Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (NRSV)
Verse 15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, Verse 16John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Verse 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Verse 21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, Verse 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
Hymn Reflection: ELW 631
I have two sons and each time I think of them I feel overwhelmed with love and pride, even when they haven’t always done what I have asked of them. Well, I wasn’t much different with my parents. Yet they never stopped showering undeserved love upon me and grace even when I did something that was wrong. Maybe that was because they too had been no different as children and understood me. They never stopped loving me. I hear God’s voice in this reading offering a blessing to Jesus in the words “In whom I am well pleased.” In that blessing I see God as the most perfect parent, having come to earth in Jesus to help us know that God understands us well and, in understanding us, helps us to know this loving God. In our baptism we hear God’s word to us, “You are my child too and I love you!”
Thank you, Lord, for claiming us as your children in our baptism and for loving us with all our weaknesses and frailties. Help us to love as you love without question and without expectation, but simply because you love us so that we too can love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.