You Are Beloved
Christmas is over and the Christian Church has entered the season of Epiphany. One of the first stories we hear in Epiphany is the Baptism of Jesus. After Jesus is baptized, the gospels tell us the heavens open and God’s voice proclaims these words: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” We don’t use the word beloved very often, but it’s a deeply meaningful word.
Beloved means dearly loved and in scripture refers to God’s divine love. I recently read Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen, and in this book Nouwen says that the words, “You are my Beloved, reveal the most intimate truth about all human beings.” God sees us as Beloved, but we do not always see ourselves that way. We hear the inner voice of self-rejection that says we are not good enough and will never be good enough. We hear the voices of the world around us which tell us we only have value and worth if we can perform well and achieve great things. Especially at the start of a New Year, we hear the voices that tell us to improve ourselves: lose weight, start working out, get organized, or learn a new hobby. The inner voice of self-rejection and the voices of the world that tell us we will be loved if we can do more and be a better person are loud and insistent, and can easily drown out the voice of God which calls us Beloved, dearly loved children of God. As we begin a New Year, I invite you to listen to the quiet voice of God which calls you Beloved. The voice of God reminds you when your body is failing and you cannot do all the things you used to do — you are Beloved. The voice of God reminds you that you are created in God’s image and called by name — you are Beloved.
Th e voice of God reminds you that even when you fail and make mistakes — you are Beloved. You are of great value and worth to God and that is why you are Beloved.
Stephanie Bowman, Associate Chaplain