Fredrick Buechner writes; “We must be careful with our lives, for Christ’s sake, because it would seem that they are the only lives we are going to have in this puzzling and perilous world, and so they are very precious and what we do with them matters enormously.”
Yesterday was the Baptism of the Lord in the church’s calendar. On this day of celebration we hear once again about the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan. We are reminded of ‘belovedness.’ We are reminded that God speaks during this event and declares of Jesus, “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” (Luke 3:22b). This is important for us. It is critical that we come to grips with how beloved it are. God speaks and says of us, “You are my son, you are my daughter, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” This life is a precious and wonderful gift given us by the Giver of all that is good. We often forget how beloved we are by God who gave us life. In turn we diminish ourselves and the role that we must play in doing God’s work. What we do with our lives “matters enormously.”
The first reading in yesterday’s lections was from Isaiah…
“I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”
I wonder if we can grasp the magnitude of this. This is a great commission. God has called us to seek justice and peace among all peoples. We are to be a light to the nations, hope for the prisoners. Now do not be intimidated by this. It is easy to get a little standoffish about this and feel that the work that we are called to is too great or that it is more than we are capable of. But we must remember that God has indeed grasped us by the hand as surely as a caring parent grasp the hand of the unsure child. If we feel that we are not as good as the next person for what God has called us to we need to be reminded that God is not in the business of playing favourites. In the Acts reading yesterday we see these words shared “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
What a great gift we have been given – life. Now…what are we doing with it? How are we responding to the notion that God loves us entirely, as much as the next person, and that God has our hand and is guiding us to be a victorious people of hope and light? Who needs to be freed by our hand or our words today? Who needs justice from us today? Who needs our forgiveness today? Whom shall we seek forgiveness from today? To where shall we travel to enter into action that will remind us of the day that we too, walked into the holy waters and committed to peace and to justice?
There is no need to hang our heads…we need only embrace the notion that we are embraced and beloved…and go respond well to the life God has given us.