Readings for Athanasius of Alexandria 373
“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.” (Matthew 10: 26)
I read much about Athanasius while attending seminary. He fought vigorously for his belief in Jesus the Incarnate Word being of the same substance as God the Creator. Five times he went into exile for his personal safety because of his beliefs. Athanasius was very persuasive at the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 wherein we have our Nicene Creed today.
There is some confusion among my sources about which day we remember him. Since I missed him for the second of May I am remembering him today, the third of May.
“Athanasius wrote voluminously: biblical interpretation, theological exposition, sermons, and letters. His treatise, On the Incarnation of the Word of God, is a still widely read classic. In it, he writes, “The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in his great love took to himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way. He became himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which he, the Word of God, did in the body. Human and human-minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they looked in the sensible world, they found themselves taught the truth.”” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for May 2)
While the Prologue to the Gospel of John is not the supporting Gospel for remembering St. Athanasius I think it fits so perfectly. John’s Gospel opens with, “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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” (John 1:1-3) I think these words influenced Athanasius in his understanding of who Jesus is as Jesus is the Incarnation of the Creator. It works for me too.
So how does what we believe, about who Jesus is, affect how we walk our faith life? For me, seeing the Creating Word of God taking on human flesh and sharing everything that we go through makes us special within God’s created world. We are so special that the Creator stepped inside the Creator’s creation to model for us how we should live within creation. We are to let the earth feed us with its nutrients and we should care for the earth as God’s prized possession. And we should care for one another as Jesus modeled this for us regardless of the nationality or belief of the other. And when people feel differently about how we believe we must remember Matthew’s words, “have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.” (Matthew 10: 26)
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty is doing.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.