A Reflection by The Rev. Todd Foster
In Matthew 3.17, after Jesus is baptized by John, the heavens open up, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of God is heard: “This is my son, my beloved. I am pleased with him.”
I believe that Jesus was truly God and truly human. He was a man, with a family. He was a baby, a child, a teenager, a learner, and a laborer. But at the same time, Jesus was God.
Jesus is what would happen if God were to live out your life. Perfectly.
Jesus is our example of how to live a godly life: in other words, how to live as we were really meant to live. God put on flesh and lived among us to show us how it’s done, how we might live in the “real world” rather than the little constructed realities in which we each try to hide.
So I read our Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life with great interest. I’ve not yet learned to walk on water or to heal the sick with a touch. But I try to walk, I try to spend some time on the water, and I try to touch the sick I find around me with an encouraging word, and open an ear, and a gentle hug.
When Jesus was baptized and the heavens opened up, who had ears to hear and eyes to see what happened? Did just Jesus see what was going on? Did John the Baptist? Did the crowds surrounding them? I don’t know: the biblical text is unclear. But for those who did hear and see, the message was clear: Jesus is loved by God. God’s Holy Spirit sits upon Jesus in wisdom and power.
Do you remember your baptism? Did you hear or see God? Were you old enough to remember? As many of you as have been baptized have joined with Jesus in that experience. You have acknowledged God’s love for you. You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit as Christ’s own, forever. You are the object of God’s delight.
This is now the foundation of your life. You are beloved by the Creator of the Universe. God delights in you. This is the ultimate reality: the one by which you can safely shape your understandings, your thoughts, words, and actions. You are free.
Every person is beloved of God. But not everyone grasps that truth. And that truth makes all the difference in a life. In joy and sorrow, in good times and in adversity, in health and in sickness, the deeper reality is always there: you are the object of God’s delight. No one can take that away from you. You cannot ever lose it. You can only choose to ignore it, to forget it, to grasp onto some lesser plane as the foundation for your being.
We get distracted. We are distracted by jobs, by politics, by chores, by challenging relationships. We are distracted by too many claims on our time and attention, too many opportunities to accomplish things that seem important. We are distracted by invitations to pleasure, invitations to consume, invitations to bear grudges. We can get lost in a world of secondary concerns and trade our freedom for bondage to things that never really satisfy.
Or we can remember that we are the objects of God’s delight.
We gather as Church in order to remember. We share communion in order to remember. We spend time with one another in order to remember together, to remind one another, and to share our experiences of life as the objects of God’s delight. This is life in God’s Kingdom.
You are God’s child, God’s beloved. With you God is well-pleased.
Seattle Epiphany Music Guild Concert
Mark Brombaugh, organist
January 29, 2017 – 6 pm
In the Chapel
Organist Mark Brombaugh will perform works of Buxtehude, Bach, Stanley, Woodman, and Gade on the new Chapel organ by Martin Pasi and Associates. Co-Director of Music at Christ Church, Tacoma, Brombaugh is formerly a faculty member in organ, harpsichord, and church music at the University of Oregon, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Illinois. At Westminister Choir College he was also Acting Head of the Church Music Department. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, the University of Louisville, and Yale University.
Affinity Gathering – Legal Professionals
January 24 at 6 – 7:30 pm
Affinity groups are mixers meant to foster connections with people who have common interests, backgrounds, or experience. This month’s Affinity Group is intended for those who work in the Legal Professions. If you are an attorney, judge, paralegal, or other professional involved in legal work, please join us in the Fireside Room on Tuesday, 24 January, any time between 6 pm and 7.30 pm. Appetizers, desserts, and beverages will be provided. RSVP to the church office. For more details click here.
Meet Our 2017 Vestry Nominees
Make A Note…
Madrona’s Winter Playfair and Potluck at Epiphany’s Great Hall
Save the Jan 14 date (anytime between 4:00-7:00pm) for Madrona’s Winter Playfair and Potluck at Epiphany’s Great Hall. Featuring fun for all ages in a wide range of activities: Twister, Legos (bring to use if you have them), puzzles, decorations for Valentine’s Day, face painting, Pokeman Play and Trade, poetry slam, learn to knit, exchange books and magazines, and much more. Email me with additional suggestions. Barbara Parker, email@example.com
Come Out and Support Our Local Madrona K-8 School
The community is invited to Multicultural Night on Thursday, January 19, from 5 to 8pm. Bring a dish for the potluck. click here for more information.
Second Sunday after Epiphany