Monday, May 20, 2013

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

This is a time of celebration in the church.  The Holy Spirit that John forecast in this verse was sent in a powerful way to the disciples in Jerusalem and the message of Christ was proclaimed to nations.  At first reading of this verse the baptism by fire sounded ominous to me, but when I thought back to the references of fire in the bible I realized the fire of God is not the fire I understand and hold in my hearth on a cold winter night.  Moses saw fire that did not consume a bush, it was God.  A pillar of fire led the Israelites from Egypt, it was God.  Fire did consume the altar completely and powerfully in a display against the god Baal.  Tongues of fire rested on the disciples as the Holy Spirit came to rest in them.  The fire of God is purifying, cleansing and renewing.  It is powerful but not destructive.  As I think back on my baptism with a little sprinkle of water on my forehead I wonder about a tongue of fire.  It may not rest over my head but I have felt it stir in my heart.  The Spirit moves me to action; He moves us all.

Your power is unfathomable to me.  I only know I have seen your work in me despite my human frailty.  You used me in ways I never imagined and I can only imagine that you will continue to do so.  I offer myself to you; I am yours.  Amen.