Descend, Holy Spirit

1-13By Susan Oxley, Council of Twelve Apostles

…when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well-pleased.”

—Luke 3:21–22

Most of my life I have thought of the descending of the Holy Spirit in relation to a specific moment, for a specific purpose, with a specific result. I can point to events and say, “The Holy Spirit was present.” Or, “There! That’s when I experienced the Holy Spirit!”

A defining change has occurred in the last few years. I have become more aware of the flow of the Holy Spirit in all of life, continuous and pervasive. Yes, it has always been there; but now, I can see it more clearly.

  • An angry man intended to disrupt the World Conference legislative session. Later, he told me, “I couldn’t do it. The presence of the Spirit changed me.”
  • Creative solutions emerged from distrust at a mission center conference. Spirit-imbued communication triumphed.
  • Three women wrestling with the idea of joining our faith community heard of the new policy on church membership at a congregational meeting. They chose to be baptized anew.
  • A congregation threatening to leave the church met with church leaders. The result was recommitment to Christ and this church. Baptisms resulted.
  • Families in conflict mended their relationships, extending love and forgiveness. Spirit- filled discipleship formation works.
  • New understandings of diversity allowed people to embrace one another and confront differences. Communication allows the Spirit to work.

The Spirit is changing the fabric of our church, bringing us in alignment with God’s work through Mission Initiatives and sharing. We are living in challenging times, drawing on the Spirit to meet the challenge. Receive the Holy Spirit now, and now, and now—each moment, every day, continuously given. God is waiting for our response.

Prayer for Peace
God, who is always with us, make us aware of the work of your Spirit in our daily lives. Inspire us to join in the work with glad and faithful hearts, sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Being Present with the Spirit
Be still and focus on your breathing. With each inhalation think, “God’s Spirit fills me.” With each exhalation think, “God’s Spirit fills the Earth.” If stray thoughts occur during this time, exhale them and give them to God. Simply be present with the Spirit as you breathe in and out for several minutes. Close with a brief prayer of thanks.

Peace Covenant
I am ready to receive your Spirit, God. I am ready to respond.

Leave a comment


  1. In this busy life is hard sometimes to be a;ways aware ware of the Holy Spirit’s work and to be filled with the Spirit..thanks for the message Deb.

  2. Karen

     /  13 January 2013

    A beautiful message… touched my heart and renewed my spirit.


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