8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with* the Holy Spirit.’
The sacrament of holy baptism is one that is very powerful in the Christian tradition. There are many variations of it from christening babies in Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, and Episcopalian to full immersion in the Baptist church and other denominations. Though there are many theological discussions and arguments for the optimal way to celebrate this sacrament, I believe as the Episcopal Church does that all baptized Christians are welcome at the Lord’s Table.
I was baptized in a Baptist church in Lafayette, Georgia, when I was 11. After I had made a public profession of faith in front of the church, a date was set for my baptism. For the day of baptism, I was instructed to wear a white shirt and blue jeans for the ceremony which I did. As I walked down the steps into the baptistery, I felt my jeans get very heavy and immediately began to worry that I might not be able to stand up after being fully immersed. I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and I managed to make it out of the pool without drowning.
I remember thinking that I didn’t really feel different, but I was sure something had changed inside me. I recall being more intentional about prayer, but I was probably praying for things like getting good grades and not getting upset with my siblings and getting a boy to ask me to a dance.
It wasn’t until I was in college and began to truly reflect on what I believed and why that I understood that my baptism as an 11 year old was fine with the Episcopal church and it didn’t matter than I hadn’t been baptized as a baby. I think I may have finally felt the baptism of the Holy Spirit on my own spiritual journey when I went through Cursillo #98 in June 1995. The joy felt as I felt the Holy Spirit become evident in my life and the lives around me was indescribable. This influx of the Holy Spirit into my adult life was an experience that I treasure and have used to get involved in living a Christian life. I have come to understand that inviting all those who are baptized, even if they are different from us, to the Lord’s table is the truly living into the baptism of the Holy Spirit.