“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11
Greetings, Fremont Family:
This coming Sunday is Baptism of our Lord Sunday, the day that commemorates Jesus being baptized by John in the River Jordan. The occasion of Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and what follows will be a fast-paced (in Mark’s gospel), intense ministry where Jesus calls disciples, travels and teaches throughout Galilee, heals the sick and disenfranchised, and provokes the hatred and rejection of the religious leadership culminating in his crucifixion in Jerusalem. But, it begins in blessing. As Jesus emerges from the water, God names and claims him “my son, the Beloved.”
Beginnings matter, and this Epiphany season, we will focus on “origin stories.” We will hear the account of creation in Genesis where God’s Spirit hovers over the waters, and out of chaos, God brings forth life. We will hear how in the beginning, there was original blessing. God sees all that God has made and calls it “good.” And as it is in creation, so it is with new creation. Jesus, the second Adam, begins by being called Beloved. 2021 is a new year (thanks be to God!), and how we begin matters. Can we hear God speak over us in this new year and call us God’s children, the Beloved? What difference does that make?
To begin in belovedness changes everything. It means that we have nothing to fear. It means that we are named and claimed by God, and as a result, we don’t have to grasp or contend because God’s grace and provision go before us. They are more than enough. It means that we can live and move and have our being in God’s belovedness, and we can extend that original blessing to others. Simply put, it means we are loved. We are loved. We are loved!
As we begin a new year, may we begin in “beloved” and move forward in blessing. May this blessing remind us of who we are (God’s children)and lead us toward our call to follow Jesus wherever he may lead us this year. May we claim our blessing and live in the light of God’s love. May it be so.
Epiphany blessings, Pastor Erin
**Photo credit to Claudia Roberts who captured the beautiful sky reflected in water on the ground.