January 2024

Dear Beloved in the Lord,

"He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth" -
Psalm 71:8

At the Great Feast of our Lord's Theophany water is blessed. It is blessed to become what it was always meant to be. It does not become something magical or even supernatural but it becomes truly water. Our salvation is not simply being saved from something, or becoming superhumans, but it is becoming ourselves, who we were created to be. To be truly human. The restoration that God brings upon all of creation in His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension is that He fills all with Himself. He descended into the waters of the Jordan. As we hear in one of our prayers during the Great Blessing:

All creation sings praises unto Thee, who didst reveal thyself; for Thou, our God, didst manifest Thyself upon earth, and didst dwell among men. Thou didst hallow the streams of the Jordan, in that Thou didst send down from heaven Thy Holy Spirit, and didst crush the heads of the serpents which lurked there.

The Kingdom of Heaven has come and it is a Person Who has filled all of creation with Himself that all of creation may be restored to what it was created for. This is why we take this very water and ask God to bless our homes. We proclaim that all belongs to God. He has given us these good gifts and we offer them back to Him in thanksgiving for His goodness. He blesses and gives all back to us for the help and the healing of our souls and bodies. The prayer continues with these words:

"Wherefore O King who lovest mankind, come down now also through the descent of Thy Holy Spirit, and sanctify this water. (3x) And impart unto it the grace of redemption, the blessing of the Jordan. Make it a fountain of immortality, a gift of sanctification, a remission of sins, a healing of infirmities, a destruction of demons; unapproachable by hostile powers, filled with angelic might. And may it be unto all those who shall draw it, and shall partake of it unto the purification of their souls and bodies, unto the healing of their passions, unto the sanctification of their houses, and unto every expedient service. For Thou art our God, who through water and the Spirit renewed our nature, which had fallen into decay through sin. For Thou art our God, who with water didst drown sin in the days of Noah. For Thou art our God, who by the sea, through Moses, didst set free from slavery to Pharaoh the Hebrew race. For Thou art our God, who didst cleave the rock in the wilderness, so that Water poured forth, and who made the floods to well forth abundantly; and didst satisfy Thy thirsty people. For Thou art our God, who by fire and water; through Elijah, didst set Israel free from the errors of Baal. Do Thou, the same Master and sanctify now also this water by Thy Holy Spirit. (3x) Grant also unto all who shall be sprinkled therewith, and shall partake thereof, and shall anoint themselves therewith, sanctification, blessing, purification and bodily health...

God satisfies us daily with His goodness and with His love. We offer water to God at this Feast.
May we also offer to God all of what we have, each circumstance, each person, and ourselves in thanksgiving, that He may bless all and sanctify it for our salvation and for the life of the world.

With Aloha in Christ, Fr. Benjamin