I almost want to apologize for the slew of "political" posts that popped off my keyboard here yesterday. I got in a weirdly opinionated and, for this blog, rather secular place. But when I start apologizing I tend to give away the farm, so just deal with the posts.
I find myself bouncing around between the sacred and the profane these days. I resonate with Kazantzakis' idea from The Last Temptation of Christ. Wouldn't it be great to dump all this religious stuff and just lead a workaday life. I majored in Political Science - maybe I need to get back to that and be involved more in the stuff of this world. Maybe that's where God wants me. I have no doubt that God is real, that He cares for me and has a purpose for my life. Just not sure I'm fulfilling the purpose.
My prayer life is raging and rampaging (positively). I look forward to my daily times of Bible reading and prayer. So I'm not adrift (if one can actually be adrift on the Plains). But I am looking for guidance - like our Epiphany Wise Men who followed the star and laid out their gifts just where God wanted. (New masthead is a Star Quilt, btw. A number of Native American tribes create these and they are a special gift among the Lakota. I have one at home, presented to me by the groom's mother at a wedding I celebrated).
I'm provoked by the upcoming Sunday lessons (the Baptism of Christ). All of a sudden, I am hung up on the problem of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, with its assertion that water baptism is "full initiation" into the Christian life. The lessons this week include Acts 19:1-7, in which Paul follows water baptism with "laying on of hands" to activate the Holy Spirit's work in the people. John the Baptist, in Mark 1:4-11, says that the Messiah will go beyond water baptism with baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I'm not flirting with Charismatic/Pentecostal thoughts. Rather, I am looking at the way the church has dumped Confirmation. In my opinion, we've lost something true and precious in our practice of Christian initiation. We've kept one part - baptism - which does in fact tell us that God's love is a pure gift, not of our earning or effort. But we have discarded the other part - our response to that love. We've left off the powerful action of invoking the Holy Spirit to equip and direct us in our God-given life's work.
Yeah, you can hear the sermon wheels turnin'.
God bless you today. I mean that. May He give you both the awareness of His unearned, even undeserved love for you, and also the guidance of the Holy Spirit to find and fulfill the sacred purpose of your life.