Beloved

The First Sunday after the Epiphany is known as the Baptism of our Lord, the feast in which we commemorate the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and his baptism in the River Jordan. In Matthew’s account, as Jesus emerges from the waters a voice from heaven says to those assembled, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

The same is true for us in our baptisms. As we emerge from the waters God calls us “beloved.” In baptism we see the world as God intended, as creatures who belong to their Creator, beloved in God’s sight. Baptism reclaims for God what the world has diminished. In St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians he writes: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all Beloved.

On this Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, may we remember our identity as Beloved children of God, redeemed in the waters of baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.

Beginning with Beloved
A Blessing

Begin here:

Beloved.

Is there any other word
needs saying,
any other blessing
could compare
with this name,
this knowing?

Beloved.

Comes like a mercy
to the ear that has never
heard it.
Comes like a river
to the body that has never
seen such grace.

Beloved.

Comes holy
to the heart
aching to be new.
Comes healing
to the soul
wanting to begin
again.

Beloved.

Keep saying it
and though it may
sound strange at first,
watch how it becomes
part of you,
how it becomes you,
as if you never
could have known yourself
anything else,
as if you could ever
have been other
than this:

Beloved.

–Jan Richardson