We Trust Our Belovedness
January 2, 2024
Rev. Cecilia D. Armstrong
A Sanctified Art, LLC | www.sanctifiedart.org

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.
~ Luke 3:21-22

My mother was a jewel. Every morning she would wake me by singing a question to me. In her best singing voice, she’d ask, “Hey good lookin’. Wha’chu got cookin’? How's ‘bout cookin’ somethin’ up with me?” Now, Momma was not Hank Williams in any way but her affirmation of me every morning was the start of a wonderful day. Even today, I am fueled by her affirmation even though she is no longer with me. I must admit that knowing that Mom was interested in my plans everyday and that she was willing to be a part of my activities or to include me in her activities helped to develop the work ethic I have. I knew that Mom was my greatest cheerleader.

In our text, Jesus is praying. Jesus is having a conversation with God. God, a Heavenly Parent, is listening intently to Jesus praying. The conversation has been recorded for us to hear. God affirms Jesus’ ministry: “You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Our faith tradition allows us to hear God’s voice, see the embodiment of the Holy Spirit in the form like a dove, and witness the baptism of Jesus. We can concentrate on the presence of the Trinity, or we can witness the actions of a parent with a child.

John’s responsibility was prophesied in Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:67- 80). Here we find the fulfillment of his parental blessing. John the Baptist did go before the Lord to prepare the way. John the Baptist did give knowledge of salvation to the people by the forgiveness of their sins. John did grow and become strong in spirit. John was affirmed by the prophecy placed on his life not only by God but also by the loving remarks of his father, Zechariah. 

If we are going to trust our belovedness, could we see and receive our baptism as an affirmation from our Heavenly Parent? We should remember that we belong to God. We are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life (Ephesians 2:10). We are created, called, and commissioned at our own baptism, which should fuel our joy to be children of God.

As a weary world seeks ways to rejoice, one way could be in receiving the declaration of love affirmed by God in our baptism as it was declared in Jesus’ baptism. Can you imagine God singing the refrain from that song by Hank Williams? God calls us “good lookin’” because we were created in the image of God. God questions us to remember the call on our lives by asking us, “what we have cookin’?” God commissions us to “cook up somethin’” with God as co-creators in a world that longs to rejoice. How does a weary world rejoice? Welp, we cook up somethin’ with God and be the source of God’s joy.