Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sermon on the Help Meet for Man, that Man might become the Image of God.

St. Luke 1:41-43 “Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

This is a full transcript of a sermon preached December 13, 2011, at St. Paul’s in Kewanee.  For the audio of the sermon, click here.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved the Lord:

She was called blessed among women, the Blessed Virgin. Among all women that ever lived, blessed among women is she. And we recall the first woman , and how she was brought to the man after the man had rejected all the beasts as a suitable help meet for him;  because it was not good that the man should be alone, and the reason it was not good is that God who made his in his image was never alone; from eternity God was never alone, for there was always another within the Godhead.  For there was the Father, and another, the Son, and another, the Holy Spirit, from eternity: the Triune God has never been alone.  So it was not good that the man who was created in the image of God should be alone; so God determined to make a help meet for him; but this help, this helper, would not be meet or suitable for him if it comes from among the beasts or the birds, this help meet for him must be bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. She must be woman from man even as God is from God.  For the Son is from the Father, and the Spirit is from the Father and the Son.  And man is made in the image of God, so woman must be from man.

But it was still not complete; it was not yet good in the sense that it was not yet complete, even when she was made, though this helped.  For now man was more complete, more perfected as the image of God, but not quite there yet.

For the woman and the man after her determined in freedom to take the forbidden fruit. And darkness, the darkness that was enshrouding the entire earth in the beginning now shrouded their foolish hearts, and continues to shroud the hearts of their children even to the present day; which his why we always need repentance. Because our foolish hearts are darkened by the darkness that was in the beginning, that was the absence of light. It was not yet complete; and the man and the woman together in freedom took the forbidden fruit and chose the way of darkness. 

But God was not yet finished. So he sent his Son, born of a woman, a woman full of grace, in contrast to the first woman who was full of freedom. This second Eve, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is full of grace: grace to be the mother of God, to bring forth from her womb fruit for God and man, fruit which is God and man.  She is in the most preeminent sense the helper meet for man by bringing forth from her womb the man who is God. 

So the cycle is complete with the birth of her Son. For her Son is also the Son of the Father in heaven, and so man becomes the image of God.  For this man, our Lord Jesus Christ, is himself at long last both God and man. No darkness in him! For he is the Light of Light, he is the Light that is come into the world that lightens our darkness-shrouded hearts.

The Son of the Virgin is become for us everlasting salvation. She is full of grace and so also we are full of grace in her Son.  The mother of Elizabeth’s Lord is the mother of our Lord. She becomes the mother of God in order that God who came from her might be the completion and fullness of the image of God, come to us. This is why it is that in him we find everlasting salvation. And the image of God is completed in us who are his children. And we rejoice with abiding joy for in him we are completed as man and the image of God.

Behold, I tell you a mystery:  God became man in order that man might become God.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.


Anonymous said...

'God became man that man might become God? This sounds more LDS than LCMS.'

Fr BFE said...

Dear "anonymous," actually it's an expression commonly heard in the early church. LDS teachings routinely twist the truth to say something else, more like what the Gnostics used to do.