The Son’s Offering to the Father and Sacrifice
During Lent, we are delighted to join in the ancient liturgy of St. Basil of Caesarea. At the Anaphora, we lift up our hearts as our priest (or bishop) prays,
For, since through man sin came into the world and through sin death, it pleased Your only begotten Son, who is in Your bosom, God and Father, born of a woman, the holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, born under the law, to condemn sin in His flesh, so that those who died in Adam may be brought to life in Him, Your Christ.
This prayer bears a family likeness to passages in St. Paul’s letters, and in the Church Fathers—the knitting together of themes and of soteriological1 moments. In one sentence are integrated echoes of the Gospel and at least five passages from the epistles (Rom 5:12; John 1:18; Gal 4:4; Rom 8:3; 1 Cor 15:22). We glimpse the glory of creation, God’s call of Israel, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection—all of these connected with the atonement made for our sake. We can use the word atonement here in its most basic sense—that which Christ has done to make as “at one” with God and with the rest of creation, restoring the primal unified goodness of Creation.
Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation, therefore a soteriological moment is an instance in which the means of our salvation is clearly spoken of, e.g., in the priest’s prayer, “… born under the law, to condemn sin in His flesh, so that those who died in Adam may be brought to life in Him, Your Christ.” ↩