Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Linglestown, Pennsylvania, USA
May 2 — Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373
(And Jesus said) "When they persecute you in one town, flee to the
next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns
of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above the teacher,
nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like
the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master
of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered,
and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the
dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the
housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two
sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.
So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Everyone
therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before
my Father in heaven."
Athanasius was one of the champions of Christian orthodoxy against the
Arians, who denied that Christ was "one in Being with the Father"
and claimed that "there was a time when the Son was not."
Therefore the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God
comes to our realm, even though he was not far from us before. For no
part of creation is without him; he has filled everything everywhere,
yet remains present with his Father. Nonetheless, in condescension he
comes to show mercy to us and to visit us. And seeing the race of rational
creatures on their way to perish and death reigning over them by corruption
. . . he took pity on our race, had mercy on our weakness, condescended
to our corruption, and . . . takes for himself a body -- a body no different
from ours . . . And . . . he handed it over in death in the stead of all
and in mercy offered it to the Father. . . . Let all marvel that by so
ordinary a means things divine have been manifested to us and that by
death immortality has reached us all, and that by the Word becoming flesh
the universal providence has been known and its giver and maker the very
Word of God. For he was made human that we might be made God . . . and
he endured the insolence of mortals that we might inherit immortality.
Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, and to another the word of faith. We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Athanasius, and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth which we have seen in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN
-- Pastor Stickley
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