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Speaking to the Soul: Can’t Hold Back

Speaking to the Soul: Can’t Hold Back

Week of Proper 16, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 16, 17 (morning) // 22 (evening)

Job 9:1-15, 32-35

Acts 10:34-48

John 7:37-52

Churches expend a fair amount of energy on withholding sacraments. Who may be baptized or married? Who may receive communion? As we ponder and debate these questions about sharing the sacraments, we might also begin to recognize that these sacraments have a force and energy all their own.

In today’s second reading, Peter finds himself unable to hold back the waters of baptism. The Holy Spirit has fallen upon the Gentiles who are listening to him preach about God’s impartiality and forgiveness, and about the death and new life of Jesus Christ that he and his fellow apostles have seen for themselves. Peter’s companions are “astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” So Peter asks them, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

Perhaps we too can begin to feel the longing and the urgency of baptismal waters, of wine poured out and bread broken, of a marriage blessing, as they surge toward people who share the Spirit. Peter recognizes how the God of impartiality, forgiveness, and new life has claimed these people has God’s own. Peter’s role then is simply to open the floodgates. (They probably wouldn’t have held for much longer anyway.)

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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