While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
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I have been reading some articles about a new emphasis in the Church of "radical hospitality" specifically related to baptism. When Peter asked, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing...?" it dawned on me that I have been withholding baptismal water, at least temporarily, for decades. When someone asks to be baptized or have their child baptized, I have a series of hoops for them to jump through - an appointment with me - to make sure they "understand" baptism. There are forms to fill out. Sponsors to identify. It must happen at Sunday worship, in public, unless in extreme emergency. It was beginning to feel like I was the gatekeeper of the sacraments. I decided to trust the Holy Spirit (what a concept!) and believe that if a person asked for baptism that was the Spirit at work in their lives and I should just say "Yes!" and deal with the paperwork later. Funny thing happened. I feel like I am listening better to the Holy Spirit and I have been doing more baptisms. I, like Peter, am astounded.
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Holy God, help us to be on your way instead of in your way. Amen.