As we come together this feast of Pentecost to celebrate the birth of the Church and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we will celebrate baptism and we will all renew our baptismal covenant together.
This year, we’re going to do something new—we’re going to sprinkle holy water on everyone present as a reminder of the cleansing water of baptism and new life in Christ. This act is called Asperges, a Latin word that means “to sprinkle.” The phrase is taken from Psalm 51:7, "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Hyssop, a small branch, has been used in various rites of purification, the earliest mention being in Exodus 12 when God instituted the Passover! Cleansing with water has also been a part of worship from the earliest days of the church, reminding us of the water of baptism.
Asperges, or the sprinkling of holy water, is a beautiful and tangible reminder of our own baptisms and the truth that the water of baptism never runs dry but is a spring overflowing with new, cleansing life (John 4). So come thirsty on Pentecost, ready to drink of the living water and remember that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.