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Friday, January 19, 2018

When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan / The worship of the Trinity was revealed, / For the voice of the Father bore witness to You / And called You His beloved Son. / And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, / Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. / O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself / And have enlightened the world, glory to You!” (Byzantine Troparion-hymn of Theophany / Baptism of the Lord)

The Lord “reveals” Himself; He appears unto us. That’s what He does, on this great feast of Theo-phany (θεο-φάνεια, Бого-явление, or «appearance/revelation of God»), celebrated today by those of us on the Older Calendar. He doesn’t hide Himself from us, but exposes Himself, immersing Himself into, and giving His light and “enlightenment” to, the “waters” of our world in the river Jor...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Be glad, thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and my people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. Be strong, weakened hands and feeble knees. Comfort one another, fainthearted ones; be strong, fear not; behold, our God renders judgment, and he will render it; he will come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land.” (Is 35: 1-6, Septuagint-translation)

This is one of the prophecies read durin...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” (Mt 3: 13-17)

Was this our Lord’s only “baptism” or “immersion,” – the one in the Jordan? No. He was yet to “immerse” Himself into the very depths of our death and even our hell, and to emerge from there victorious, in newness of life. H...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Draw therefore water with joy out of the wells of salvation. And in that day you shall say, sing to the Lord, call aloud upon his name, proclaim his glorious deeds among the Gentiles; make mention that his name is exalted. Sing praise to the name of the Lord; for he has done great things: declare this in all the earth. Exalt and rejoice, you that dwell in Sion: for the Holy One of Israel is exalted in the midst of her.” (Is 12: 3-6, Septuagint-translation)

As those of us on the Older Calendar enter the great feast of The Baptism of the Lord or Theophany, when we have the great blessing of water in our churches, we also hear this prophecy, among the many Old-Testament readings included in the Theophany-services. It calls us to “draw water with joy”; to quench our thirst, both physical and s...

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