Creation and the Incarnation of our Lord
Presenter: Alice Linsley
St. Gregory of Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, wrote: “The incarnation of the Word of God was the method of deliverance most in keeping with our nature and weakness, and most appropriate for Him Who carried it out, for this method had justice on its side, and God does not act without justice.”
The Holy One loves matter and, though He is uncreated, He deemed to take the form of a created being, being fully human and fully God. The Incarnation of our Lord is mysterious and essential to our Faith. God becoming flesh, restores the dignity of flesh. When God in the flesh stepped into the Jordan waters, all the waters were renewed. Water is no longer simply water. Wine no longer ordinary wine. Bread no longer ordinary bread. In His resurrection the corruption of death is overcome. No dust and ashes were found in the tomb. He is living Flesh and the guarantee of immortality for those who trust in Him.
The Incarnation: Threat to and Therapy for Sin
Presenter: Bishop FitzSimons Allison
The vulnerability to hurt and suffering following God’s becoming flesh is an abiding threat to human nature but, at the same time, the only hope for health, joy, and freedom. All gnostic heresies seek to avoid suffering by denying the full humanity of Christ and the opposite heresies place their hope in the power of the human will. These dynamics are shown in scripture, the Ecumenical Councils, and in contemporary belief and unbelief.
The Incarnation in Liturgy and Life
Presenter: Father Arnold Klukas
Early in my Christian walk a spiritual director gave me a wise and wonderful overview of what various Christian denominations have contributed to the wider Church: “My son, worship with the Lutherans if you want to enter into Christ’s Passion, worship with the Orthodox if you want to enter in to Christ’s Resurrection, or experience Christ’s Incarnation among the Anglicans.” From the earliest days of Christianity in the British isles there has been an ongoing emphasis on the significance of the incarnation in the worship and life of the Anglican Communion. But why is this so, and how is it expressed in our liturgy and life today?
Building upon the theological presentations of professor Linsley and Bishop Allison, Father Klukas will explain how deeply intertwined how Anglicans pray is with what Anglicans believe. Our public worship and personal devotion are “lived theology,” and we identify ourselves by a Book of Common Prayer rather than a book of common dogmatics. While institutional history has its part to play in the development of the Anglican Communion, it is the foundational belief in the Incarnation that gives us our unique contribution to the Church universal. In the Incarnation God became human, so that humans could be in relationship with God. The importance of this is two-fold; relationship implies knowing and loving the ‘other,’ and loving the ‘other’ means accepting in love what the ‘other’ loves. The Holy Trinity is a communion of persons bound together in love, and the Son draws us into that intimacy of the Trinity because he has brought our very humanity into that unity.
The Church continues Christ’s incarnation in the midst of this present world, even as the presence of Christ’s ascended body brings our humanity into the presence of God. Our earthly worship is both an anticipation of the glory of Heaven, and Christ renews his presence among us in each Eucharist we celebrate. The Incarnation also challenges us to co-operate with the Trinity in creating a community of love that becomes a conduit of the holiness of Heaven for the healing of the brokenness of earth.
This presentation will move from the theological to the practical, and from the spiritual to the physical. God became a human being, and we as embodied persons must come to know God in and through our bodies. The Incarnation has implications for our common worship, but it also has far-reaching applications to our life in the here and now. Through visual aids and physical demonstrations we will hopefully ‘incarnate’ within ourselves what the Incarnation holds out to us.