A few days ago I was at Mass and there were clouds of incense wafting across the pews and up to the heavens. It reminded me of something. Years ago I attended an Alpha Course (the Anglican version) in a small village in Warwickshire.
Whilst the course was very good indeed, scripture based (and great food) ; the latter part following the prayer for Baptism in the Spirit may have been a bit mishandled. Some of the facilitators were rather antagonistic to the older traditions, or anything that seemed outdated and encouraged the enthusiastic newcomers to the Spiritual life to find a ‘good’ church, meaning a ‘happy clappy’ one with the minimum of props.
I had to interject to give them a little of my journey and why I did not jump ship to any other more modern or exciting church but rather stayed on as a Catholic after being ‘born again’ because I knew that what we have has been there for a long time, and, ignorant ‘cradle catholic’ though I was, I knew there must be a reason for that. And so, armed with a new view of the world that the Holy Spirit gives us, I began an exploration of the mysteries I had known only superficially.
This has been the greatest adventure of my life. The intimacy of the life in the Spirit does not replace the traditional: by no means, it enables you to understand what you have with greater depth and so the reverence and awe of the Mass for example, is greatly intensified. Reverence and Intimacy are not opposites or conflicting but synergistic as they were in the apostolic times.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift to believers and the church; but lets not throw our tradition under the bus.