Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, marked with the sign of Christ our King; born of the Spirit, we are God’s children; joyfully now God’s praises we sing!

from “Baptized in Water,” Michael A. Saward, 1981

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When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”

Matthew 3:16-17

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Lots of voices out there remind us that we’re not quite good enough. Bad grades on a test. Someone we thought was a friend badmouthing us. Parents who tell us by their words or their actions that we will never quite meet their expectations. It can make us long for someone — anyone — to tell us that we are loved anyway, no matter what we do.

That’s what makes this passage so amazing. God shouts out to everyone listening at Jesus’ baptism that he is God’s dearly beloved Son. That’s what happened at our baptisms too. God claimed us by the Holy Spirit and told us that we make God happy. Not because we finally got our act together. Not because our lives were perfect.

No, we make God happy because God created us and God loves us. Period. No matter what we do. Other voices may tell us that we’re not good enough, but at our baptism, God shouted out to everyone listening that we are God’s children — beloved, no matter what we do.

Chip Hardwick

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O loving God, thank you for claiming us in our baptisms, for you. Thank you that I don’t have to earn your love. You don’t love me because I finally got everything right in your eyes. Thank you that you love me even though I don’t have anything right in your eyes. Thank you for loving me, period. In Christ’s name, amen.

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Child of Blessing, child of promise, baptized with the Spirit’s sign, with this water God has sealed you unto love and grace divine!

from “Child of Blessing, Child of Promise,” Ronald S. Cole Turner, 1980

Chip Hardwick

Chip Hardwick is a pastor serving as the Director of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (USA). He follows the star in Louisville, Kentucky, with his cat Ahoy.

Advent - Watchmen Tell Us

Mark Hayes

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