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EXCERPT: Divine and Healing Path

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Divine and Healing Bath (Jim Rankin, Bishop Elijah)

From the first chapter–

…the Father Almighty

God is Father in Jesus Christ, and in us. God the One, who is the foundation of godhood, begets the Christ the Logos, the eternal Word, and in the world of time, creates us, and adopts us as children:

“For you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26–29)

Christ, who is consubstantial (of the same essence) with the Father as to his god nature, is consubstantial with us as to his humanity; and thus his Incarnation is the beginning of a great mystery, which is revealed in the fatherhood of God, Father to the Word in the divine order and Father to Jesus in the human order; Our Father.

We receive the Spirit that leads us to cry: “Father!”

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba!’ (‘Father!’) Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God, through Christ.” (Galatians 4:1–7)

East or West, almost all the great eucharistic liturgies place the “Our Father” just after the prayers of consecration, and before Holy Communion. This is an essential part of the kerygma, the apostolic tradition of the Church, whereby we affirm the adoption we have as sons and heirs of God in Christ Jesus. (Divinization.)

Our approach is humble, and without arrogance or pride. We do not presume, but neither are we shy with regard to the Father. We are God’s holy people, of whom it is said: “Holy things to the holy!” (Chrysostom Liturgy) We stand where we have a right to stand: in our Father’s house, at our Father’s table.

“Formed by the Word of God, and taught by divine precept,” says the Roman Catholic Mass, “we make bold to say: ‘Our Father…’” We have heard Gospel and Epistle, listened to a sermon or homily, proclaimed the Mystery of Faith during the consecratory prayers of the Canon; and now, as Christ himself gave us the words, we pray the “Our Father” before taking Communion.

“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they shall be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

“In this manner, therefore, pray:

“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
In earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:7–13)

The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is typical of the Eastern liturgies, and makes the same point the Roman Mass does, that we acquire an intimate confidence in God, in His mercies and compassions, having a spirit of adoption that allows us to approach the Throne of Grace: “Unto you we commend our whole life and our hope, O Master who loves mankind; and we beseech you, and pray you, and supplicate you: make us worthy to partake of the heavenly and terrible Mysteries of this sacred and spiritual table, with a pure conscience: unto remission of sins, unto forgiveness of transgressions, unto communion of the Holy Spirit, unto inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven, unto boldness toward You, and not unto judgment or condemnation.

“And vouchsafe, O Lord, that with boldness and without condemnation we may dare to call upon you, the heavenly God, as Father, and say: ‘Our Father…’”

And this affirmation immediately arises out of our spiritual preparation, and immediately before Holy Communion. The “Our Father” is a participation of the people in the divine life, and the proclamation of the apostolic witness as our own. It is kerygma, not catechesis.

The relationship of God the Father and God the Son demonstrates our relationship to God, by adoption: we are called upon to know, love and serve God, as a son would his father. And not only we as individuals, but we as the Israel of the Lord of the Old Covenant, and the Church, the Israel of the New Covenant.

“You, O Lord, are our Father; our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.” (Isaiah 63:16)

“For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9)

“Have we not all one Father?” (Malachi 2:10)

“Do not call anyone on earth your father: for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)

Until, at last, God the Father speaks to us through His Son, in whom we have the adoption:

“For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, today have I begotten You’? [Psalm 2:7] And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son’? [2 Samuel 7:14]” (Hebrews 1:5)