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‘This is my beloved, in whom I am well pleased’

January 10, 2009
By The Rev. Harold A. Langevin Jr. Senior Pastor of the Ellamore Charge of the United Methodist Church

Have you ever heard the saying, "Bring up a child in the way they should go and they will never depart from it"? In the gospel according to Saint Mark 1:4-11, we read an account of John the Baptist. These verses tell us who John was, how he dressed, what he ate and that he was proclaiming to those who heard his voice that there was one mightier than he who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Now tell me, in this day and time, would you acknowledge any of what a John the Baptist-like character would be saying if he were proclaiming such declarations on the downtown streets of where you live? In Mark's account, John had such an impact as it is written "and there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and all were baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins" (Mark 1:5 KJV).

I wonder why our pastoral community does not have such an impact? Over the years, I have always been taken aback by the number of people at the Billy Graham Crusade who would make their way to the front stage to meet with counselors and give their life to Jesus Christ while the old hymn "Just As I Am" was being sung. The question I always had was how many of those people would find themselves in a church worship service that next Sunday. Not very many I suspect. The only difference is that people in John's time were looking for something.

They came expecting something. Do you, when you go to church, ask your Lord to fill you spiritually through some part of the worship experience? If you go not expecting anything, then, you won't be disappointed if that is exactly what happens. Nothing.

Can you imagine yourself on the banks of that river when Jesus appeared and was baptized by John? Wouldn't you have been spiritually filled if you could have seen the heavens open and the Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove? And to even hear the voice of God form heaven saying "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11 KJV).

Let's go back to that statement about raising up a child in the way they should go. Sometimes as parents, we fail miserably when trying to lead by example. And our children, at any age, believe that what we do they can do and it is perfectly alright. I believe it is time for parent(s) and their children to sit down for a heart to heart to really find out what makes us who we are. And then, include that "higher being" by whatever name you want to call it.

There is a song I remember from the early 1970s that said in part, "Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him there is no other, Jesus is the way." Opportunities are there for everyone to worship and I want to encourage everyone to do that. On Sunday, go to church with the expectation of being spiritually filled. Then just maybe you will hear God's voice saying, "This is my beloved, in whom I am well pleased." See you in church.

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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