"You are my child, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased." Mark 1:11
When our eldest daughter was about 15 months old we moved from Baltimore to Denver. Mark has been asked to be part of the staff at a brand new theater. The building was not finished when we first arrived and there was dust and workers everywhere. As with any huge undertaking like this, there was much anxiety about the timely completion of the stage and lobby. But even more so was the anxiety about filling the seats. There is always the nagging question, "if we build it will they come?" I took this photo of Emily and it was used in the subscriber slide show, encouraging folks to get involved. Whether it has been in the theater or in church, we have tried to involve our children in our lives, having them participate and learn many aspects of the work we do. Some days it has been a real blessing for us all, this family togetherness, and sometimes it's a challenge, especially for our children. We probably haven't told them nearly enough how grateful we are for their love, indulgence, participation and endless support. We haven't told them nearly often enough what wonderful, remarkable and beautiful women they are. Families sometimes just assume that others understand how we feel.
Even the son of God, even Jesus, needed affirmation from his heavenly parent. Like all human beings it was important for him as well as the disciples to hear this communication from father to son, from parent to child. All of us, no matter what age, need to hear words of appreciation, we need to know we are seem and hear, we need to know our life means something. At his baptism, and at ours, God speaks out loud about the divine love and care for us. Jesus was called the son, the child and the beloved, in whom the author of the universe was well pleased. Those words are not for Jesus alone, for God, good parent to us all, articulates in every fiber of the universe, God's love that is bothy boundless and grateful for our beings. God finds pleasure and joy in our living. Incredible, really. Many people who have had less than adequate parenting might equate the parenting they received as a sign of God parenting. But God's parenting is love made visible, appreciation spoken out loud from the heavens. There was no holding back on God's joy and delight, then or now.
May this Sunday, as we celebrate the baptism of our Lord, know that we are loved and beloved of God. Wanted and needed, critical to the life of our many communities. And may we remind each other how precious a gift we are to one another. Around us are always people that need to be reminded of how beloved they are. Too often we see our shortcomings, too often we fail to tell each other of our gratefulness for love's presence in our lives. May we use our voices and our lives today to articulate the love and thanksgiving we have as children in the family of God.