|Bless the waters (photo by Erasmia Smith)|
|Lt. David Hostetler blessing the waters (photo by Isaac Hostetler)|
“Just as we started our prayers,” Hostetler said over the telephone last Monday from Okinawa, Japan, where he is stationed.
Christmas is a fading memory for most by mid-January, its farewell marked by secular ceremonies: the Dragging of the Tree to the Curb, the Boxing of the Lights.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity extends Christmas through Epiphany, which ended over the weekend, including a ceremony called the Outdoor Blessing of the Waters, commemorating Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River. One was held Sunday on the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with others earlier this month on the banks of the Illinois River in Peoria, the Rock River in Rockford and the Mississippi at St. Paul, Minnesota.
Though the ceremony that caught my eye was performed by a former Chicagoan living with his family on a military base abroad. As befitting a former resident of the Windy City, Hostetler had to deal with a strong wind that battered his vestments....
To continue reading, click here.