Archive for the ‘Baptism of The Lord’ Category

Baptism of Jesus 1-12-2020

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Several years ago (actually quite a few years ago) I was sitting at
one of those tables in front of the Cooper House in Santa Cruz (before
the earthquake.) It was a beautiful day, smell of sea in the air, colorful
people, and live music. Perfect except:
There was a young couple that came over and sat down at the table
next to me. They had a little three year old with them. His name was
Billy. I’ll never forget his name. Billy, said his dad, “You are a bad boy.
A bad boy. Bad, bad Billy.” Dad had to take a breath and then mom
starts in. “Bad boy Billy, bad, bad boy.” They were at him for what
seemed like forever; finally I got up and left.
Those parents had convinced me Billy was probably the badest boy
that ever lived. Worse yet, maybe they convinced Billy of that.
I was annoyed with those parents. Don’t they know children need
to be corrected but also reassured and told they’re loved.
Inside every boy and girl, and I suspect inside every big boy and
girl is a longing to be approved and accepted by their parents. When that
is missing there is like an empty hole there.
People used to talk about Arturo Toscanini. As a child he never
knew whether or not his mother loved him. When he grew up and
received the acclaim of vast crowds for his music, he never was quite
sure, never was quite confident, and never was really at peace.
How chilling, to read one woman in Fay Welden’s book, Female
Friends saying, “I felt a relief that mother died, now there is one less pair
of critical eyes to judge me.”
Thank goodness the father of Jesus was different.
Jesus as a human being needed support and affirmation much like
anyone else. And at his baptism, that wonderful father of his says; “You
are my beloved son, and on you my favor rests.”
And that’s not all. You might think; O well that was Jesus. No
wonder he was so positive. But the truth is, God said the same thing to
everyone seated here on the day of our baptism. We came up out of the
water and the spirit descended on us like a dove, and God the father said,
“Look at you. You’re my beloved daughter. You’re my beloved son. On
you my favor rests.”
I’m not sure why many people find it easy to be critical of
themselves and of others. It has often been noted that Jesus never called
people sinners. The woman was not an adulteress. She was a person of
worth who had committed and adulterous act. The man who stole is not
a thief, but a person of worth who committed a grievous crime. Jesus
could separate the action, which was bad and needed correction, from
the person, who was made in God’s image and worthy of love.
It would be good if we could all walk two steps behind ourselves
and listen to the remarks that come out of our mouths. Are most of them
critical, negative or positive…up building? Words are powerful. Tell someone they are ugly, stupid, bad, often
enough and they’ll start acting that way. Thank God the reverse is true.
If God were to speak to us again today, and whisper what He said
to us on the day of our Baptism, I believe he would say these words we
all need to hear:“I made you in my image. I love you. I’m crazy about you. On
you my favor rests. Don’t beat each other up, each other individually,
nationally, when you have differences. You’re much too smart for that.
You’re in my image. Don’t tear your neighbors down when they are
less than perfect. That’s my boy, that’s my girl you are talking about. I
made you with better manners than that. You’re my image. And if you
fall, don’t spend too much time kicking yourself. Get up, experience
forgiveness, and move on. You’re not just anyone. You’re my beloved
son, you’re my beloved daughter. On you my favor rests.