Do You Hear What I Hear? said the Night Wind to the Little Lamb. It just occurred to me that we are not all in that state of awareness. A state where all nature speaks out to us and we are no longer blind sighted, like Paul. Once the shackles are removed from our eyes, we become "new creatures" and can both see and hear. Who are we that have tasted this newness of life? We are Christians. We have put on Christ and are enlightened.
Maybe you did not get the message proclaimed by the angels. He who was born in a "secret cave", is no secret anymore for He has been made Manifest. There was the Voice of one called, John the Baptist, crying out in the wilderness, proclaiming preparedness, John's baptism was of repentance.
When a storm is coming, we can see signs of it and we prepare. John knew that Jesus was coming, and said that "He coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)
Jesus approached John, coming from Galilee to be baptized, and John recognized Him. It is not odd to know that John knew Jesus, as John was aware of His presence even while he was in his mother's womb, and lept at His appearance, even while Jesus was in His mother's womb. Yes, life begins at conception. John tried to prevent Him from being baptized saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and are You coming to me? (Matthew 3:14).
Only a slave would carry a King's sandals. Here was the King of Kings, coming to be baptized by John, and, because of the baptism of Jesus, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. (It was the Spirit of God who hovered over the water at the first creation). Jesus, at His baptism santified the waters and all nature.
The images in the hymns reveal so much. The waters saw Him and were afraid and turned back. The clay (John) to the potter, (Jesus) "why do You command me to do what is beyond me; for I rather should be baptized by You." (taken from the stichera).
"The streams of the Jordan received You, "their source", and the Comforter descended in the form of a dove. He who bowed the heavens now bows His head. He who covers the heavens with clouds is Himself covered today by the streams of Jordan. He who takes away the sin of the world is cleansed, that I may be made clean. The only-begotten Son of the most high Father receives from above the testimony of the consubstantial Spirit."
For the great feast we hear the following:
"John saw You coming to him in the Jordan, O Christ God, and he said: "You have no uncleanness, O Lord, why do you come to Your servant? In Whose name will I baptize You? in the name of the Father? But in Yourself You bear the Father. In the name of the Son? But You Yourself are the Son incarnate. But by Your breath You can give the Spirit to the faithful." O God Who shone forth, have mercy on us!"
The elements knew Jesus and so did John, (The Word incarnate, made flesh coming to be baptized).
Taken from the Troparion of the Feast: "When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling 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!"
The Trinity has been revealed to us. The voice of the Father, (taken from Matthew 3:17) came from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove to anoint the Messiah, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit always rests on Him.
On Sunday, we were annointed with holy oil, after being blessed with holy water, a reminder of our own baptism and our new creation, having put on Christ.
John tells us in (Matthew 3:12) "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." The figure of the winnowing the threshed grain from the chaff is a metaphor for divine judgment, which always separates good from evil." (taken from the Orthodox Study Bible ).
The Orthodox believe, that there can be no salvation apart from Christ, making Baptism a requirement, in the name of the Trinity.
(Mark 16:15) "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
(Romans 10:17) "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) "But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed. "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."
I have to wonder why people today are not in belief of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in not coming to church, place their unbaptized children in great peril. Have they not heard, or do they not understand?
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