From: Robert Schneider (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Jan 12 2003 - 14:21:25 EST
Many of you celebrated in your faith traditions today, on the First Sunday
after the Epiphany, the Festival of the Baptism of Christ. In the eastern
orthodox churches Christ's baptism is honored at the Festival of the
Epiphany itself. At the vigil service for Epiphany, the waters that will be
used for baptism for the year are consecrated. Below is an ancient hymn of
praise that accompanies the blessing of the waters. It combines a precise
summation of creation theology with numerous biblical allusions to the
ancient world-picture which has been the topic of discussion recently on
this site (with a bit of Greek theory thrown in).
Great art thou, O Lord, and marvelous are thy works:
no words suffice to sing the praise of thy wonders.
For thou by thine own will has brought all things
out of nothingness into being:
by thy power dost thou hold together the creation
and by thy providence dost thou govern the world.
Of four elements hast thou compounded the creation:
with four seasons hast thou crowned the circuit of the year.
All the spiritual powers tremble before thee.
The sun sings thy praises;
The moon glorifies thee;
The stars supplicate before thee;
The light obeys thee;
The deeps are afraid at thy presence;
The fountains are thy servants.
Thou has stretched out the heavens like a curtain;
thou hast established the earth upon the waters;
Thou hast walled about the sea with sand.
Thou hast poured forth the air that living things may breathe.
The angelic powers minister to thee;
the choirs of archangels worship thee;
the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim,
standing round thee and flying about thee,
hide their faces in fear of thine unapproachable glory....
By the elements, by the angels and by men,
by thing visible and invisible,
may thy most holy name be glorified,
together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
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