With This Everything Is Included
Perhaps in opening some of your Christmas gifts you may have read these words, telling us that, all that you needed to enjoy that appliance, computer toy, writing tool, … everything was there to get you up and running in full swing.
The icons and images in our church do the same. A glance at the icon of the Incarnation and Revelation of Christ our God a miniature picture of His Baptism event gives us the same message, the same assurance, confidence and with spiritual energies a conviction to live as Christians in this world where human failures, weaknesses and sin have short circuit what God created to be good and eternal.
We can see it all unfolding at the Baptism of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Gospel accounts of the awesome day tell us that "…the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, 'Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" ( John 1:29-34 and Mark 1: 10-11)
These words are echoed repeatedly in the Liturgies of Theophany in the Armenian Church, as well as during the service of the Blessing of the Water. Just look for a moment at the rocks, the flora, the symbolic geometric shapes, the angels, the rays of light, the hand of God, the Dove / Holy Spirit of God all in a single line affirming the truthfulness of this message. These are all important components placed there to help us better understand what the image is telling us about the heavenly personages, Father, Son, The Holy Spirit [the ONE TRUE God]. It is The Holy Trinity, makes everything complete.
We celebrate this all on January 6th both the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ our Saving Lord. We call the feast Asdvadzahaydnootiun, or the Revelation of God, a Greek word we still use - Theophany [the shining forth of God].
St. John Chrysostom, a most important and much-revered saint of the Universal Church, tells us that the birth of Jesus, the Christ/ Messiah was only the beginning of God's revelation in the world and that with Him everything is included for a life never-ending.
The birth of Jesus Yeshua announced and heralded by the angels and His Baptism by John in the Jordan River inaugurates His Messianic mission. All that everyone was searching for, waiting to arrive, has come and has been revealed. The God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God in three Persons/ The Holy Trinity/ has been revealed to us.
The prayer of St. Basil read during the Blessing of the Water service affirms this saying Today the Triune Godhead has revealed Himself on earth and the entire world is full of his glory. The Father testifies from heaven saying, "this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased". And the Holy Spirit comes down upon Him in the likeness of a dove.
This Good Tiding shines eternal, as we also sing the hymn "Ov Zarmanali" in blessing the waters. Christ God as the Creator Son , steps into the Jordan River and with words personifying the Jordan River as a human says, O River [ whom I have created] don't be afraid of me, I am your Creator, and have come to be baptized and I wash away the failures of man, called sin… 'Ked mi zarhourhir, ko araritch yem yes, yegyal mgrdim, yev lvanum uzmeghs'
Thousands of words in prayer and song speak and sing to us through this icon giving us the same message, the same hope, the same confidence and spiritual energies, dispelling fear and giving endurance and conviction to us in this world where human failures, weaknesses, and sin seem to wear us down, because in Christ, Emanuel GOD WITH US IS everything is included everything that humankind needs for Salvation, everything is here to get us up and running in full swing. Isn't that a blessing?
May Our Father the God of Love, His never ending presence in Jesus Son and by His power from the Holy Spirit assure us that with Christ ' everything is included.