FIRE, WATER AND THE WORD: THE ‘HOLY TRINITY’ OF OUR BAPTISM
Sometimes, things are revealed to me on the edge of a dream. I sometimes am either falling asleep or on the verge of waking up and am in a state of consciousness bordering between being awake and asleep. In these instances, I sometimes find myself feeling that a tremendously important epiphany , which is on a scale which would permit me to comprehend virtually all the secrets of eternity, has been given to me.
When such epiphanies occur, the ‘data’, so to speak, is just starting to be ‘downloaded’ off of the ‘world wide web’ of eternity, and my own ‘personal computer’ in my brain is just starting to receive all this mother lode of data when POOF! I usually wake up, and it’s like my old-fashioned ‘dial-up’ connection, which is simply too old or incapable of receiving that much data all at once, disconnects itself, for fear of being overloaded all at once and blowing the ‘CPU’ in my brain with all the secrets of eternity.
Every time this happens, I wake up feeling so bummed out, like I’d just been cheated out of being able to enjoy the most awesome revelation of all time. Well, this morning, it was a bit different. The Good Lord decided that He wasn’t going to try and download too much stuff through my primitive ‘dial-up’ connection. I was just waking up this morning, when three words or concepts came to me: Fire, Water and the Word.
They all seemed to be related and all appeared to relate to our baptism as Christians. There was an initial brain wave of revelation regarding this as I woke up and I tried to sort it all out with my limited grasp of theology and as I desperately groped for a pen and paper to write down the key concepts before they slipped away from me as I became fully awake.
Fire, relates to the Holy Spirit, that we are baptised in the name of the ‘Fire of the Spirit’, just as the Apostles received the power of the Spirit like tongues of fire at the Feast of Pentecost. The same holds true for a Bishop’s Mitre, which is shaped in the form of tongues of fire, representing the power of the Spirit coming down upon him, and his responsibility to be an agent of propagation of the faith.
Water, of course, is a traditional symbol of our baptism. All cultures who baptize do so with water, because this is a traditional symbol of purity, purification, and source of all life and goodness. The stain of Original Sin is therefore washed away by the waters of baptism, through the actions of the priest.
As for the Word, this is something which grows in us as we grow up physically and spiritually. This is so, because the Word is the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ and as Christians, our personal relationship with Christ as our Lord and Saviour springs forth like a bubbling brook from the waters of our baptism and is given strength and fortitude through the Fire of the Spirit as we march forward through our journey of faith, fortified with this threefold gift, or ‘Trinity’ if you wish.
The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the original and the one true Trinity, but our faith, just like many other things, manifests itself in threes. There’s an old saying which says that ‘trouble comes in threes’. In this case, I’d have to say that this particular form of ‘trouble’ can only ‘disturb’ us in the sense that it can motivate us to come into closer conscious contact with God, through a re-affirmation of our baptismal vows that our parents and Godparents made for us at our baptism.
The Fire, Water and the Word, which constitute this second ‘Trinity’, part of the original, is all part of our journey towards knowing those secrets of eternity, which I hope at least, will one day be fully revealed to me through a more adequate ‘internet connection’ than the old-fashioned ‘dial-up’ job I’ve got now!
In the meantime, I’ll keep on hoping that it will continue to ‘download’ the occasional ‘revelation’ to me on the edge of a dream. Amen.