Being the Beloved

Other than his origins, one of the first things we learn about Jesus is revealed immediately after his baptism. He came up out of the water and . . .

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” (Matthew 3:16-1)

We know that Jesus is the beloved and that the Father's favor rests upon him. Henri Naowen calls upon us to receive this into our own hearts as he echoes the call of God through Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. In the Ephesians passage Paul urges us to know the unknowable, that is, the depth and height and width of God's love for each of us. In Christ, we are the beloved.

As Naowen writes:

“You are the beloved, and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being — "You are the Beloved.”

Naowen, along with Paul and, indeed, Jesus Himself, desperately wants us to get it, to not only understand but to live out that understanding of our beloved-ness.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus' famous and oft-quoted call rings out to us, "Come to me, all [my beloved] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest."

But, Naowen laments, "how can I proclaim this unless I first know it of myself." One reason I believe this is not more widely proclaimed and believed is that so many of us struggle to actually apprehend it.

"I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother's womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and [I] care for you with a care more intimate than thatt of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you and wherever your rest, I keep watch." Inspired from: Isaiah 43:1, John 10:3 (Naowen)

Our great temptation is to self-rejection and our great challenge is to be the beloved.

The greatest gift we can bestow on others is the gift of the knowledge of their Belovedness. But first you must receive it yourself.