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January 11 Post

“Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized... 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.”

God called Jesus beloved Son, before ever he accomplished a single thing on earth to fulfill his purpose. His ministry had not begun, his disciples had not been called, the authorities had not been confronted, no blind man healed, no lame man walked. Mary Magdalene had not yet loved him for the ways he changed her life. God called Jesus beloved the way those of us who have given birth know that we would lay down our life for the child we carry in our womb before that child ever enters the world.

When we don’t know our beloved-ness, we fulfill but a shadow of our greatest possibility. When we never knew, or forget who we are and to whom we belong, we reach a point when we secretly think and feel that all that we have and all that we’ve done is not enough. When we seek affirmation of our beloved-ness primarily from the world, we discover that no amount of accomplishment or accolade in the world seems sufficient.

We may say that we believe God loves us as beloved children unconditionally, yet most of us act as if that weren’t true. We tend to act as if our worthiness depends on keeping account of our value rather than trusting our inherent value from God. We act as if our value depends on what we accomplish, what others say about us, or what we possess.

When we do something great, we feel great, when we don’t, we’re disappointed in ourselves or feel ashamed that we didn’t live up to our own expectations. When someone posts something great about us on social media, we feel wonderful, but as soon as someone says something critical to us or about us, we’re hurt. When someone talks against me or against you, it cuts to our heart. It can stay with us the whole day and ruin our outlook and attitude. Our faith informs us otherwise. Proverbs 29 teaches: ‘It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.”

When we can check off a list of all the things we wanted in life, a good relationship, adoring family, excellent health, beautiful home or grown-up toys, we’re excited. As soon as a fire comes, or our health fails or someone we love leaves us, we become depressed. Life then becomes a roller coaster of joy and sorrow, that keeps us anxious or afraid.

When I do a lot of things that I think are important, when others say wonderful things about me, when I have a lot of things, I’m up, I’m happy. When something happens that threatens any one of those things, I’m unhappy: health declines and I can’t do what I once did; others are saying things about me that hurt or upset me, or I lose what I have. When bad things happen, I have a tendency not only to grieve, which is a very human response, but to also become depressed, to feel inadequate, lost, unhinged from the moorings that I thought I could count on to hold my life.

Hear this incredibly good news for you and for me. The baptism of Jesus promises us one of the essential and life-giving convictions of our lives. Before we have done or accomplished anything, we, like Jesus, are all beloved sons and daughters, children of God. That understanding changes everything.

Part of life’s most essential work is to live according to the knowledge of our beloved-ness by God, whether we receive it from our parents or those we love, or not. From the moment we recognize and claim the truth of our beloved-ness first and foremost by God, the great spiritual adventure of our life truly begins.

Prayer: Thank you God for your amazing regard for us as beloved creatures. In light of your goodness, we cannot help but experience joy even through challenging times. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Dr. Anna V. Copeland

The Community Church of Vero Beach

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