I began a ministry to the Mexican migrant workers many years ago and found out that one family had prayed before traveling here from South Texas that God would send them a Christian family, person, church, etc. that would minister to them and help them in their need. When we first approached the camp, this family was in the cabin where we first made contact.
We forged a wonderful friendship with this Mexican family and when they returned to this area year after year we had fellowship with them often. On one of these occasions we had prepared a dinner and gathered together in a large circle to pray and bless the meal. The father of this large family brought out a bottle of olive oil and began to anoint himself and passed the bottle around the circle.
I must have shown some surprise and stared at him, because he immediately addressed my questioning look, saying; "It is the Holy Spirit."
I knew this, and I was aware of anointing ceremonies, participated in them and seen them done in many churches. What I had never seen is the way this was done. As each person received the bottle of olive oil, they poured generous amounts into their palms and literally bathed themselves in it, beginning with the head and face, and washing it over their hands and arms.
Before, when I was among those who anointed, it was usually done by placing just a few small dots of oil on the forehead, etc.
I suppose, as with all Christian customs and rituals, there are variations of how they are preformed, just like in denominations of churches that baptize by immersion or sprinkling, but this was a first for me. I had not seen such an immersion of oil.
I thought that it might have been because these people are parched and had no lotions and creams that we often use to soothe our skin. They work in the hot sun many hours a day, usually from sunup 'til sundown and this may have been their healing balm as well as their testimony.
Has anyone else seen this practice before? If so, or not, I am interested in your thoughts and interpretation of the manner in which this was done.
I would like to know, too, does your church practice anointing in oil? My family and I anoint our home on occasion. Some have found this odd. What do you think?
In His service,