Wholly Holy
Thursday of Pentecost 20
6 October 2016
Perhaps we know God instinctively. We know His goodness, majesty and creative power. But we do not know instinctively the triune reality. That God is three Persons and one Divine essence runs counter to instinct. God is either one or many. To reason there is no ground between Islam and Hinduism. This is why God our heavenly Father does not bind us to reason. He binds us to the Word made flesh. He does not bind us to an idea of Himself. He binds us to Himself.
He who was God of God also becomes man and He is Himself Creator together with the Father working indivisibly. Of the Word made flesh reason knows nothing, indeed reason scorns and scoffs at such a thing. How can God be both three and one? Hilary of Poitiers, like many ancient converts to the faith, is comforted that there are not many gods. He is freed from the fear of the many, through knowing the One who is Three and being bound to Him in the person of Christ.
Ancient philosophers thought that the soul might be saved, but they also taught that the flesh was of no value; the creation of some inferior god and thus incapable of salvation. In Christ Hilary knew a God who does not slough off flesh like a snake shedding its skin, or scorn it, but who Himself creates it and redeems it by taking it as His own in the incarnation of Mary. The redemption brought by the holy Trinity is wholly holy, that is, that both soul and body, flesh and spirit as the original creation of God are redeemed fully and completely by Him. We are saved body and soul; the whole human person is made holy by the holy triune God. We know this only because the Word became flesh, full of grace and truth.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"My soul was weighed down with fear both for itself and for the body. It retained a firm conviction, and a devout loyalty to the true faith concerning God, but had come to harbor a deep anxiety concerning itself and the bodily dwelling which must, it thought, share its destruction. While in this state, in addition to its knowledge of the teaching of the Law and Prophets, it learned the truths taught by the Apostle John in the Gospel (Jn 1:1-14). Here the soul makes an advance beyond the attainment of its natural capacities and is taught more than it had dreamed concerning God. For it learns that its Creator is God of God; it hears that the Word is God and was with God in the beginning. It comes to understand that the Light of the world was abiding in the world and that the world knew Him not; that He came to His own possession and that they that were His own received Him not; but that they who do receive Him by virtue of their faith advance to be sons of God, being born not of the embrace of the flesh nor of the conception of the blood nor of bodily desire, but of God; finally, it learns that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and that His glory was seen, which, as of the Only-begotten from the Father, is perfect through grace and truth.
"In this my soul, trembling and distressed, found a hope wider than it had imagined. First came its introduction to the knowledge of God the Father. Then it learned that the eternity and infinity and beauty which, by the light of natural reason, it had attributed to its Creator belonged also to God the Only-begotten. It did not disperse its faith among a plurality of deities, for it heard that He is God of God; nor did it fall into the error of attributing a difference of nature to this God of God, for it learned that He is full of grace and truth. Nor yet did my soul perceive anything contrary to reason in God of God, since He was revealed as having been in the beginning God with God.
"And test this very truth that whoever will may become a son of God should stagger the weakness of our faith (for most we desire, but least expect, that which from its very greatness we find it hard to hope for), God the Word became flesh, that through His Incarnation our flesh might attain to union with God the Word. And lest we should think that this incarnate Word was some other than God the Word, or that His flesh was of a body different from ours, He dwelt among us that by His dwelling He might be known as the indwelling God, and, by His dwelling among us, known as God incarnate in no other flesh than our own, and moreover, though He had condescended to take our flesh, not destitute of His own attributes; for He, the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, is fully possessed of His own attributes and truly endowed with ours."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 1.10-11
John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)
O Jesus, child of Mary, who felt our human woe; O Savior King of glory, who dost our weakness know: Bring us at length we pray to the bright courts of heaven, and to the endless day. Amen.
For all young children, that through parents and teachers they would experience the embrace of Christ their Lord who redeemed them
For all Lutheran Schools, that they might carry out their calling to teach well about God's creation and teach faithfully about God's redemption in Christ
For Scott Murray on the twentieth anniversary of his installation as Senior Pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, that he would be above reproach, a faithful husband, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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