Sunday, January 13, 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere...on my 84th Visit....

Crown Center Fountain
photo by Mike Willis,used under the creative commons liscense
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As I walk into the Nave, I notice a table with pitchers of water, a funnel and some cups on the left under the Icon depicting Jesus' first miracle.  I also notice in the center of the Nave, where we keep the Icon of the day on a table (Sorry, I think that has a special Orthodox name but I don't know what it is), that in front of that Icon, is what looks like a baptismal fount with three candles but the fount is covered. I also notice the Icon itself and it is, of course, the Baptism of our Lord!

It's Theophany and today we celebrate, the Revelation of God to us! He revealed Himself to us as Trinity in Christ's Baptism and in our own baptism, using water, He gives us Grace; He gives us Himself!  So, as far as I am concerned, that is a fantastic reason to Worship! I am glad I went to Vesper's!

I don't think I was the only one glad, either. It seems to me the choir sounded especially good last night. They sounded so good, that, at times, I stopped singing myself just so I could here them instead of my own poor voice.  I love the Hymns they sang:

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee his Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his Word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee.

Fr. Gary's homily was exceptional, too.  He preached about the reality of evil and, more specifically  the evil one.  He referenced the Gospel reading from Saturday, which, liturgically is the day before and in that Gospel, Christ is tempted by the evil one but Jesus sails right through these temptations.  Now, we don't have it that easy because when the evil one tempts us, we fall.  But God, in His Mercy, helps us and reveals Himself to us. Christ entered into the waters of baptism and through baptism, we are united to Him!

Theophany Table
I did notice at the end of the service, as people made their rounds to the venerate the Icons before we left for the day, that one of the faithful stopped by the table and poured himself a drink of the water, which, I assume, is blessed. So my question is, who may partake of this water? Is it only the Orthodox or can inquirers who have been stalking Vespers Services for over two years partake? Also, the baptismal fount in the front of the Nave was covered but after the Service, reader John, uncovered it. Why would he do that? I mean, are the Faithful supposed to dip their hands in that and cross themselves like the Roman Catholics do with their little holy water founts they have in the narthex of their churches? Or does that fount serve another purpose? If anyone knows the answer to these questions, I'd love to hear it!

In any event, I am glad I went to Vespers last night. It is good to remember that in Theophany, the Holy Trinity is revealed and in baptism, God uses water to unite us to Him.  May all things in creation, remind us of His Presence!

Christ is the Jordan!


  1. Hmmm, I actually don't know about the drinking of the Holy Water before being Orthodox question. I do know that you can take the Holy Water home and have your house blessed before you are officially Orthodox.

    Which leads me to the second question - at least in my experience, you bring a jar or bottle and take the Holy Water home. That probably is why the water was uncovered, but I'm not sure as in my parish there'd be a gaggle of people standing around it getting some (using the funnel that you mentioned) if it were the case. Although, the Holy Water is also kept in a container in the church for the faithful to use year round.

    I've never seen, in an Orthodox church, the dipping of the hands and blessing like in the Catholic rite.

  2. Thanks, Mimi!
    I suppose had I been able to stick around, I might have seen some of the parishioners take some of the water home in jars but, as is often the case, I have to scoot out of there rather quickly, to pick up my son from work who waits an extra hour just so I can go to Vespers.