Monday, July 27, 2009

Do you have the Holy Spirit

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Acts 19:1-7 It reads:

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled across the hill country to Ephesus, where he met some of the Lord's followers. He asked them, "When you put your faith in Jesus, were you given the Holy Spirit?"
"No!" they answered. "We have never even heard of the Holy Spirit."
"Then why were you baptized?" Paul asked.
They answered, "Because of what John taught."
Paul replied, "John baptized people so that they would turn to God. But he also told them that someone else was coming, and that they should put their faith in him. Jesus is the one that John was talking about." After the people heard Paul say this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul placed his hands on them. The Holy Spirit was given to them, and they spoke unknown languages and prophesied. There were about twelve men in this group.

I like this account because I think it is indicative of the Church today. Many of us attending worship on Sunday know we were baptized. Many who don’t attend worship were also baptized at some point in their life at the behest of their family. Like John’s followers, it was expected the but the full meaning of the church’s teaching has been lost.

When we are baptized in a worship service, the Holy Spirit is imparted in us. But as we grow older, we may have forgotten our responsibility in allowing the Spirit of
God to make His presence known. How many of us have been in a room when someone walks in who knows us but ignores our presence? Well, for many of us, the Holy Spirit is in us, be we just ignore Him. One of God’s attributes is that He does not want us to be puppets where he pulls all of our strings. We, having been created in His image, have free will. We must on our own accord, acknowledge God’s presence in us and ask that presence become central in our life. We do that when we invite Jesus into our hearts. But we also have to let the Third Person of the Trinity fill us so that we are saturated with His being. This is what is meant by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Like water that has been tapped by a fresh dug well springs forth saturating the ground around it, so we too must open ourselves to let the Spirit rise up and saturated us.
So how do we know if the Holy Spirit is reigning supreme in our hearts? Do you talk about church or do you talk about Christ? Do you wonder what the priest is doing or are you asking what you can do for the Lord? Do you see problems or do you see solutions? After all, God is the prayer answering business! Get the hint?

So let us be like the men in Ephesus! Acknowledge that we have been baptized, but also let us be filled with Holy Spirit. After all, this is the will of God!

Fr. Allen