The second Sunday of January was the day Christians celebrate the baptism of Jesus. It’s a day for us to remember our own baptism and to remember who we are.
In the stories told in the Gospels about this event, we are told that after John baptized Jesus, a voice came from heaven. The voice said, “This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well-pleased.” I wonder if you ever think about what that voice said about you at your baptism. What does that voice say about you when you witness a baptism and remember that you have passed through the water.
In our baptism, we are sisters and brothers of Jesus, who came that we might have life. He came not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. God’s desire is for us to live with joy, to be filled with peace, to be part of the healing and blessing of the world.
Baptism joins us to the Body of Christ, to be part of his ministry. Through our baptism we are called to a new way of life and to be part of the ministry of reconciliation. We’re God’s ambassadors, people who work for healthy relations and reduced hostility.
Do you think of yourself that way – as someone God loves so much that God invites you to be part of the work of salvation? Do you know how deeply and profoundly God loves you? Lift your head up and remind yourself: “I am baptized. I’m a citizen of the kingdom of heaven!” Remind yourself of that often. You are beloved of God, a person of great worth and beauty.
And then – look around you and consider that everyone you see has that same identity.
Can that change the way you think about others? Can you remind yourself that, no matter how sad or cranky, unpleasant or annoying that person seems, they, too, are a child of God.
That person was once a child. They carry fears and anger from events that hurt them. God longs for their healing, too, just as God longs for you to be whole.
Our country seems more and more fragmented. People seem quick to condemn, to rush to judgment, to categorize into “us” and “them.”
I think that’s a symptom of projecting our “dark side,” our hidden anxieties and insecurities onto “the other.”
My prayer is for you to remember that you are loved. My prayer is for us to remember that everyone else is loved just as we are. In that reminder may we find healing from all that divides us.