It is time for Meche’s Bavarian cream king cake.
The fulfillment of Christ's baptismal action takes place on the cross, when blood and water flow from the side of Christ. However, the earliest tradition did not stress the idea of 'dying and rising' concerning Baptism, but rather, Baptism ass a new wonb giving birth to new children bearing the image of the New Adam and being vested again in the "robe of glory". Baptism reverses the sad events of Paradise.
Speaking about the Syriac tradition, S. Brock says that the baptism of Christ was the source of of Christian baptism. At his Baptism, there is the public proclamation of his Sonship [Mark 1, ll]. Even in the New Testament, it seems that Christ's baptism was regarded as 'anointing' [Acts 10, 38; see Lk 4, 18], and the choice of Psalm 2, 7 provided a basis for Jesus' baptism as his public anointing as Messiah-king.7
Ephrem views the baptism of Christ in the water as analogous to the divine presence in the womb of Mary and therefore as the means for divinization. Also, using Moses as an example, he claims that just as God in his mercy limited himself by coming to Moses, he does the same for feeble human beings. In his beings. In his Hymn on Epiphany, No. 8, he explains.
God in His mercy stooped and came down,
To mingle His compassion with the water, and to blend the nature
of His majesty with the wretched bodies of men.
He made occasion by the water
To come down an to dwell in us;
Like to the occasion of mercy
When He came down and dwelt in the womb:
O the mercies of God
Who seeks for Himself all occaskion to dwell in us!
To the cave in Horeb He stooped and came down,
And on Moses He cause His majesty to dwell;
He imparted His glorious splendor to mortals.
There was therein a figure of Baptism:
He who came down and dwelt in it,
Tempers within the water
The might of His majesty,
That He may dwell in the feeble
On Moses dwelt the Breath,
And on you the Perfecting of Christ.
That might then none could endure;
not Moses chief of deliverers,
nor Elijah chief of zealots ;
and the Seraphim too veil their faces,
for it is the might that subdues all.
His mercy mingled gentleness
In the water and by the oil;
That mankind in its weakness
might be able to stand before Him
When covered by the water and the oil.8
In his Hymn on the Ephiphany, No. 9, Ephrem further Teaches that Baptism renders humans children of the Spirit and that Christ becomes the new Adam and the new head of the Body of Christians. Ephrem also symbolizes the power of divinizarion by speaking of a column extending from the Hordan to the heavens. He describes John as seeing the Spirit on the head of Christ who as the "Head of the Highest" was baptized and became "Head on earth". Christians are therefore children of the Spirit, members of Christ who is the Head. Ephrem sontinues:
.....Open wide your minds and see, my brethren,
the secret column in the air,
whose base is fixed from the midst of the water
unto the door of the Highest Place,
like the ladder that Jacob saw.
Lo! By it came down the light unt Baptism,
And by it the soul goes up to Heaven,
That in one love we may be mingled.9
In regard to this citation, it can also be note that in the earlier Syriac tradition, Christ was seen as consecrating the water of the Jordan in terms of the imagery of fire. This may be a reflection of Isaiah 6, 6. S. Brock cites James of Serug as saying: " The Holy One came to the water to go down to be baptized; his fire kindled among the waters and set them alight." The Jordan was sometimes referred to as a furnace. 10
The Maronite liturgy in the ritual for Baptism reflects the tradition. It says concerning Christ: "...He who was without need or lacking was baptized in the Jordan consecrating for us this womb which is the baptismal font, a salutary and fruitful womb. He, thence, according to his design, yours and that of the Holy Spirit, lived in the world, in three dwellings: the womb of flesh, the baptismal womb, and the obscure dwellings of sheol..." 11
Thus, as a person who loves his Christmas lights, I find Maronite Catholicism to be pretty awesome.
Happy Feast of the Epiphany, and God Bless!
I making cheeseburgers with onions on toasty buns.