Today’s sermon, preached on Baptism of Christ Sunday, is here. In worship we also celebrated the Baptisms of Remi Lyn Horne and Lydia Grace Atwood. It was a joyful day!

Some wanted a copy of the “letter,” inspired by Isaiah 43, written out. It is here, if it’s useful to you:

Dear Beloved,

I am so glad you were born. From the first I dreamed of you, I’ve loved you, and when I breathed you into being, I celebrated your arrival in this world.

I wish I could tell you my love for you will bless you so well you will never know danger or challenge, but that’s not the way this world works. You will know love and heartbreak here, that’s your right. And no blessing of mine will take that from you.

But, beloved, do not be afraid.

I have created you, redeemed you, blessed you, named you “Beloved.”

I will be with you when the waters rise and the days are hard,

I will be with you when trouble comes and it seems you will not survive,

I will be with you.

And I will send you the companions you need for this journey. Those present at your baptism, and I will also send: guides, angels, rescuers, friends, comforters, teachers to you.

I make these promises not because you’re perfect (we both know you’re not) or because I know you will somehow merit them. I promise you all this simply because that’s how my love works.

This world will offer you many names. Remember always that I have named you first: beloved is who you are.

Love always, God.