You are a beloved child of God. That is who you are. That is whose you are.
This is a message we hear a lot in church. But have you really heard it — and embraced its truth for your life?
How does knowing — and remembering — that you are a beloved child of God impact your day-to-day life?
This Sunday is the day in the Christian Calendar called The Baptism of Our Lord, when we remember Jesus’ baptism and reaffirm our own baptism in that light. In our scripture reading for this week, as Jesus is being baptized by John, “heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.’“
I find happiness in him.
Think about those words for just a moment. In this one simple statement of affirmation during Jesus’ baptism, we see God as the most loving of parents: “I find happiness in him.”
Jesus’ teaching about God is that God’s love for us mirrors all the things we might say about how a devoted parent loves a child: acceptance, grace, and yearning for the best. Because of God’s love and God’s infinite grace, we are all God’s beloved children.
Baptism is a sacrament, a symbolic act that signifies this special relationship to God we all share. When this relationship — and our continued awareness of it — shapes how we view life and how we live our lives, it also shapes how we treat one another.
When Martin Luther, the sixteenth-century Protestant reformer, was under severe pressure — even under threat of death — from the papacy to recant his teachings, he never would have survived if it weren’t for his protectors in Germany. In the face of this constant and imminent danger, Martin Luther found peace by simply saying to himself, over and over again, “Remember that you are baptized.”
In those five words, Martin Luther also found the strength to carry on. By reminding himself that he was a “beloved child of God,” he knew he could live each day with confidence, trust, courage, and conviction.
So the question is, what difference does baptism make to us? What significance does knowing that we are “a beloved child of God” hold for each of us in our own lives? How does it impact the way we live our lives and face our own challenges?
There’s nothing magical about the water we use in baptism, but there is power in what baptism symbolizes — and the effect it has on the baptized.
I look forward to exploring this idea of baptism with you this Sunday in the 9:30 and 11:00 am Sanctuary services as we reaffirm our baptism together. And, at 11:00 am we will also celebrate the baptism of thirteen young people in our Confirmation class in advance of the confirmation of the entire class on January 26.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in the Sanctuary!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
Matthew 3:13-17 (CEB)
At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?” Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus. When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”