“You are my beloved.” I heard a powerful sermon recently on these words. The pastor was referring to Jesus baptism in Luke 3 where the Spirit descended on Christ like a dove and there came a voice from heaven, saying, “You are my beloved, with you I am well pleased.” These consoling words changed Jesus life forever. He was probably searching like all of us, for who he is and what he is supposed to do, and then all of a sudden he hears these words of affirmation and confirmation. Suddenly, Jesus knows who he is. He discovers his identity, his vocation, and his calling.
Some of us feel like we’re searching for that affirmation, identity, and calling in life. We need to remember Jesus’ baptism and the strength and understanding he received in this joyful acceptance from his heavenly father and hear the message for each of us as well. We are truly and unconditionally, “God’s beloved.” We too often listen to the voice of the world that tells us we are not good enough, not measuring up, not ….but instead we need to feel God’s validation and hear his words calling us, “beloved.”
For me, these words carry with them some responsibility. Henry Nouwen encourages us to live out “a spirituality of love, of belovedness, the life of the beloved.” I believe that means loving and serving everyone, whether they are the poor people of New Orleans, the “enemies” of Iraq, or the criminals on death row. We can only be people that build each other up if we feel the affirming words of God, “You are my beloved,” and then recognize others as also beloved sisters and brothers.–BBM