An excerpt from the sermon…
And I guess that is what the baptism of Jesus is about.
He was not baptised because he needed to repent.
He was baptised because he entered fully into our humanity,
into all that drives us into a muddy old river to have water poured onto us
because we hope for something more,
because we long for newness,
for another go,
for our life to be restored to us,
for the heavens to split open with the uncontainable delight of God,
as God declares, “You are my Son, my beloved, with you I am well pleased”
We’re going to remember our baptism tomorrow, and rather than focussing on the promises we made, promises to love our neighbour, to forgive others as we are forgiven, to seek peace and justice, to accept the cost of following Christ, I’m hoping to focus our attention on this declaration of our belovedness. Paul Tillich wrote that faith was accepting acceptance. It is sometimes easier to do with our heads, than to allow our sense of our selves, our identity, to be shaped by a deep and certain acceptance of our acceptance. I’m thinking my sermon will finish something like this:
What if when we renewed our baptismal vows what we did
was soak up, like a thirsty sponge,
all that delight,
all that shining face of God
gazing on us with love and holding us in being?
What if we accepted God’s acceptance of us?
“You are my child, my beloved, with you I am well pleased”.
So this morning my question is this.
What might it mean to you, to know yourself as the Beloved of God?
How might you live, so others will also know themselves this way?
Let us turn now to this symbol of water,
to remind ourselves of our baptisms,
to recall our identity at the beloved sons and daughters of God,
to accept the acceptance God offers us in Christ
“You are my child, my beloved, with you I am well pleased.”