Preparing for Worship – Lindsay Bruehl.
This is Baptism of the Lord Sunday. It is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Today I am in Sherman, Texas, preaching at Leap of Faith Church, a church Wilshire partners with, and I found an interesting verse about baptism in the Acts text I chose.
In Acts 8:15-16, Peter and John realize they need to go to Samaria to pray for the people who are receiving the word of God so they will receive the Holy Spirit. At this point, they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. It is when they laid their hands upon the people and prayed that the Holy Spirit was received. What I found so interesting about this is that presence and touch were needed for the people to receive the Holy Spirit. It is the transformation part of the process.
I have a story about how Wilshire helped me feel the Holy Spirit come upon me and lift me out of the waters that had been drowning me when I first arrived here.
My body is a body that has been rejected in church life until I came to Wilshire. It was by gender alone that my body was rejected. I had no idea how much of an effect this had on me until my gender was no longer a barrier and I was no longer rejected. I remember Pastoral Resident Jared Jaggers preaching a vespers homily around this time of year three years ago. It was about the baptism of the eunuch by Philip, revealing the ones once rejected were finding no reason to not be baptized anymore. I had just prayed my first public prayers of the people at Wilshire and was feeling deep emotions about it. I felt myself coming out of the waters and feeling new life as Jared was preaching this sermon. I will never forget it. I knew this was my baptism into the Holy Spirit moment and it came through prayer and a community that laid their hands on me and told me I was no longer an outsider. My body is no longer rejected.