A Sense of Belonging
The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased”
(Luke 3:15-17, 21-22.).
One of the most important needs for everyone is to have a sense of belonging. We are social beings that require support for our physical and emotional survival. It is woven into the fabric of our nature to be connected to others; this includes our culture, history, relationships, and faith. It does not take long for people to form groups around common activities, beliefs, political views, education, and social/cultural affinities.
In this gospel reading from Luke, Jesus is affirmed by his father as his “beloved.” Jesus comes up from the waters of our humanity at his baptism and there is a profound voice of affirmation of his bond and belonging not just to God the Father but to us.
One of the most difficult challenges for us is when our sense of well-being and belonging is threatened. We can often feel isolated and lost, fearful and worried. Here is a touch point for us at the baptism of Jesus. We all belong to God’s family!
We are gifted by that voice that affirmed Jesus and us now. We do not have to live in fear of losing our identity or sense of belonging when the tides of struggle, misunderstanding, loss or even the negative judgment of others. We belong to God’s family!
We belong as his people through Jesus Christ who braved the waters of our humanity with the embrace of forgiveness, love, compassion, and freedom. The tide has turned, and we belong to our Eternal Father with all the benefits of his full attention to our need and desire for belonging as when he created all things, and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters of creation, and through his son, saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:32).