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Adopted and Beloved

You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:11, NRSV

Yesterday was the First Sunday after the Epiphany, also known as the Baptism of our Lord, in which Jesus is baptized in the river Jordan and a voice from heaven states, “You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased.”

According to our Book of Common Prayer: “Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.”[1]

In other words, just as a loving parent first seeks to adopt a child—through baptism we recognize that God has adopted us into his family (see Galatians 4:4-7). And when we’re adopted, we can never be un-adopted. Indeed, adoption under Roman law was better than being a biological child. You could disinherit biological offspring, but not those you had brought into your family through adoption. Because of Jesus, and marked in baptism, we become beloved children of God, heirs to all God has for us, and with whom He is well pleased.

The good news that we discover through the waters of baptism is that God meets us and accepts us just as we are. Yet, God also loves us too much to stay that way. As adopted children and heirs, He calls us to embrace our inheritance. He desires to do incredible things for us and through us.

So today, as we remember Jesus’ baptism, may we also remember our identity and mission found in our Baptismal Covenant: to seek and serve Christ in all persons—to strive for justice and peace among all people—and to respect the dignity of every human being.[2] Today, with God’s grace, may we reach out to others with the same love that God has already shown us so that they too may hear the words, “You are my child, the beloved: with you I am well pleased.”

[1] BCP, p.858
[2] BCP, p.305
The Rev. Chad T. Martin
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