Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2009


I Baptize Thee, William Johnson, 1940
Smithsonian American Art Museum

When Jesus was baptized, as he was coming up out of the water, the Spirit descended on him like a dove. (Matthew 3:13-17) First baptism, then the Spirit.

In this passage from Acts, the Spirit fell on the listeners as Peter was preaching. The people began speaking in tongues and exalting God. Peter realized that he could not withhold the water of baptism from those who had received the Spirit, so he ordered that everyone be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. First, the preaching, then the Spirit and its manifestations, and then the water of baptism.

Both stories (and additional variations) hold a place in the New Testament. The administration of baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit are common to those stories; but the stories tell of differing experiences by different people.

I don't believe that there is a prescribed order by which these things must take place. After all, we are talking about gifts of God's grace. They cannot be reduced to a formula. God works in each of our lives differently.

The more important question is whether we are living out our experiences of baptism and of God's Spirit in a way that is consistent with our new identity and the expectations of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monday, January 25

 The results for "love" in the Visual Thesaurus

Verse of the Day
So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.  (1 Corinthians 14:12)

Voice of the Day
When love works in the community, the community is built up, not necessarily or primarily in numbers. . . . Love usually brings out the best in the ones loving and the ones being loved; love usually elicits love in response. 
J. Paul Sampley, The First Letter of Corinthians, The New Interpreters Bible.

Prayer of the Day
Lord, we rarely give the spiritual gifts much thought, and, when we do, we easily dismiss them as irrelevant to our lives and congregations. Stir in us a desire to discern our own giftedness for the sake of your church. And may all gifts be tested, motivated, and guided by the most excellent gift of love. Amen