My dear father confessor, Fr. Thomas Edwards, whenever asked what his favorite feast is, will always respond that it is the one we are celebrating that day. Each feast renews in us the reality of that feast. And so when we enter into Pascha we enter anew into our Lord’s resurrection. And just as all feasts are animated by this Feast of feasts, so the vivifying effects of Christ our God’s passion comes to as again through the intermediaries of the other, lesser feasts. Fr. Tom loved to tell on Theophany about the feast as it was celebrated in a Yogoslav concentration camp by the then Fr. Vladimir (later Bishop Basil) Rodzianko. On that day the prisoners marched in a circles, and Fr. Vladimir stood in the middle of the circles, praying the service for the blessing of waters, even though the only water they had was that of the mud in their boots, and the snow falling from the sky. But Fr. Vladimir could proclaim: “This day this snow has become for you the waters of Jordan.” Thus, by the power of the Spirit the grace of the Jordan came to those even in the midst of the tyrant’s prison. Another dear friend, Cyril Quatrone, told me that whenever he read the story of a martyr, that martyr’s passion, he would always pray for this martyr, since God, who dwells in eternity, can take his feeble prayers and use it to strengthen that martyr, e.g., St. Ignatius of Antioch, at the hour of his trial, even though his trial is long past.
These two points, that we enter anew into the grace of every feast, and that we are linked through Christ and the power of the Spirit with all Christians at all times, is true because through the power (energia) of God mediated to us through the single Person of the Son of God, and vivified in us by the Life giving Spirit, we transcend time and begin our entrance into the eternal Kingdom. This also helps us understand what is said at the end of every Divine Liturgy, and indeed all the services of the Church, “Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!” In praying this we ask again the Mother of God (Theotokos) to give her ascent to the words of the angel Gabriel, and to bring to us anew the Incarnation of our God. We also confess that Mary truly bore God in His human nature (for now the Second Person of the Trinity has a human nature just as surely as he has a Divine one). To deny her the title Mother of God is deny that we are united to God
I thought about this as I saw someone post this piece of ludicrous tripe on Facebook. Herein one R. C. Sproul, a man I once heard speak the most bizarre sentiments about the properties of deity that not even the most austere of Calvinists would ever scruple to pronounce (that God plays his mercy off of his justice so we can be saved), here scruples to openly embrace not merely Nestorius’s heresy, but indeed even aspects of Arius’s. God did not die, he says, and then trundles out the usual Nestorian inanities about the impassability of the divine nature. But he then goes on to announce that it was the human nature of Christ that wrought our salvation. Get the auto de fe ready, boys, for this is exactly what Athanasius pointed out about Arius: a creature is his redeemer. And this is what St. Cyril was decrying as well, that in the Eucharist we partake of the very flesh and blood of the Son of God, and not that of some person united to the Word. Christ rises, says St. Irenaeus, not as a mere man through the power of God, but in that God himself, the Logos of the Father, died, he conquers death. This is what we await on this coming Sunday, when Christ our God tramples down death by death.
I wonder why these sola scriptura types who keep complaining about we Orthodox going beyond the text can’t read St. Paul’s words about the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory, or of St. Peter’s that “Christ has suffered in the Flesh?” Let’s go further into Holy Week!