THE JUNCTION | 17.5

THE JUNCTION | 17.5

HOLY SPIRIT SESSIONS #2

Hey everyone and welcome to another Junction online.

This week we are continuing to look at the Holy Spirit. This week we are looking at the story of Jesus’ Baptism. When Jesus is baptised he is filled with the Holy Spirit as he descends onto Jesus like a dove. You may remember the story. We’re also using the Bible Project’s video on the Holy Spirit to keep us grounded on where these inividual stories fall into the larger Biblical narrative. Last week we thought about how the Holy Spirit, in the Old Testament, filled specific people for specific tasks at specific times but we always need to keep in our heads that the Holy Spirit is now available to all people. In the story of Jesus’ baptism we get even more of a glimpse of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives. He brings life through us.

Jesus’ Baptism (Matthew 3:13-17)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

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Reflection

This is one of those parts of the Bbile that I can imagine quite clearly. The picture of Jesus in the water with John the Baptist and then (in my head at least) the moment when God’s Spirit comes down onto Jesus. Was there anything that stood out to you in that short passage? If you’ve heard this before, was there anything that you’re hearing differently?

As the Bible Project video said, it’s this moment, Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit that begins his ministry. God’s Spirit empowers Jesus to bring about the new creation. The Holy Spirit, who is still active today, tansforming us so that we can love God and love others. When we try to do this on our own strength we get tired, frustrated, bored, angry… the list goes on. Without inviting God’s Spirit into our lives we are going to struggle to love.

It’s just like God said through the prophet Ezekiel said:

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

We need transformed hearts. Transformed by the Holy Spirit and when this happens the fruit of the spirit will be changing everything in us as our lives begin to look more like Jesus’.

Baptism

As the story was all about baptism it’s good to think about baptism in our context today. Many of you will have been baptised when you were very little if you grew up in the Church of England (that’s what Christ Church Beckenham is part of.) Some of  you may remember the baptism services of your brothers or sisters or seen pictures of your own. There isn’t “one way” to do baptism. I (Ed) got baptised as part of my confirmation service as an adult.

In the CofE the traditional way is for people to be baptised as a child. The parents make promises to raise their child in the church and to be a follower of Jesus. When the child is ole enough to make that decision for themselves, to say “yes!” to Jesus then they go through a confirmation service. Confirming the promises that their parents made over them in their baptism.

In the coming months after this lockdown has finished, we’re hoping to be able to offer confirmation classes at Christ Church Beckenham for all those interested in saying “yes” to Jesus. If you’re interested in confirmation and want to know more let me know (ed@ccb.org.uk). Just like Jesus’ baptism was for him, the confirmation is a defining moment in our journey of faith and is totally transformative.

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Prayer

As a prayer activity let’s make an origami dove as a reminder of God’s Holy Spirit. The dove can be a little tricky.
The dove is a well known symbol of peace and we believe that when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit our lives are filled with peace.

You could pray this prayer:
Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to lead us, to shape and transform us. Help me to change the things in my life that are not loving to you or others. Amen.

Image from:
http://easyorigamiinstructionsforkidscrafts.blogspot.com/2014/10/origami-dove-printable-instructions.html

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