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Russell
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« on: January 09, 2011, 03:00:48 PM »

What do I do with the bottle of holy water that we received at Theophany.

I also need a simple way to explain the use of holy water to my Baptist mother. 
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PrincessMommy
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 04:49:19 PM »

you keep it in your altar area and save some of it for when your priest comes to bless your house.  Also, you can drink a little of it.  I usually do that when I'm particularly stressed or have a difficult day.  You can use a little to water your plants with it (I usually do that just before the next Theophany to use up whatever water I haven't used from the previous year). 

I've known people who have sprinkled it on their spouses or kids pillows when they've been particularly anxious or argumentative.
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myrrhbear
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 07:24:15 PM »

Also, a sip with a prayer when you're sick or healing.
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LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 07:53:28 PM »

Have the kids sip it before going to school for first day of the school year.

When someone is ill, give them a sip.

Farmers sprinkle their livestock with it, to keep them healthy.

..it's all around good medicine!

« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 07:53:43 PM by LizaSymonenko » Logged

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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 08:10:56 PM »

Just make sure if you sprinkle it on someone that they know you're doing it. A few years ago our priest was doing a house blessing, and as he was using the holy water he hit my then-3 year old in the face. Let's just say that it suprised her and she did not react well.  Wink

Regarding explaining holy water to a baptist... I think part of the issue is the question of whether God uses inantimate objects to impact people's lives, and other similar phenomena. Perhaps you could start with some biblical examples that would support the Orthodox position, such as...

"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprsons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" - Acts. 19:11-12

"And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Insomuch that they brough forth the sick into the streets and laid them on the beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." - Acts. 5:14-16

However, in using these passages I think it'd be important emphasise that you are not trying to say that your priest is like Sts. Peter or Paul, but only that you are trying to show that sometimes God uses unusual means to achieve his goals, and that sometimes even a physical object can be used if God so desires. Of course, that might bring up the question of where Scripture mentions water in particular being used, and that's perhaps a bit tougher. Maybe you could mention the passages which speak of the importance of baptism, but I suppose she'd probably say something about baptism merely being "an outward expression of an inward change," or something along those lines. ...Would she be open to considering what the early Christians said about baptism, or is she more along the lines of a sola scripturist?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 08:14:10 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 08:12:47 PM »

I also need a simple way to explain the use of holy water to my Baptist mother. 
My priest has always referred to Holy Water as water that has been restored to what God originally created water to be. I tend to think of Holy Water as water sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The thing to remember is that God became incarnate and dwelt among us to redeem not just fallen man, but all of creation.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 08:37:04 PM »

Also, read all of Numbers 19, as the water of purification actually had spiritually cleansing properties; it was not merely for washing off blood after sacrificial rites, but for the actual purification from sins. Ashes were mixed in with the water to give it special spiritual power. The water was even used for sprinkling:

Quote from: Numbers 19:9
And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

Quote from: Numbers 19:18
And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave.

Water being used in the blessing of houses is also to exorcize any demonic powers from the house. Obviously others have mentioned baptism, but for Baptists this is trickier because they see the water itself as having no power; "only a symbol" as they say, which denigrates the power of symbols to mere allusions (illusions???).  Wink But as Orthodox we know and affirm that the waters of baptism provide the forgiveness of sins; that the power of forgiveness is not only in the person, but also in the water itself. However, at the same time the person must cooperate with the grace infused in the water, as God does not force Himself. That would be rape.

So baptism is our strongest connection with the Jewish purification rites, but water rituals are in every single religion, all of which are mere types of the true Orthodox rituals. They all point to the ultimate reality which the Church contains.

I'm really surprised that Orthodox presbyters never reference these purification waters in Judaism as one of the many rituals which carried over into our worship. Theophany blessings seem to be the most obvious manifestation of this, as Theophany centers on Christ's baptism.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 08:37:59 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
Russell
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 09:29:44 PM »

Just make sure if you sprinkle it on someone that they know you're doing it. A few years ago our priest was doing a house blessing, and as he was using the holy water he hit my then-3 year old in the face. Let's just say that it suprised her and she did not react well.  Wink

Regarding explaining holy water to a baptist... I think part of the issue is the question of whether God uses inantimate objects to impact people's lives, and other similar phenomena. Perhaps you could start with some biblical examples that would support the Orthodox position, such as...

"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprsons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" - Acts. 19:11-12

"And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Insomuch that they brough forth the sick into the streets and laid them on the beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." - Acts. 5:14-16

However, in using these passages I think it'd be important emphasise that you are not trying to say that your priest is like Sts. Peter or Paul, but only that you are trying to show that sometimes God uses unusual means to achieve his goals, and that sometimes even a physical object can be used if God so desires. Of course, that might bring up the question of where Scripture mentions water in particular being used, and that's perhaps a bit tougher. Maybe you could mention the passages which speak of the importance of baptism, but I suppose she'd probably say something about baptism merely being "an outward expression of an inward change," or something along those lines. ...Would she be open to considering what the early Christians said about baptism, or is she more along the lines of a sola scripturist?
Also, read all of Numbers 19, as the water of purification actually had spiritually cleansing properties; it was not merely for washing off blood after sacrificial rites, but for the actual purification from sins. Ashes were mixed in with the water to give it special spiritual power. The water was even used for sprinkling:

Quote from: Numbers 19:9
And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

Quote from: Numbers 19:18
And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave.

Water being used in the blessing of houses is also to exorcize any demonic powers from the house. Obviously others have mentioned baptism, but for Baptists this is trickier because they see the water itself as having no power; "only a symbol" as they say, which denigrates the power of symbols to mere allusions (illusions???).  Wink But as Orthodox we know and affirm that the waters of baptism provide the forgiveness of sins; that the power of forgiveness is not only in the person, but also in the water itself. However, at the same time the person must cooperate with the grace infused in the water, as God does not force Himself. That would be rape.

So baptism is our strongest connection with the Jewish purification rites, but water rituals are in every single religion, all of which are mere types of the true Orthodox rituals. They all point to the ultimate reality which the Church contains.

I'm really surprised that Orthodox presbyters never reference these purification waters in Judaism as one of the many rituals which carried over into our worship. Theophany blessings seem to be the most obvious manifestation of this, as Theophany centers on Christ's baptism.


She might be open to listening to the fathers.  She does often ask if something is in the bible but I think pointing to acts and numbers might open the door enough for her to read what the fathers wrote. 

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