“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…” vss. 14-15
These were exciting, heady days for the community of believers in Jerusalem. There was opposition and opportunity and the movement lacked a play book and written instructions. Before long they were involved in mission they’d thought was impossible, a preaching expedition among the Samaritans, their long-time rivals and enemies. At one time the disciples had wanted to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritan villages; now they prayed that the fire of the Holy Spirit would fill the hearts of those who had been baptized into Christ Jesus. They recognized that becoming a follower of Jesus was more than the splashing of water on heads or even full-body immersion. We mimic the actions of the apostles in our baptismal rituals with the pouring of the water and the laying on of hands. There are earnest prayers that the Holy Spirit of God would fill the life of the newly baptized. And then we give up control and yield to the mysterious power of the Spirit. We simply can’t predict what will happen! We can’t force people to be Spirit-filled and our rituals, no matter how faithfully performed, do not guarantee faith or obedience. The Spirit blows where it wills! All we can do is pray for the appearance of fruit…and then rejoice when we finally see the love and faithfulness blossom and flourish.
Thought for the Day: What are the duties of baptismal sponsors?