Pause

A new school year is like a clean slate, waiting for you to write your new experiences, new growth, and new learning upon it.

As you begin again, consider what new things Jesus might want to do with you in the coming weeks, months, and year.

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Listen

When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down on him in bodily form like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry.

Luke 3:21-23a

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Think

If you blink you might miss it. “While everyone else was being baptized, Jesus WAS ALSO baptized.” The baptism of Jesus is a common story. Sitting in the pews of many churches you can look around and find a stained glass window featuring a serene looking Jesus in the water, a dove in the clouds hovering above his head. But you NEVER see other people in this picture, do you?

How great, though, is it to read and to comprehend that next to Jesus were other people also being baptized, being joined to the family of God, being reminded by the water that they had a new life to grow, to live.

Sometimes Jesus seems far away, sort of remote and removed — locked away in pages or windows. But he is there. He was there in the river next to people like you. Receiving God's LOVE, like you. Feeling scared, excited, and included, like you. Jesus was not alone. He was in the midst of others as God welcomed him to the next steps of his life... just like you.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

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Pray

O God, you called Jesus “beloved.” Sometimes I struggle to feel that I am beloved. Sometimes I struggle to feel a part of something, of a community or a group. See me today, God, as you saw Jesus — in need of your Spirit, in need of your blessing. I am ready. Amen.

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Go

God has been there from the beginning of all time and is with you in each new beginning.

May the God who makes things new bless you and keep you.

May Jesus’ love shine upon you and through you.

May the Holy Spirit bring you peace.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

Gina Yeager-Buckley serves as the national Associate for Ministries with Youth for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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Carter Harrell

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