Sunday, January 6, 2013

"The waters beheld You and they trembled"

Blessing our pond!
Happy Feast of the Theophany!

Packed with profound imagery, all of the lengthy prayers from the Great Blessing of Water teach us so much about our faith.  How could we pick just one part?  Well, I guess we have to narrow it down, since this is a blog, after all.  But if you've never experienced the Great Blessing and would like to read it, you can check it out at this link.  Here is one of my favorite sections of one of the prayers of the priest:

"The waters beheld You, O Lord; the waters beheld You and they trembled.  The river Jordan turns back on its course as it beholds the fire of the Godhead coming down upon it and entering it in the flesh.  The river Jordan turns back in its course as it beholds the Holy Spirit descending in the likeness of a dove, and hovering over you.  The river Jordan turns back in its course as it beholds the Invisible made visible, the Creator existing in the flesh, and the Master in the likeness of a servant. The river Jordan turns back in its course, and the mountains leap for joy as they behold God in the flesh.  And the clouds give voice and are filled with awe by the One who is coming, Light of Light, true God of true God; the One who, in the river Jordan, has drowned to death sin, the thorn of error, and the bonds of hell, and granted the baptism of salvation to the world"  (From the Great Blessing of Water).
Mother blesses each person on the forehead with honey

A group of young adults joined us to celebrate the Vigil of Theophany (the Baptism of Our Lord) this weekend.  The highlight of the weekend was the three-hour service on Saturday afternoon that included vespers, the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, the Great Blessing of Water and the blessing of our monastery and our pond.  It was a marathon of prayer!  (But it really didn't feel like three hours!)  Earlier in the day, two of the young adults went out and made a hole in the ice on the pond so that the priest could drop the cross in the water, as is tradition!  (It is also tradition that someone dives in and retrieves the cross...we didn't participate in that part of the tradition!)  After the service, we enjoyed the traditional Velija (Vigil) Supper which is similar to the supper on Christmas Eve.  It was fun to share the traditions (and delicious food) of this supper with our guests, several of whom have never experienced it.

Please enjoy this photo album from the Feast!  And remember to "like" our page on Facebook so that you can view more photos and quotes as we post them!

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