theophany

In the form of a dove the Holy Spirit was seen; the voice of the Father was heard, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  It is the Lord that commandeth the waters, it is the glorious G-d that maketh the thunder, it is the Lord that ruleth the sea.   Respond, First Vespers of the Baptism of Jesus 

Cleansing, beautiful snow.  The scent of foundation honeycomb as Bill assembles the bee hives.  Garlic and soybean sprouts with sesame oil.  My friend Suk-Hui, here on “vacation” she’s calling it,  recovering from cancer treatments.  She taught me to make KimChee the way her grandmother made it.  We watched The Way Home, a Korean movie about a little boy from Seoul who has to stay with an elderly grandmother far in the country over a summer.  A lovely movie offering images to treasure in the mind.

The Baptism of Jesus.   At the Eucharist on Sunday we used several orthodox sources found in Liturgy Training Publications Christmas book.  “In the feast foregone, we have seen you as a babe, and in the present feast we see you as a perfect man, 

today, the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the likeness of a dove, come down upon the waters; today there shines the Sun that never sets, and the world is sparkling with the light of the Lord; today the moon is bright, together with the earth, in the glowing radiance of its beams; today the brilliant stars adorn the universe with the splendor of their twinkling; today the clouds from heaven shed upon us a shower of justice;

Twenty three “today” ‘s. …

We also took LTP’s adaptation of the Great Blessing of Water from the Byzantine rite, and addressed the prayer intimately to “you” rather than a detached  “him.”  So that instead of “The angels serve him …” we prayed, “The angels serve you.  The archangels adore you. The many-eyed seraphim veil their faces before you.”  We circled a bronze bowl on a stand at the center of the chapel, filled with rose scented water with an added splash from the Jordan river.   I’d be surprised if passers-by did not see a glimmer of prayer-light glowing from the octagonal chapel – one man, two dogs, and we ordinary middle-aged women in work clothes praying and trembling with awe. 

Like last week at this time, I’m preparing Thursday’s children’s chapel service.  Saint Anthony? Confession of Peter?  Christian Unity? Baptism of Jesus? This Epiphany is the shortest one I can remember … and I’ll be in France one of my chapel days.   Maybe I should talk about the two theophanys that hold the season in a powerful parenthesis.  The theophany at the Baptism and the theophany on the mountain, and the Voice from the cloud, interrupting the ordinary prayer. 

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  

Lord, they shall walk in the light of thy countenance.  

Oh, my, let us walk in the light of G-d’s face!  Let us walk with the light of G-d’s face reflected in us.  Oh, my.  Such light.  Like the glistening snow on this bright diamond day!

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