May 24

Acts 16:25-34

“At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.” vs. 33

There are some who wish that the Church could return to its first century roots as described by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. They would love to see men and women following the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they establish congregations and proclaim the good news of Jesus. And in some places that’s exactly what is happening. With little regard for tradition or theology evangelists are baptizing and teaching, and new congregations are being established. The energy is palpable in these communities of faith and thousands of believers are being added to the Church. For others this pentacostal model is disconcerting and troubling. They’ve become accustomed to denominations where there are strict protocols and traditions. The Holy Spirit is spoken of, but there’s confusion about what the Spirit does. Paul’s baptism of the jailer’s family has become a prooftext for the validity of infant baptism–but it’s not seen as a model for outreach in our congregations. We might even be critical and wonder if the names of these family members were properly recorded in the parish records! Obviously there is a need for structure in the church, and traditions can be wonderful. But because the Holy Spirit is at work in all our congregations there has to be room for spontaneity and spiritual energy–and maybe even some “surprise” baptisms!

Thought for the Day: How can structure inhibit mission?

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