Thou sparest all: for they are thine, O lover of souls

BUT thou hast mercy upon all; for thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sins of men, because they should amend. For thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing which thou hast made: for never wouldest thou have made any thing, if thou hadst hated it. And how could any thing have endured, if it had not been thy will? or been preserved, if not called by thee? But thou sparest all: for they are thine, O Lord, thou lover of souls.

Wisdom 11:23-26.

**

An icon of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.

An icon of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.

**

O LORD, though as man thou didst stand beside John in the Jordan, thou didst not leave the throne where thou sittest together with the Father; and being baptized for our sake, thou hast delivered the world from the bondage of the enemy*, for thou art full of compassion, and lovest mankind.

* τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου, lit. ‘of what is alien or strange’. The term is often used to mean the devil, but in the context of these prayers about corruption it could have its more literal meaning, of that which is contrary to man’s nature as God intended it. Thus Rom 8:21, “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”.

O Lord, though as man thou didst clothe thyself in the streams of Jordan (cf. Gal 3:27), it was testified of thee from on high by the descent of the Spirit, and the voice of the Father testified, that thou art Son (Mk 1:9-11); nevertheless, be shewn, and grant incorruption to our souls.

O Lord, begotten unchanging from the Father before the ages, thou didst come in these latter times (Heb 1:1-2) and take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), and as Creator renew thine image (1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:9-11); for when thou wast baptized thou didst grant incorruption to our souls.

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