“King of all, you accepted also to be baptized in the Jordan by the hand of a servant, so that, having sanctified the nature of the waters, you, the sinless one, might make a way for our rebirth through water and Spirit and re-establish us in our original freedom.”
~Prayer from the Blessing of the Waters
It is most providential that God authentically and completely understands us; our emotions, struggles, life and even death, as He experienced them through taking human flesh by the incarnation and birth of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Beyond our understanding and experience of humility is the offering that God made to His creation, in the form of His Son. As recipients of this Divine love and compassion, we are obligated to recognize and offer glory to our Father in heaven for His love and all the forms we receive it.
In the month of January, we recognize and glorify one particular event where Christ’s humility and love for us may be witnessed, His baptism! January 6 the Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Theophany of our Lord — His baptism at the hand of Saint John the Baptist! (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34). In the sacrament of Holy Baptism, water, which we experience and equate in daily life to a means for cleansing, is transformed by the Holy Spirit so that it may be used for a cleansing of the soul and a renewal of life in the Body of Christ.
It is Christian tradition that baptism only happens once in an individual’s life; therefore, at the feast of Theophany, rather than recognizing it with repeated baptisms, the Church offers the service of the blessing of the waters. Regular water is again transformed by the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of the Church, into a medium of blessing – Holy Water. This transformed water is to be drunk by people of faith as an experience of particular blessing, and sprinkled through environments where people of faith dwell; homes, work places, etc.
From the Epiphany Blessing of the Waters Celebration, Holy Water is taken into the homes and work places of the faithful by clergy to bless these environments that they may support the quite Christian pilgrimages of the faithful who dwell with in this space, and those who visit therein.
As a community of faithful, let us offer glory to our God, the God who loves us to such an extent that He chose to humble Himself beyond measure or understanding, for us! This January 6, as we celebrate the baptism of our Lord, let us truly and authentically offer the Lord our thanks, and experience the abundant blessings that He extends to us through His Church.