Come and See

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nick cobb

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Nov 15, 2007, 1:00:17 PM11/15/07
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The Christmas-Epiphany season in the Orthodox Church begins with a
forty-day fasting period which starts on the feast of "the holy and
all-praised apostle Philip." For this reason Christmas lent is sometimes
called "the fast of Philip."1 Although the coincidence of the feast of
the apostle Philip and the beginning of the Christmas fast is
accidental, humanly speaking, the eyes of faith may see in it a certain
providence of God.

According to St John's gospel, Philip is one of the first of the
apostles to
be called by Jesus. On the day after the calling of Andrew and another
of St
John the Baptist's disciples, who, since he is not named, is probably
the
apostle John himself, Philip is called by the Lord. Like Andrew who,
went
and called his brother Simon Peter, Philip goes and calls his friend
Nathanael. The story is told in the gospel in this way:

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And He found Philip and
said to
him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and
Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found Him of
whom
Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son
of
Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth
?"
Philip said to him, "Come

[1The feast of the apostle Philip is celebrated on November 14. The
Orthodox
church does not traditionally use the term Advent for the Christmas
fast.
The word, however, is a perfectly good one, belonging to the common
tradition of the Church in the West. It simply means "Coming."]

and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold,
an
Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Nathanael said to I-urn, "How do
You
know me ?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were
under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are
the
Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered him, "Because I
said
to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see
greater
things than these." And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you

will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon
the Son of man." (Jn 1:43-51)

The story is typical of St John's gospel. The people first encounter the
man
"Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." They meet Him as a man, the one
"of
whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote." Then they go
further.
What they come to see is that this man is not merely the promised
prophet
and teacher; He is the Anointed, the Christ, the Messiah, the King of
Israel. He is the Son of God. Indeed, He is God Himself in human form.
The pattern in St John's gospel is always the same. We see it in the
narratives of the paralytic at the pool, the Samaritan woman at the
well,
the boy born blind, the en-counter of Martha and Mary with Jesus at the
tomb
of Lazarus. The sequence of events is identical. It is a necessary
sequence,
not only historically, but spiritually and mystically.

We must first come to see Jesus the man. We must come to know Him as a
concrete human being, a Jew, a rabbi, a prophet. We must meet Him as
Mary's
child, the carpenter's son, the Nazarene. Then, in this encounter, when
our
eyes are open and our hearts are pure, we can come to see "greater
things."
We can come to know Him not simply as a teacher, but the Teacher; not
simply
as a prophet, but the Prophet. We can come to know Him not merely as a
son
of man, but as the Son of man foretold by the prophet Daniel.2 We can
come
to see Him not simply as a son of God, but as the Son of God, begotten
of
the Father before all ages.3 We can come to recognize Him as God's Word
in
human flesh, as God's Image in human form.4 And finally, we can come to
see
Him as God Himself; not the Father but the Father's Son, divine with the

Father's own divinity, sent into the world for its salvation.5

The first step on the way of the Winter Pascha is the encounter with the
man
Jesus. We are invited with Philip and the disciples, to "come and see."
If
we want to come and want to see, we will. Like the first disciples, we
will
see "greater things" than we ever expected. We will see "heaven opened
and
the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." We will
see
Jesus as our Master, and will cry to Him: "Rabbi, You are the Son of
God!
You are the King of Israel!" And we will come to know Him for who and
what
He really is. But first we must come. For if we do not come, we will
never
see.

0 God-seer Philip,
With divine inspiration and instruction of the Holy Spirit
You sounded the Savior's heavenly gospel
And proclaimed it in the world with a fiery tongue.
You burned all deceit to ashes like dried grass,
And throughout the universe you preached the gospel of the Lord Christ
who
is the Master of all.

As Moses of old,
You were instructed by divine ascent;
Desiring to see God spiritually
You saw His Image.
You received the Son as the Knowledge and Witness of the Father,

[3See Heb 1, Jn 1:17-18.
4See Jo 1:1-18; Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:1-3. The Revised
Standard
Version of the Bible translates the nouns in the third verse as verbs.
It
should read: "He is the Radiance of the Glory of God, the Very Stamp [or

Exact Image] of His Person" (Heb 1:3).
5See Jo 1:1, 20:18; Phil 2:6; Heb 1:8. This is developed theologically
and
stated formally in the Nicene Creed.]

For They are known as one Being, The Unity honorably exalted by all:
One Kingdom, Power, Glory, and Worship.

O new wonder,
Greater than all ancient wonders,
For who has ever known a mother without a husband
To have brought forth a Child
And carried in her arms the One who holds all creation?
This Child is God's good will!
Having carried Him in your arms as an infant, O Pure One,
And having boldness as a mother before Him, Intercede before Him always
for
those who honor you, That our souls may receive mercy and be saved !6

6 Vespers of the feast of the apostle Philip

[Taken from, "The Winter Pascha" by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, SVS
Press,
1984, pp. 12-15; available at 800-204-book]

djm

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Nov 15, 2007, 4:22:00 PM11/15/07
to
nick cobb wrote:
>
> The Christmas-Epiphany season in the Orthodox Church begins with a
> forty-day fasting period which starts on the feast of "the holy and

well, nice, I missed that one last year, when I made a translation of the whole
"Schmemann" cycle you posted

but this one misses the note 2, could you please post that note? or maybe is it included
in some sentence, without the italics (problem of usenet, not you of course), it's hard
sometimes to see the difference between running text and note

thank you

nick cobb

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Nov 15, 2007, 4:56:28 PM11/15/07
to
Foot note #2
Matins of the feast.

djm

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Nov 15, 2007, 5:38:49 PM11/15/07
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nick cobb wrote:
>
> Foot note #2
> Matins of the feast.
>

super, merci! thank you!

nick cobb

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Nov 15, 2007, 6:07:14 PM11/15/07
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No problemo!
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