As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Theophany Hymn

The following hymn is meant to be sung to a slightly modified "God With Us" by Amy Grant / Casting Crowns.  It's based on all the Orthodox, Theophany prayers below it.  Basically, the prayers (thus, the hymn) combine the story of Jesus' Baptism with Joshua and Israel crossing into Canaan.  

The icon of the Theophany is explained in this really cool website.  The only missing part is the little guy you see in the Jordan.  I've alternately heard that explained as an anthropomorphism of the river itself (which speaks in the prayers) or the devil about the be burned out of the water.  


Lord Jesus Christ descended to the Jordan
The way He once descended to the Earth
Creator come down close to His creation
To be baptized by the herald of His birth

Who said, "How will a lamp the Light illuminate,
Or the servant on his Master lay his hand?
Word of God, now wash me and the water!
Take away my sin, O holy Lamb!”

Hear the Father say, "My beloved Son!"
See the Spirit Dove now descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

Still, He comes to those who will call to Him
Into humble hearts He'll descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

The river, filled with fear and weak with wonder
Said, "I feel the Fire that flames within my flood
I do not know how I can cleanse the Clean One
Or wash within my waves the Word of God."

"Be quick, for I have come to end the Enemy,
The dragon hidden deep within your depth,
To deliver all the world from his devices,
And by My death to kill the tyrant Death."

Hear the Father say, "My beloved Son!"
See the Spirit Dove now descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

Still, He comes to those who will call to Him
Into humble hearts He'll descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

With humble heart, I wade into the water.
To heal my broken heart and make me whole!
And as Word once burned the river Jordan,
May He burn the thorns of sin within my soul!

Hear the Father say, "My beloved Son!"
See the Spirit Dove now descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

Still, He comes to those who will call to Him
Into humble hearts He'll descend
He's the hidden God who has come to us
Now made manifest to all man.

-------------------------

The river Jordan was turned back by the mantle of Elisha,
after Elijah had been taken up to heaven.
The waters were parted in two,
and the stream became a dry path.
This was truly a type of baptism,
by which we pass over the stream of life.
Christ has shone forth in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

Today the Lord enters the Jordan and cries out to John:
“Do not be afraid to baptize me,
for I come to save Adam, the first-formed man!”

Today the nature of the waters is sanctified.
The Jordan is parted in two;
it holds back the flow of its waters
as it beholds the washing of the Master.
You have come to the river as a Man, O Christ the King,
and hasten to be baptized like a servant by the Forerunner,
on account of our sins, O good God Who love mankind.

To the voice of one crying in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way of the Lord,”
You came, O Lord, taking the form of servant.
You asked to be baptized though you have no knowledge of sin.
The waters saw You and were afraid.
The Forerunner trembled and cried aloud:
“How will the Lamp illumine the Light?
How will a servant lay his hand on the Master?
You take away the sin of the world, O Savior.
Sanctify both me and the waters.”

The Prophet above all prophets in honor,
the Forerunner and Baptist, saw You, the Lamb of God,
Who wash away the sins of the world.
His right hand trembled;
seized with anguish he cried aloud:
"I dare not touch Your head, O Word.
Sanctify and enlighten me, O Merciful One;
for You are the life and the light and the peace of the world!"

“O Prophet,” the Lord now says to John,
“come and baptize me, your Creator,
who cleanse and enlighten all with grace!
Touch my divine head and do not hesitate!
O Prophet, let it be so now;
for I have come to fulfill all righteousness!
Make haste; for I hasten to destroy the Enemy,
the prince of darkness, hidden in the waters,
that I might deliver the world from his snares,
and in my love grant eternal life!”

The waters saw you, O God;
the waters saw You and were afraid.
- Psalm 77:16

Why do you stop the flow of your waters, O Jordan?
Why do you make your streams flow back?
Why do you not follow your natural course?
“I cannot bear the fire which consumes me,” it said.
“I am amazed and shudder at the extreme condescension.
I have not learned to wash the pure or cleanse the sinless.
I have learned only to wash the filthy garment.
Now Christ, Who is baptized in me,
teaches me to burn the thorns of sin.
And John, the voice of the Word, bears witness with me.
He cries out: ‘Behold the Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sin of the world.’”
Let us the faithful cry to Him:
“O God, Who shone forth for our salvation, glory to You!”
now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Let us the faithful praise the greatness of God’s plan for us.
For He Who alone is pure and undefiled
becomes a man because of our transgressions.
He is cleansed with our cleansing in the Jordan,
sanctifying both us and the waters,
and crushing the heads of the dragons in the water.
Therefore, let us draw water in gladness,
for upon those who draw in faith
the grace of the Spirit is invisibly bestowed by Christ God,
the Savior of our souls.

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 Father bore witness to You,
and the Divine Spirit in the form of a dove descended on You,
as You came in flesh to the Jordan, O Lord.
You desired to be baptized in human form,
that in Your compassion You might enlighten us who have gone astray, and deliver us from all the snares and wiles of the Dragon.
Make your home in our souls, O loving God.
now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

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