Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Meditating Upon Scripture

~Here is a wonderful essay by James Kushiner of Touchstone about the unity of Scripture.
Reading Scripture is sometimes like peeling an onion with infinite layers. Of all the worlds "literature," is there any like it at all? Even close? I was reminded of the multiple layers and interwoven themes, types, echoes of the old in the New Testament, while reading the assigned Scriptures in our Daily Devotional Guide lately. Genesis 4 opens with the World's First Baby Ever, that is Cain, born to Eve, the First Son of Man (Adam), if you will. We all know how that turned out. The first baby born into a family murdered his brother and the earth received its first taste of the blood of homicide. Now we just celebrated the birth of the Baby Jesus, child of the New Eve, the Son of Man. This Son of Man, as it were, rather than pour out his brthoer's blood on the ground, pours out in his blood for his brothers and descends into the earth. In the traditional iconography of the Eastern church, the Son stands trampling the gates of hell, raising up fallen Adam and Eve. There's more: in the background, on the right side (Eve's side), we see a young man, also raised from the dead: Righteous Abel.

By the end of chapter five of Genesis, two lines of mankind are in place: those of Cain, and those of Seth, with the last named descendant being Noah. That's the reading for January 5, the Eve of Epiphany, which in the Eastern church is the Baptism of Christ. So the next day, January 6, I read about the Flood of Judgment on all flesh, which "corresponds to baptism," as taught in 2 Peter. In the West, Epiphany is the Adoration of the Magi, or manifestation to the Gentiles. Noah can link the two Epiphanies, as he is the one baptized in the Flood, but also the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the ancestors of all the nations, with the Jewish nation one chosen from the many. Baptism is a crucial step in making "all nations" his disciples. The Magi, representing the nations, adore the Child, who after his Baptism, as the Father's Heir of the Vineyard that is Israel, offers its wine to the world, that is, his saving blood, unlike Noah and his sons, for whom the new vineyard after the Flood became the occasion for a new fall into sin via drunkenness and a son's disrespect to the father.

Every thing "got wrong" in the Old Testament is set right by the New Adam. A rich book written by a dear departed friend of the Fellowship of St. James, Fr. Paul Quay,The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God,got it right. Christ is the Head of the Corner, the head of a new creation, the re-capitulation of all.

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