This past Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Our Lord. The assigned Gospel reading for the day was Matthew 3:13-17. For those of you who were in worship, you know that I looked at the idea of identity through the eyes of Les Miserables and Jean Valjean. However, as I pondered this text, I was reminded of a couple of other valuable truths:
1. John the Baptist tries to talk Jesus out of what Jesus is trying to get him to do. Well, as many of you know, it doesn't work and and when we persist it rarely turns out well!
2. God calls Jesus beloved before his ministry even begins, before Jesus has done much of anything! It's not because of his great prayer life or power to heal or willingness to sacrifice. No, it's because he is God's Son. That's God for you. That's God FOR YOU.
In the waters of baptism, God names you and claims you as His own. Whether you were an infant, a youth, or an adult, whether you remember it or not, whether it was in a river, a pool, the font in your home church, or in a church that doesn't even exist anymore, the promises are for real and remain. These are promises that do not depend upon your holy resume or a cosmic scorecard but upon the grace of a God who is crazy about you, wants a loving relationship with you, and wants the very best for you.
After this astounding baptismal moment, Jesus goes off to meet the trials of the wilderness. In the wilderness of our own lives, let us not forget these amazing, life giving promises. See you in church!