St. LUCIAN & THE ROSE BOWL PARADE

It’s still the season of Epiphany:  The Light of Heaven made accessible to the Gentiles.     The Light that   “dawns” on us.    Now salvation is for “whosoever”  comes.

wise-men-big-light

One of the Wise Men’s  sources of information about the birth of Christ is the Jewish Scriptures,  written in Hebrew, and then later in the Greek language that the Hebrews generally used in the culture they lived in.

scroll

These Greek scrolls which made up the “Old Testament”   Scriptures   were used by people in  Palestine at the time of Jesus and afterwards.    But, over time, they were subject to variations and errors which became apparent and troublesome.   Among those scholars who were educated enough to compare manuscript to manuscript and eliminate the errors was a man named Lucian,  the saint we honor on this day.  (His biography is muddled and obscure,  but at least we know about  this one work that he did.)

So,  note:    Historically speaking,  the Church has always   put the Scriptures in the hands of “the people.”     When fewer people used the Greek language and more knew Latin,   then the Church sponsored the translation of the Septuagint, that early Greek Bible,  into Latin.          (And so on down through history as languages developed.)

And here’s where this year’s Rose Bowl parade intersects with the historical record.

parade

So this year on January 1st,  not feeling too healthy,  I laid down in front of the Rose Bowl parade, something I don’t usually do,  but the parade turned out to be surprisingly very interesting this year.      Such skill and precision and effort and beauty!!!

And then, towards the end,  I saw one lovely float created by —  I won’t name the religious group who made it —  but it was proudly stating “Scripture Alone”  “Faith Alone”  and  “Grace Alone.”

s-s-sign

Well.     Well . . .   I’m a historian  (by university study)    and this is not a  historically accurate statement of belief — unless your church has a short history and fairly recently created this new doctrine.     Scripture Alone is not really  found within Scripture, anywhere,  (there’s a challenge for you!)  but  if Scripture Alone is so crucial,  then that eliminates the possibility for salvation for all those early Christians who lived in previous centuries who had no Bible and who had no need to read!

In the last posting I referenced the Apostles Creed and a smattering of writings by the Apostles in those first decades after Christ left this earth.      The process of gathering these writings and deciding which were valid and which were part of the canon took  a couple centuries.

Did Christianity spread during that time?  Of course.    ( By proclaiming,  by preaching,  and by careful  instruction, person to person.)    Did Christians learn the teachings of Christ during that time?   Of course.   Did Christians grow in personal holiness during that time,  drawing closer to God?   Of course.    Did Christians read the writings of the Apostles, the epistles and the Gospels during these first three centuries?   A few did,   some could,   and more and more did as these early  centuries passed on.

That’s why the church was concerned that the translations be accurate.

St. Lucian lived in the early Fourth Century.  His work was used by St. Jerome who translated the entire Bible into the language of the people (Latin),  both the Scriptures and the writings of the New Testament.     That was a monumental human endeavor,  but it was so well done,  so accurately done,  that the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome is still the official Bible of the Church today!

During Epiphany we contemplate the Light that came into our world, and which finds Its way into our lives in so many ways, by the grace of God.    It comes to us by  hearing about it,   by example,  by specific instruction,  sometimes by supernatural infusion  . .  .  and also by reading Scripture.

Quicumque.    Whosoever.     Whoever wants the Light of God.

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