Archive for January 10th, 2021

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, You revealed to Your Church your eternal being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in a Trinity of Persons. May Your Church, with bishops like Basil of Caesarea,Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, receive grace to continue steadfast in the confession of the true faith and constant in our worship of You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Intro:  Basil and the two Gregorys, collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers, were leaders of Christian orthodoxy in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in the later fourth century. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers; Gregory of Nazianzus was their friend. All three were influential in shaping the theology ratified by the Council of Constantinople of 381, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed. Their defense of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and Holy Trinity, together with their contributions to the liturgy of the Eastern Church, make them among the most influential Christian teachers and theologians of their time.(Source: The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Reflection: David Anderson, translator of St. Basil’s On the Holy Spirit, has this cogent observation:

“It is this translator’s opinion that  a good dose of dry logical Cappadocian theology can serve as an effective antidote for the subjective emotionalism in which modern Christians frequently find themselves engulfed.  Doctrine these days is often ignored, taken for granted or replaced with individualism, and perhaps the fathers can help us by reminding us (often with many words!) that God became man to show us the truth which gives life and freedom, a truth which is eternal.”(David Anderson, On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil, 1980, St. Vladimir’s Press)

Much of Christianity is about how I feel and not about what is real, the reality of  truth, doctrine and the teaching and preaching of the same, the reality of sin and the Savior. Doctrine is life because faithful Biblical and Christian doctrine teaches us Christ Jesus.  The Nicene Creed confess the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity and so to avoid the dead ends and quicksand  of false doctrine and heresy.  The Nicene Creed is like GPS as it  shows us the way in the summation of God’s righteous deeds finally and fully in Jesus Christ. The Nicene Creed is Scriptural:  check it out here. The Nicene Creed restates the truth of Scripture.

At the words of the Nicene Creed, “…and was made man”, the practice is to bow or even kneel at the confession of the Incarnation.  Luther thought this was meet, right and so to do. Still is.  After all,  every knee shall bow in heaven or on earth at the Name of Jesus, see  Philippians 2:9-11.  Truth is not found in my heart or your heart, with all the subjectivism of sin which we are prone, but in the true doctrine as the Church Fathers confessed and objectively lived in Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, received by faith:  “for us and our salvation, He came down from heaven”. So when we find ourselves in the “stormy gale”, or the dull doldrums of everyday life, turn towards God’s Word, not man’s word to help and correct life’s passage.

“Instruction begins with the proper use of speech, and syllables and words are the elements of speech. Therefore to scrutinize syllables is not a superfluous task…If a man spurns fundamental elements as insignificant trifles, he will never embrace the fullness of wisdom. ‘Yes’ and “No’ are only two syllables, yet truth, the best of all good things, as well as falsehood, the worst possible evil, are most often expressed by these two small words.” From On the Holy Spirit by Basil the Great

The Lord’s No in His Law is against all ungodliness, sinfulness and idolatry and His Yes in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who bore all our sin and is our Savior for our justification.  The Holy Spirit teaches us Christ and God’s wisdom in Christ, No and Yes, in the school of the Church, Christ’s own body. James 1: 5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”  With the Cappadocian Fathers we too confess the One God: Father, +Son and Holy Spirit.

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