The sound of sacred music was permeating the Chapel of a Retreat House in Jacksonville on a special night in January. About forty members of various National Leadership Groups, comprised of different ethnic groups and languages, were getting ready to sign the Fostering Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Covenant of Understanding document. We had read and talked about it before; yet now we had to commit ourselves to unity in a public signing ceremony.

While the music played, and the candles were lit, one by one we walked toward the Altar. As I waited for my turn I was overwhelmed with feelings of thankfulness for our Charismatic Renewal. I was about to sign the affirmation of the special grace the Lord has given to us which is baptism in the Holy Spirit.

As I waited, I thought of all the ones with whom we have journeyed together. I thanked God for them. I remembered the ones who have walked away or have fallen after having such a transforming experience. I said a prayer for them, and I asked the Lord for an opportunity to look for and invite them back. I thought of the many other groups, including brothers and sisters from other Religions, who share with us the same experience or baptism in the Holy Spirit. My heart rejoiced before our merciful God who has embraced us with his powerful love.

I stood up for my turn. I walked to the Altar, the place of the Sacrificial Covenant, and with trembling hand I took the pen. I read one more time the commitment I was about to make, and I signed. I affirmed that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a positive source of unity, the one that Jesus prayed for in John 17.

A reflection by Cruz Teresa Rosero, Member of the Hispanic National Service Committee (CNSH). Para leer en español, haga clic aquí. Some photos from this event can be found on the Facebook page dedicated to the Covenant of Understanding.