and thus he is cast into the eternal fire. Where Christ is, what fear, what danger can still happen?" 


Athanasius of Alexandria,
Four Discourses Against the Arians, 2.69
Collect for St. Mary Magdalene

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection.  Heal us from all our infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son's unending life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


For Luke George, that Lord Jesus would be with him in the midst of his therapy for leukemia


For all doctors and health professionals, that they would successfully serve those suffering by bringing healing into their lives


For all the military people who are deployed in dangerous places, especially Chaplain Donald Ehrke, that the Lord their God would send the holy angels to guard and guide them
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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