1/9/13

The Baptism of the Lord: Sunday, January 13

Blessing the waters on the Feast of the Theophany, the Baptism of the Lord.

T. S. Eliot wrote in his Four Quartets:
What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from...
Those words come to mind as I look at the photo (above) of the Orthodox custom of cutting a cruciform in the ice on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord for the blessing of the waters. As part of the ritual, brave believers enter the frigid waters (video here) to share in the blessing!


This custom is observed on the occasion of remembering the Lord's baptism, the beginning of his public ministry, but these photos image perfectly the forbidding depths to which the Cross beckons all of us.

Romans 6:3-5 comes to mind:
Are you unaware
that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus

were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him
through baptism into death, so that,

just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,

we too might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with him
through a death like his,

we shall also be united with him
in the resurrection.
The image of death dealing waters, seen through the sign of the Cross,  images how we share in the Christ's death, marked and claimed by the sign of his Cross, and how, through the Spirit's power, we are raised to new life with him through baptism.
What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from...


 

   
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