“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22b (NRSV)
After Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the writer of Luke says that a voice from heaven spoke the words in the verse quoted above. Jesus was at the beginning of his ministry, so his baptism was like an affirmation and sending forth. In his baptism, he was named and claimed by God as God’s own beloved son.
There is truly nothing like a parent’s love for their child. Most parents would do whatever they could to care for their children and protect them to the best of their ability. My husband talks about the privilege of being there when his children were born and what a joy it was to be able to care for them. They are all grown now, but he still has great pride in them and would do whatever he could to help them.
God’s love for Jesus came in the amazing word “beloved.” God rejoiced in the beloved son and sent him forth to spread the message of God’s love with others. Jesus personified God to people – put flesh on God. Jesus was touchable, tangible, and always teaching.
Good parenting includes being touchable, tangible, and always teaching. Love encompasses both nurture and correction. God’s love nurtures us and leads us, guides us, corrects us as we grow into the likeness of being God’s beloved child.
For years, I have invited folks in my congregations to put their name in the sentence, “__(name)__, your are my beloved; with you I am well pleased.” I’m not sure how many actually do it. I’m not sure how many really believe it. I’m not sure how many are affected by it. And I’m not sure how many develop a better understanding of God’s love because of putting their name there.
Whenever I put my name in that sentence, I’m reminded that I’m wonderfully and uniquely made in the image of God, as a special child of God, who has been blessed, named, and ordained in my baptism to live in this world as the vehicle for sharing God’s love with others. It’s a ministry all of us have when we are baptized in Jesus’ name.
So, who are you? Who is God calling you to be? How is God calling you to live? And how will you live it?