We are the beloved

Beyond Ethics - Prayer

June 7, 2024 | Feature | Volume 28 Issue 8
Betty Enns |
Collage of images by Marek Piwnicki/Unsplash, Sunguk Kim/Unsplash, Anne Boese.

This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).


The scriptures tell us this loving, empowering presence of God is within us all. The heavens open and we are called beloved.


I have found that this reality must be chosen. It must be consciously received, recognized, honoured and drawn upon daily in order for the Holy Spirit to become a loving, living Christ-presence within us.


Cynthia Borgeault, an Episcopal priest and modern day mystic, says: “This inter-abiding is the primary quality of God’s Kingdom that Jesus came to reveal at Christmas time.” Each time we pray, we affirm that because of this inter-abiding there is no separation between God and us.


In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Abide in me as I in you.


I clearly recall kneeling to receive baptism at age 17. As Reverend Letkeman poured water on my head, it trickled down my forehead onto the carpet and he said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” As he extended his hand and raised me to my feet, it seemed as if the heavens opened and I was engulfed by peace. I heard, “You are my beloved daughter.”


That was my gift from God in that moment. Like the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, I would have liked to build a tabernacle there that day.


In subsequent decades, I have found these same moments intermittently break through as I walk life’s valleys, where God, as promised, restores my soul with the words, “you are my beloved,” or calls me to “be still and know I am God.”


Would words fail you if you tried to name your sacred mountaintop experiences—those moments in which you hesitated to even exhale for fear the overwhelming sense of presence, love, beauty and connectedness with God your Creator would end?

Such encounters, when we know deeply that something has occurred, leave us, like Mary, pondering these things in our hearts.


At all times, God desires for us to hear: “I have called you by name, I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palm of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness. I care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will not hide my face from you. Nothing, nothing, will ever separate us. We are one. You are my beloved, and I am yours. On you my favour rests.”


That’s the truth God longs for us to embrace.


Betty Enns is the author of Living Our Prayer: A Four-year African Adventure into Faith. The above article is adapted from a sermon she preached at her home congregation, Covenant Mennonite Church in Winkler, Manitoba.

Collage of images by Marek Piwnicki/Unsplash, Sunguk Kim/Unsplash, Anne Boese.

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