15th May 2016 marked the day of Pentecost. At Y4J we celebrated this event with a baptism in the spirit. What does that mean? Why do we do it? Let's find out!
Put simply, we are remembering the baptism that took place when we were babies. We are renewing our baptism. When we were babies someone took the decision to get baptised on our behalf and with that decision the Holy Spirit descended upon us. So, by renewing this baptism we are saying yes on our own behalf. This doesn't mean that this baptism is more important than the first or that there's a ladder of baptisms we need to climb. So, why do we do it?
As Catholics we are called to be renewed.
In Luke 5 : 36 - 39 Jesus tells a parable. He says that no one would want to patch up an old garment with a piece of new garment and no one would fill up an old wineskin with new wine. It just wouldn't make sense. So, just like that, we are always called to be renewed, to shed our sins and become new. At a point we were all deceived, enslaved but "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3 : 5).
His Spirit is inside of us, we have it; and not acknowledging that and not living by that is pretty much a waste. Buying an iPhone when you can barely understand how to use a good ole' Nokia 3310 (#throwback) and just leaving your new fancy phone to collect dust on a shelf is a waste. There's no point to it. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit we just need to unlock it, we need to use it.
Yes, baptism is a divine grace, yes the Holy Spirit is in us and is ours; but we still need to uphold our end of the bargain. The Holy Spirit is not an involuntary magic trick. We have to say yes to the Holy Spirit filling our lives. Our part in all this is an act of faith, it is an act of trust and we need to ask for His Spirit through that trust. When we say 'come Holy Spirit' we're not calling him, we are showing that we give him permission, that he is welcome and invited.
When we talk about a baptism in the spirit we need to keep three things in mind.
1.Laying of hands : laying hands on one another is both Biblical and Ecclesial. It is a symbolic action - symbolic of how the spirit overshadows us
2. Brotherly love : if the spirit of love is absent in the community it is not a healthy space for the Holy Spirit to manifest. We should come with a love that expresses itself through prayer.
3.Simplicity : a simple prayer like Elijah is all thats needed. Remember that story of Elijah and the followers of Baal that we mentioned in the Part 1 blog of this series? (No? Go check it out. It's Right now. We'll wait. All caught up? Great!). Well, in that story Elijah's prayer for God to show himself is super simple. He basically just asks God to make it be known that He is God. That simple. And then BOOM the fire of the Lord comes down. It's about faith, it's about saying yet and it's about saying short, confident prayers.