“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (NRSV)
“You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” (CEB)
“You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.” (MSG)
Can you hear these words being spoken about you? Do you believe you are God’s beloved son or daughter? When I asked these questions to a group looking at Mark 1:1-11, most could believe that God loved them. What was harder to accept was that God was pleased with them.
And yet, the creation account in Genesis tells us we are made in God’s image. That doesn’t mean that God has a nose, mouth and ears like ours. It means that we are created with the spirit and qualities of God. In Ephesians 2:10, we hear these words: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
God’s masterpiece. If you create something, pour your heart and spirit into it, and call it a masterpiece, it naturally follows that you are pleased with it. Why would God create us and love us yet not find joy in us?
What makes the good news good for me is knowing that God finds happiness in me, that God considers me the pride of God’s life, marked by God’s love, chosen. We are all chosen. To be chosen does not imply ambivalence but instead proclaims devotion.
If we don’t believe that God finds happiness in us, then how can we believe God loves us dearly? And how can we approach God in faith if we are afraid of God’s displeasure? To believe we are forgiven and free, to believe in grace, is to believe that God is pleased with us, God’s dearest creatures.
For faith to be faith, there must be a deep knowing that we are God’s beloved, God’s masterpiece, that God stepped back from creating us and called us “very good.” Henri Nouwen says that when we know our own chosenness, it doesn’t make us arrogant. Instead it causes us to see that others are chosen as well. Knowing we are chosen causes us to want others to know their own chosenness.
You are God’s beloved, God’s masterpiece, the pride of God’s life! Live with that truth and your light cannot help but shine!