But Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire

Matthew 3:11-17 (Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:16) [John the Baptist said] “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” . . . Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John . . . As Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

On April 30 2002, the week before her 19th birthday, Karis attempted a description of her life in Brazil prior to Notre Dame:

I used to be strong. I used to be disciplined. And pure. I would spend each morning and night alone with God in my room, window open, pure, free, overflowing. I would dance far from mirrors. In a very different way, with my whole heart in it, unashamed. I would pray for many people, visit them, make things for them. I and my Father, my God, were very close. The Holy Spirit would speak with me. My work was done with joy. I dreamed huge. I hurt much but it never crushed my spirit. I almost never cried. I could never express enough joy. I brought much joy to my parents, I was the door my sisters took into the world, I was my brother’s companion.

And a couple of weeks later, in May 2002:

I don’t drink. I don’t need to in order to drown frustrations of emptiness or melancholy—don’t need to in order to become wildly joyous and do ridiculous things—don’t need to in order to be soul-close and together with people, to find a reason to laugh or something to be proud of, or even in order to be sick. Don’t need to be freed up from inhibitions. The Holy Spirit drowns, comforts, fills, frees. I get drunk on Him.

Love (expressed in many different ways), and freedom, and joy, and intimacy. That’s how Karis described her experience of the Holy Spirit. Reading all that into the Acts 2 account of Pentecost (where some people thought the believers were drunk!) gives it a different emotional tone from what is explicitly described, but it feels so right to me.

Our long-time worship minister, Jeanne Kohn, chose Pentecost for the day she would officially retire. What a celebration! Besides a couple of spontaneous praise songs introduced along the way, Jeanne planned 22 pieces of music into the service, drawing from a whole variety of worship traditions. (I was struck by this in part because Jeanne did the same for Karis’s memorial service: 22 pieces of music graced that service as well!)

I wish I could share them all with you, but here is one that captures the love, and freedom, and joy, and intimacy the Holy Spirit creates and facilitates in us and among us, an intertwining dance of Father, Son, and Spirit, “I Cannot Dance, O Love.” Here’s the version I found online:

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