Sunday the church celebrities the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan-- his commissioning for his ministry. You may recall that as Jesus comes up from the water a voice from the heavens affirms that he is well pleasing and beloved of God. This is the foundation out of which Jesus’ ministry comes-- his belonging to the father, his belovedness.
The ancient church said that when Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, all the waters of the world were made holy. In other words, the water in which Jesus is baptized is the water all of us are baptized in, and we too are called well-pleasing, beloved. We too are claimed and belong to the family of God, through the work of Jesus who claims us as God's own.
The world around us may give us all sorts of negative messages, may shame us, may make us feel guilty or not good enough. Whenever you hear those messages in your life, simply remember who God says, you are -- beloved, well-pleasing, a member of the household of God. That's the message we announce this Sunday for us and the whole world.
In particular, we have the privilege of bringing into the household of faith Emile Leo Lopez, son of Chris and Jessica Lopez who will be baptized into new life in Christ at the 11:00 a.m. mass. Emile will be marked as Christ's own forever as each of us were marked on the day of our baptism. Emile will become part of the great family of God, and the family of St. John's in particular.
We hope that Emile, and all the children of St. John's, will be raised up knowing who they truly are in Christ. That's the real goal of what our ministry with children. The family area, where children can be themselves playing on a comfortable and colorful rug in the service, with their parents nearby is one small attempt to show children they belong here just as they are. They are beloved by God, and this community. They are our children and God's. This is why we want to continue to explore ways to include children in worship and form them in Christ. We hope this year to think of more innovative and effective ways to that.
On this feast of the Baptism of our Lord, may you know that you too are well-pleasing, beloved and commissioned to carry on his work of reclaiming the world for God's Kingdom.