The Saints are Truly Human

Now that the migration of my blog from TypePad to WordPress is complete, I’m beginning to think through the content for a new series that will be called something like “Evangelical to Emerging Church to Eastern Orthodoxy.” I’m hoping to share in this series how a typical Evangelical pastor like myself could leave the local church, write an article called “Detoxing from church” (notice the small “c”), become affiliated with the Emerging Church and, within about five years, find himself on the threshold of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In many ways, this series will be the sequel to “Detoxing from church” that I’ve been promising myself to write for the last couple of years called “Rehabbing to Church” (notice the capital “C”). I’m hoping to share how my search for a church that is missional, incarnational, communal, liturgical, sacramental and historical find its fullest, although not perfect, expression in Eastern Orthodoxy. I’m also hoping to share the issues that I’ve found difficult to embrace during this journey as well.

But in the meantime, I’d like to leave you with something our priest said tonight at Vespers. This past week, during the Great Confession of Repentance , we heard the amazing and moving story of Mary of Egypt. While Easter has come and gone for Western Christianity, Easter for Eastern Orthodoxy isn’t until April 27. So Fr Patrick encouraged us to look to the saints as we experience our frailty and even despair during the last couple of weeks of Lent. While sharing this, Fr Patrick said, “The saints are truly human. It is we who are subhuman.”

This is an absolutely encouraging reminder! Jesus is the model of true humanity. He shows us what Adam and Eve and all of their descendants were to become as the image of God. Jesus then conquered death through death, bringing about our salvation. As 2 Peter 1:3-4 says:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

This is our salvation. Jesus has made available participation in the divine nature (theosis ) for everyone. The saints are those who have followed Christ in theosis to the transformation of their being into the fullness and likeness of Christ as the true human being. And this great cloud of witnesses surrounds us as heaven and earth meet and encourage us forward into our own transformation into Christ’s fullness and likeness.

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2 thoughts on “The Saints are Truly Human

  1. Hi Jason,
    I just read this post and wanted to add that our new friend, who is coming to Orthodoxy from the Catholic church, never knew that the Saints might have had sinful pasts before becoming saints. The story of Mary of Egypt was very moving and inspiring. What a transformation she went through!

    It give me hope that I can be transformed.

  2. To be fully human! Wow! A paradigm shift has been happening in my life regarding this in the last 10 plus years.

    I have an ‘internal video’ of God the Father, Son and Spirit having a fun interaction of ‘Let’s make another one!’
    (I sure don’t grasp it! We people cause Him so much grief! I’d have made enough already!)
    But there They are coming up with more and more unique blueprints of individuals made in His image. Truly what is to be human!

    And then hits the messes of life down here, marring the original blueprint of our individual ‘humanity/ personhood’- created in His image!

    So, now we have the challenge of re-connecting with Him and those He brings into our lives in ways that help us grow up into the fullness of all He originally planned and desires!

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