St-Basil-the-Great‘The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters’ (Psalm 28[29]:3).

We have learned in the creation of the world that there is water above the heavens, again, water of the deep, and yet again, the gathered waters of the seas.

Who, then, is He who holds together these waters, not allowing them to be borne downward by their physical weight, except the Lord who established Himself upon all things, who holds sway over the waters?

Perhaps, even in a more mystic manner the voice of the Lord was upon the waters, when a voice from above came to Jesus as He was baptized, ‘This is my beloved Son’ (Matt. 3:17).

At that time, truly, the Lord was upon many waters, making the waters holy through baptism; but, the God of majesty thundered from above with a mighty voice of testimony.

And over those to be baptized a voice left behind by the Lord is pronounced: ‘Go, therefore,’ it says, ‘baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt. 28:19). Therefore, ‘The voice of the Lord is upon the waters’.

[…] It is…possible for you, according to ecclesiastical diction to call by the name of thunder the doctrine which after baptism is in the souls of those already perfect by the eloquence of the Gospel.

That the Gospel is thunder is made evident by the disciples who were given a new name by the Lord and called Sons of Thunder (cf Mark 3:17).

Therefore, the voice of such thunder is not in any chance person, but only in one who is worthy to be called a wheel. ‘The voice of thy thunder’, it says, ‘in a Wheel’ (Psalm 76:19).

That is, whoever is stretching forward, like a wheel, touching the earth with a small part of itself, and really such as that wheel was, about which Ezechiel said: ‘I saw and behold there was one wheel on the earth attached to the four living creatures, and their appearance and their form was as the appearance of Tharsis’ (Ezek. 1:15 LXX).

‘The God of majesty hath thundered, the Lord is upon many waters’. The waters are also the saints, because rivers flow from within them (cf. John 7:38), that is, spiritual teaching which refreshes the souls of the hearers.

Again, they receive water which springs up to eternal life, wherefore, it becomes in those who receive it rightly ‘a fountain of water, springing up unto life everlasting’ (John 4:14).

Upon such waters, then, is the Lord.

Basil the Great (330-379): Homily 13 (on Psalm 28[29]), 3-4,  from Saint Basil: Exegetic Homilies, translated by Agnes Clare Way, Catholic University of America Press (The Fathers of the Church, vol. 46), pp. 200-202.

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