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This week's author is Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.'
When I think of Baptism the image that comes to mind is Jamie Harrison (pastor of the First Congregational Church of Woodstock) lifting a sometimes squirmy child and proclaiming "this is Jane/John, God's Child." Just as God descended from heaven to recognize Jesus as the beloved son, we recognize our children as God's beloved and promise to raise them, as parents and church family, as beloved of God.
As adults we try to live as God's beloved, but is not always easy. We become squirmy when we realize that being beloved means we must recognize the belovedness in others. This great gift from God must be shared and honored each day as we meet others in our lives.
As the new year begins it is a good time to reflect on our own belovedness and that of others. How can we be more intentional with this recognition and appreciate the gift that we are?
May you know the blessing that is God's love profoundly and deeply in yourself and in others in the coming year.
Holy One, we are grateful for the love you bestow upon us so graciously. Help us share that love in all that we do. Amen.
Central Village Cong'l Church
SU Mr. Jason Bachand
PE The Rev. Gordon C. Johnson
MM H. Kapszukiewicz
First Cong'l Church of Cheshire
IN The Rev. David Buchan
AP The Rev. Alison G. McCaffrey
CE Ms. Deborah L. Gravell
The United Church of Chester
P The Rev. Kathleen O. Peters
CE The Rev. Sara Salomons
First Church of Christ, Inc.
P The Rev. Christopher C. Horvath
PE The Rev. Wilson L. Busick
Colchester Federated Church
P The Rev. Linda U. Barnes
CE Ms. Tracy Bausum
Columbia Cong'l Church, Inc.
IN The Rev. James H. Silver
MV The Rev. Robert B. Fichter
CE Ms. Jean W. Murphy
The Spirit Calendar: January 07, 2008 by Cecile Gilson, Executive Assistant to the Conference Minister