Affirming Your True Identity

The Baptism of Jesus

At his baptism, as Jesus was praying, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on his in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus’ identity was often challenged throughout his life. In fact, he will move directly from baptism into the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and to be tempted and tested in the desert by the adversary, satan. It is no coincidence that two of the three temptations begin, “IF you are the Son of God,…”
Years ago, Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., was interviewed by a TV reporter. The interviewer noted that her remarkable work seemed to have such a strong grip on people . . . that it moved those who visited the memorial with a deeply emotional experience. The reporter asked Maya Lin about why that might be so. She replied, “It’s the names. The names are the memorial. No edifice or structure can bring people to mind as powerfully as their names.”
It is important to be named . . . to have a name . . . to know your name . . . to have your deepest, most authentic identity affirmed. Jesus heard that from his Father. We must hear that from God as well in our baptismal identity. “You are my son/daughter, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
The world and society around us are seeking to deconstruct us everyday and rebuild us into something we were not created to be. I believe that a major part of the Christian spiritual life is about hearing again the name that is foundational to the personhood each of us are invited to live into. We forget who we are. We forget what is fundamental to our personhood. We forget the basic nature of our very DNA. In some sense, Christian spirituality is about remembering, then living more fully into our God-given, God-ordained identity.

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