“Forever a Part” Luke 3:21-22

“And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21

When Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and God said something to Jesus that was provocative but at the same time refreshing and amazing, “with you I am well pleased.”  At the very moment these words were spoken, a holy and sacred community was created that affirmed the amazing grace God has for us. Saint Paul describes it this way; “Now you are part of the Body of Christ and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27) In other words, when God spoke to Jesus, God was speaking to you; you are God’s beloved and you, especially you, have been given a gift of an eternal relationship with God.  This relationship can be stretched but can never be broken, God’s grip of grace will never let go of an outstretched arm. Being in the grip of God’s grace does not mean our individualism is dissolved yet it does mean that God uses the individual gifts each of us have received to build up the divine relationship forged by our baptism into the “Body of Christ.”  Because the love of God through Christ Jesus is so strong, so eternal, though the world may seem to leave you desolate God will never leave you nor forsake you. Perhaps the greatest challenge in a culture of individualism and isolation is to rise above the reality we essentially create and turn to the Truth, which is waiting for you with open arms. The community of believers, the Body of Christ, the church, is a relationship not driven by dues, contract, ethnicity, race, or any other category or requirement conceived by humanity; all you need is faith and to turn back to the One who breathed into you the breath of life and whose love for you has no end.  Bottom line, you are God’s Beloved, no matter what a mess you have made of your life; your slate has been wiped clean by the blood of Christ and the gift you have received is life, in abundance.  Remember your baptism and remember the absolute importance of the relationship God is offering to you, one that only needs to be accepted and received.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of eternity and the abundance of your grace we have received.

Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor

Fields United Methodist Church

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