Ellia was baptized this morning. Several weeks ago, she came to Brett to let him know she was ready-- she spoke with certitude about her desire to follow Jesus-- to take seriously her call to be a disciple. Brett had the privilege to baptize Ellia. When someone is immersed symbolically in the death of Jesus and brought out in the newness of life, we all have the opportunity to reflect on the powerful mystery of Christ in us-- the hope of glory. Brett wrote a profoundly important letter to Ellia today, but it is a strong word for us as well.
Just now, Ellia got out of bed to come read me the letter:
On the day of your baptism: December 7, 2014
This morning, just before your baptism, I read Mark's account of Jesus' baptism. The heavens were torn open, the Spirit descended like a dove, and The Voice… The Voice said, "You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased." Not "THIS is my beloved," but "YOU are my beloved." Mark presents it as if no one else heard those words, as if the Father just whispered it into Jesus' ear.
When your mom and I baptized you this morning, you were entering into Jesus' own baptism. You followed Jesus into the waters, you participated with him in his death, and you were raised to walk in a new life. And the identity of Jesus is now yours. My prayer for you is that your ears become tuned to The Voice. The Voice of the Father which whispers into your ear, "YOU are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased."
There will be so many other voices in your life, Ellia. So many other voices trying to tell you who or what you are. But remember, at your core, at the heart of who you are, you are the beloved Child of God. I pray that this truth sinks from your head down into your heart, that you're able to close your ears to to any other voice that tries to define you in any other way. You, Ellia Gibson, are the beloved child of God.
And, it so happens, you're also my beloved child. I'm so proud of who you are and who you are becoming. Know that I will always be with you on the journey and will pray for you. With you, I am well pleased.
With all my heart,