Sunday, January 8, 2017

Year A, The Baptism of our Lord, "You, my Child"

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

In the Beginning, as God created us, there were two words that described how he felt.

"Tov Meod."

These are the Hebrew words for "Good, exceedingly Good."  God looked at all that he had made and saw that it was Good.  Really, really, Good.  Not just 'alright', or 'sort of good', or 'good, but.  .  .'  God saw all that he made and yes, indeed, it was exceedingly Good.  Tov Meod.

And that, remains God's opinion of you, his child.  It is part of your identity.

Oh, there are times when our own personal failures threaten that essential part of our identity.  Its been over four years now since I first had to speak the words "I am an alcoholic."  That identity I'd been denying for some time.  I was deeply ashamed of what I'd become.  

Yet confessing that identity led me down the path of recovery.  Now there is an addendum to that confession.  "I am an alcoholic-- who has recovered."  "Alcoholism, in remission" is my official medical diagnosis.  I have been set free.  And that is "Tov Meod."

As Jesus was coming up out of the water following his baptism by John, the heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove and God said “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  These words that God spoke to Jesus at his baptism, are the words he speaks to us as well.  "You are my son, my daughter, I love you, and with you, my child, I am well pleased.

These words and this identity take us to two places.

First they take us back to our creation, and the words "Tov Meod".  Good, exceedingly Good.  God delights in us.  God loves us.  God is well pleased with us, his children.  Wow!

And secondly, they take us to the foot of the cross where by the grace of God we have been forgiven and born again.    

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,

so far he removes our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:11 & 12)




And God says "With you I am well pleased!"  and "Tov Meod!"

Nothing more needs to be said, for this is who we now are.  

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