As I’m writing this newsletter message, we are bundling up to deal with the coldest winter I can remember in my 21 years in Connecticut. Radiators are struggling to keep up with household needs, water pipes are bursting, and cars are slow to start. This morning, the other pastors and I studied the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism, the text for Sunday, January 7. I’m glad it was much warmer where Jesus walked into the Jordan to be baptized by John! But I think what really warmed Jesus’ heart was hearing the voice of God declaring, “You are my beloved Son.”

Each of us has been washed in the waters of baptism, just like our brother Jesus. Each of us is a child of God, too, just like our brother Jesus. Each of us can call on the strength and nurturing of the Holy Spirit to live through all our days, just like our brother Jesus. So, knowing this, how do we face the challenges of life in this chaotic world?

Just like our brother Jesus, you and I are bombarded with the needs of the world: hunger, homelessness, sickness, death and political upheaval. Immediately after Jesus’ baptism and for three more years, our Lord faced hardships no one should have to conquer. And yet, Jesus persevered. He faced all that the world did to him and still continued to love even the unlovable.

Let us learn from our brother, Jesus. Persevere, provide for others and face the unexpected with the knowledge we are not alone on this journey called life. Each day, we walk with the Holy Spirit of God within us. God’s Spirit will never leave us. We can face any challenge with courage, hope and faith. And we can love others as we have been loved. Yes, even the unlovable. Thanks be to God for this marvelous grace.