2nd Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

What is the greatest obstacle we face in being Christian? While there are as many possible answers as there are Christians in the world, I think a lot of our responses would be related to our struggle with temptation and sinfulness. We may identify particular difficulties, such as, jealousy, feeling judgmental, being unforgiving, or not acting overly compassionate. Sometimes when we think of being a Christian, or following our Lord Jesus, we reduce the strength or weakness of our faith according to a list of actions. If we do the right actions, then we’re ok. If we do the wrong actions, then we’re in trouble. While our actions, the moral life, are certainly central in our faith, I think focusing on them as the “be all and end all” is like putting the “cart before the horse.” The greatest obstacle we face as Christians is seeing ourselves through God’s eyes and knowing ourselves through God’s heart.

In this week’s readings we have a clear expression of who God sees when he sees us. The Prophet Isaiah writes, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified,” and also, it was God “who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord, and God has become my strength.” How is God glorified? Isaiah says that God is glorified in each of you! If we think of ourselves as constantly falling short of God’s desire and will, then we cannot help but see ourselves as a big disappointment for God. It is as if we think God must want to do a “do over” when it comes to us. And yet, the Scripture testifies that this is not only not the case, but in fact, God, the Creator of all that is, is glorified by us, God’s sons and daughters. Isaiah does not stop there. He goes on to write that the desire of God is that we “might be gathered to him.” Again, who does God see when he sees me? He sees the one he desires to gather and hold in his arms. God’s desire and love for us can even be more clearly seen and understood in the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Baptism of the Lord as told in John’s Gospel identifies Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God. John the Baptist declared of Jesus, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and remain on him... And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” For John the Baptist, the authority of Christ is undeniable – he is the Son of God. While we all believe this and proclaim it when we pray the Creed every Sunday, at the same time we can kind of forget the power of his authority. In the Lord, we see clearly who we are for God. We are so precious to him that he gives his very self. God is not content is just giving us the right way to live. God is after something much more. The Father desire to gather us into his arms. When we think of Jesus, we constantly see a God proclaiming his most tender love. And not just proclaiming it with words but showing it to us in his healing, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, trust and sacrifice. In Christ, God’s proclamation could not be clearer – we are loved eternally by the Father. As we live our lives and seek to live our faith, this is our foundation. Let us not doubt the authority of God’s revelation to us. Let us live from the revelation of God in Christ, that we are not a big disappointment for him, but we are his glory, we are his love.

God Bless, and Take Care!

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