Monday, 17 May 2021

Novena for Pentecost: Praise and Worship

 Whilst the experience of Baptism in the Spirit can often be seen as having fruits in quite extraordinary gifts, such gifts can at the same time be understood as being ordinary, expected gifts of a vividly lived Christian life. 

One of these gifts is a style of worship characterised by a certain exuberance. Though this prayer is not readily identified as liturgical in its character, it nevertheless has something in common with prayer that is more strictly identified as liturgical. It is prayer that has at its heart the praise and adoration of God - that is, worship - that is a first intention of liturgical prayer.  It is manifested, too, in the Trinitarian form of liturgical prayer - to the Father, through the Son and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. This movement of the Spirit has led to the composition of many new songs and melodies, often based on the psalms or other Scriptural texts, to express the praise of God, a movement which can also be seen at work in places outside the Renewal (CJM's Born for This comes readily to mind as an example). The gift of tongues, primarily as a gift for prayer and praise, is perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of this exuberance in prayer and praise.

Alongside this gift of praise and worship, Baptism in the Spirit has a power to lead those who receive it to a deeper conversion and holiness of life. Growth in holiness leads to an experience that becomes less one of self-striving against sin and more one of yielding to the Holy Spirit. The cross and resurrection of Christ come to be known not only as an event of the past but a present source of grace enabling a death to sin and a living for God. The ability to resist sinful tendencies and deep-rooted patterns of sin, freedom from addictions and the healing of relationships - these are fruits experienced by those who have received Baptism in the Spirit, fruits which can be found wherever there is growth in Christian life.

In observing the Charismatic Renewal from the outside, it is perhaps important to recognise this connection between exuberance in prayer and praise, which may not be for everyone, and the deeper conversion and holiness of life that accompanies it.

No comments: