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Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22, Isaiah 43: 1-5
Beloved, Precious Child of God, and Beautiful

Luke 3 …..  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

How wonderful it is – and how affirming – to be met on the threshold of these coming days with God’s voice speaking to us a word of hope and reassurance through our Scripture this morning.  In the story that Luke tells us, Jesus also stands at the threshold of a new beginning – his ministry not yet begun – and the way forward as yet unclear.  As he steps into the waters of the Jordan – he is met by God’s messenger, John the Baptist.  And as he willingly opens himself in trust through this act of baptism, he is given a blessing by God which will continue to strengthen and sustain him in the days ahead – no matter what they will hold of joy or pain:  “You are my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Beloved.  It is that same voice of God which blesses us as we, too, stand on this threshold a new year – a new beginning:   “You are my Beloved”.   In the shifting sands and turbulent waters of our own time – it is that Voice which provides the solid foundation on which we can step confidently into whatever the future may hold.  Knowing that we are God’s beloved gives us the strength and courage to face any challenges and overcome any obstacles that may come our way.