January 5, 2022

"The Voice of the Lord Upon the Waters": Creation and Recreation

In the Cathedral of the Assumption in Monreale, Sicily there are the so-called Genesis Mosaics from around the 12th century.  The first mosaic bears an inscription from Genesis 1:1, "In principio creavit deus celum et terram," ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth") but the image also covers verse 2, "And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The mosaicist takes the "face of the waters" literally and shows the "Spirit of God" in the form of a dove with a halo being sent by Jesus above. The "darkness on the waters" is visualized as a dark band transpierced by the dove's path.

In Psalm 28(29):3 we read: "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory has thundered, the Lord is upon many waters."

During the Service of the Great Blessing of the Waters on Theophany, we chant: "The voice of the Lord upon the waters cries out, saying, Come all of you, receive the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of the fear of God, of Christ who has appeared."

Through Holy Baptism, the darkness and void within us was brought to order through the Spirit of God, Christ having sanctified the waters by entering the waters and receiving Baptism Himself that we may be recreated.