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'You Are Beloved'

Did you receive a Valentine’s card last Wednesday from your loved one? Maybe a special

token of affection from a mystery admirer? Did you receive a big red heart balloon from your beloved?

Last Wednesday, 14th February, as well as being Ash Wednesday, was Valentine’s Day. Originally a Christian feast day honouring a martyr named Valentine in the 2nd century, it has now become a significant cultural and commercial celebration of romance and love.

But don’t worry if you do not have a Valentine admirer because there is Good News for you, far better than a Valentine’s Day gift: God Himself calls you His beloved, He calls you His children, He calls you loved.

This Good News is clear in the Gospel reading for this Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent. In Mark 1: 9-15, Jesus is baptised before He is led into the wilderness for 40 days and nights. At His baptism, God the Father speaks in an audible voice, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased’. Jesus’ first and core identity is as God’s Son, the Beloved. 

Before Jesus did anything, spoke anything, achieved anything, the Father spoke out in a loud voice for all to hear – ‘Jesus, I love you, you are loved, you are my Son, my Beloved’.

For all who receive Christ, to those who believe in His name, He gives us the right to become children of God - children not born of natural descent but born of God. (John 1: 12-13). Our most true identity is first and foremost as beloved children of God. We are fully human when we know Jesus Christ personally as our Lord and Saviour – this is what we are created for.

As we journey through Lent - pausing, praying, reflecting and preparing for the season of Easter – let’s be sure to hold fast to who we truly are; Beloved children of God, certain of His love, confident in His faithfulness and secure in His grip. 

The Revd Jo Purle

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