You, yes YOU are God’s Beloved

{ Luke 3: 15-16 & 21-22}

 My Spiritual Director, Fr Bob, pointed out to me  that Jesus didn’t begin His earthly ministry until he was baptized in the Jordan River. Fr Bob als commented that Christ’s real ministry during his time in Galilee began not with His arrival but when  the Holy Spirit descended upon Him & God said to Him ” You are my Son, the Beloved , with you I am well pleased”

Wow…can you imagine being witness to that Baptism?   One of the practices that unites Christians of all creeds is that of Baptism. We Anglicans place a lot of emphasis on Baptism. We believe that it is Baptism, not Confirmation, that  initiates a person into the household of God & therefore  any Baptized Christian in our tradition is welcome to recieve Holy Communion. 

I am a very visually-oriented person, so every time I walk into the nave of my home parish & see that lovely baptismal font right in the middle of the back of the aisle. This is a very potent remionder that it is in that waters of Baptism that God claims God’s children as heirs to the Kingdom.  At home I have a small earthenware vessel filled with water which reminds me of my own Baptism, many years ago on a sunny autumn morning in a small rural Presbyterian church.  Unlike many  of we Anglo-Catholics, I was Baptized as an adult, since neither one of my parents attended church.

One of my favorite parts of the baptismal Service in our Prayer  Book is when the Priest says:

“We thank you, Father, for the waters of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in His death. By it we share in His resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son we bring into His fellowship those who come to Him in faith….”

 No matter  in which Christian tradition  one finds oneself, it is through the waters of Baptism that God claims us as a member of the Christian family. Through Baptism, Christ Himself becomes our elder brother . How awesome is that…we mere sinners are beloved by God. No matter what we have done or left undone, God loves us!

Different Christian traditions have slightly different takes on Baptism. Some will baptize infants while others baptize only those who are old enough to answer God’s call to be a Christian. Some use water sprinkled on the initiate’s forehead while others  prefer baptism by total immersion in water. All of these are well & good. The important part is that everyone recognize that in our Baptism, God tells us that WE are also God’s beloved children, sons & daughters  who are heirs of the Kingdom.   And God is very pleased with  all of us, even though we sin  many times per day.  God loves all of us just as God loves the Son who was born, lived & taught, died , was buried and rose again on that glorious first Easter morning.

  Father Bob also pointed out to me that it was not until after  Jesus was baptized, His real work here on Earth began. None of the miracles we read about in the Gospels occur until after  the story we read today.  The Baptism of the Lord is a feast day on our liturgical calendar.{ as it should be!}

 Sometimes I find myself totally unlovable, but then I remind myself that God loves me & is pleased with me. It is hard to forgive others, but  { at least for me} I find it much harder to forgive myself of my many transgressions. But then all I need to remember is, by my Baptism, God claimed me as one of the family of Believers. What an amazing Gift from our all-knowing but ever-loving Creator.

This is very Good News!

Amen.

Feast of the Lord’s Baptism 2010

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