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You Are My Beloved – 5 Marks of Love: Week 1 | Day 2

God says to each of us, “You are my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Br. Mark Brown explains how the very first sign of God’s Mission, before all the others, is that we are called into a mutual, reciprocal relationship of love with the Living God. 

Question: Can you hear those words that Jesus heard spoken to you?  Can you say those same words back to God?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Write a Letter to God


Transcript: I think the first and foremost – the primary – Mark of Mission or sign of God’s love and action in the world is that we’re called into relationship with the living God, and we’re called into a relationship of love that’s mutual and reciprocal.  And we see this in scripture in a couple of places.  At the very beginning of the gospel of Mark, we see Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  And a voice from heaven is heard saying, “You are my beloved.  With you I am well pleased.  I delight in you.”  And Jesus doesn’t hear these words because he’s been out on mission and that he has deserved to be beloved of God.  But he simply hears these words spoken from heaven and then he takes some time to absorb them.  The 40 days in the wilderness are a time of absorption of the reality of this love of God for him, and that God delights in him.  And from that, a sense of God’s love, emerges his mission.

And we’re now that body of Christ.  We’re the risen body of Christ in a sense, and we can hear those words addressed to us: that we are God’s beloved in whom God delights, and with whom God is well pleased.  And we are called together, and we worship God individually and all together, as the church, offering praise and worship to the God who has offered us this love. And we’re invited, indeed, to return that love, to reciprocate that love.

We see this happening at the very end of the gospel of John where Peter says to Jesus three times, “Yes, I love you.  Yes, I love you.  Yes, I love you.”  Jesus has asked him three times, “Do you love me?  Do you love me?  Do you love me?”  “Yes, I love you.”  And what’s important to God, it seems to me, is that we not only that we know that we’re loved by God but that we return that love to God.  And it’s in that relationship of mutual delight, and mutual love, that we find the power, the strength to do what God asks us to do on mission.

So here’s a question.  Can you hear those words that Jesus heard at the Jordan River, “You are my beloved.  With you I am well pleased.  With you I am delighted.”  Can you hear those words spoken to you today?  And can you say those same words back to God, “You are my beloved and I delight in you?”

– Br. Mark Brown

Question: Can you hear those words that Jesus heard spoken to you?  Can you say those same words back to God?

1-letterfromgodWeek 1 Activity: Write a Letter to God
Slowly writing out our words of love for another person can be a meditative practice that connects us in a deep way. This week, spend some time hand-writing a letter to God.  What would you say? How might you express your love for God in words?

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

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45 Comments

  1. Jaan Sass on March 2, 2017 at 18:39

    I really struggle with this because of the brokenness and sadness in my life. This is similar to the Parable of the valuable coins in Matthew 25:14-29 where the Rich man leaves to go on a trip and entrusts his servants with some of his wealth. I feel at times like the fool who buried his master’s wealth out of fear. I can hear what the wealthy man said to him “Now take the worthless servant and throw him outside into the darkness.” CEB Matthew 25:30a
    I would like to hear “His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.” Matthew 25:23. I deal with personal mental health issues and in the past addictive behavior that has held me back and sabotaged myself more than once. Recently I have been learning to love myself as Christ’s sees me and I am in a healthy relationship, counseling, proper medication, and a healthy parish have helped me accept myself and feel included but I don’t know if I could hear Jesus saying, my beloved.

  2. Cherie on March 2, 2017 at 12:11

    It is not humility, but grievous error, to decline to believe that I am God’s Beloved. THIS is the place where deepest joy is found. THIS is the place where I am filled to overflowing, so that I can share blessing with others. How can I respond, but by saying to God and to all of his creation – corporately and individually – you are my beloved, in whom I delight?

  3. Alexandra on March 1, 2017 at 20:05

    Towards the end of today’s Ash Wednesday service, I heard God say “You are my beloved, and I delight in you.” Tears of joy and immense gratitude!!! A wonderful way to begin the season of Lent.

  4. Stan on February 28, 2017 at 21:32

    Can I hear those words spoken to me today? And can I say those same words back to God? Wow. That’s quite a question. I had to stop for a while with that question. As with so many humans, it’s not real difficult to Feel love, but to actually proclaim it? To actually say “I love you” to someone can often be difficult. We hesitate to utter those words because that acknowledgement somehow seems to change things. I’m not so sure that I can even say it to a person (or being) that I really don’t even know or understand. Yet … once those words are uttered, there is a tremendous sense of release … My Lord, thank you for your wonderful love. I can feel it, and now I want to tell you that I truly love you, too. There! I’ve said it. It’s done. And suddenly the sadness and the burden of holding back is released. What a sweet feeling …

  5. Cynthia on February 28, 2017 at 19:22

    It’s hard for me to believe those words are meant for me. I once sat in church and listened to a Priest describe trying to avoid an encounter with one of “those” church members. I don’t remember the exact adjectives it doesn’t matter- it wasn’t complimentary. I joined in the nervous chuckles but privately something was crushed inside of me because I was “that” member. It is a shame that can bring tears to my eyes all this time later. I’ve kept the shame of that moment buried inside. I don’t talk to people about it because it is embarrassing. I didn’t seek out the priest because it wasn’t a disagreement or misunderstanding that could be discussed and worked through. Why put them on the spot?
    I’ve struggled with feelings of inadequacy all my life. I wonder if a person of God views me like this what hope do I have with Jesus? Hopefully there is a place in God’s kingdom for the uncool unchosen person like me?

    • Pam on March 1, 2017 at 09:26

      The Prodigal Son received forgiveness from his father even before he opened his mouth. He had decided what he would say, but he never got a chance. God has long ago forgiven you for whatever it was, and all you have to do is to accept that forgiveness and to forgive yourself. Lent might be a good time to cast off the burden you carry. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is intended for just this sort of thing, and I’m sure a priest would be glad to go through it with you. God loves you no matter; you are most definitely chosen, and he is eager to set you free from the shame you carry. Restoration is the ministry of the church.

  6. Kathy on February 28, 2017 at 14:08

    Reading the words brings hearing them to me. Thank you for bringing the words of God to my listening ears. I am loved by God and therefore I seek to love all as He does.

  7. Verlinda on February 28, 2017 at 12:27

    Hearing those words is a powerful thing for me, especially in this season of life. When I’m working under a great deal of stress, I don’t always behave in a way that pleases God, and it’s reassuring to know that I am loved, as I am…and that reassurance helps me make the commitment to being more patient and loving with others.

  8. Lorna on February 28, 2017 at 10:57

    Beloved and Delight in God, for God, by God. How transforming!

  9. Linda King-Edrington on February 28, 2017 at 08:38

    Always seems easier to give love than to receive love and that God delights in me. In my heart I know God loves me beyond my comprehension but to receive still seems very hard.

    • David on February 28, 2017 at 12:06

      I agree, Linda. However, a few years ago I began to look at God’s love through a different lens, and that is, what have I done to merit His love. There wasn’t anything! I could say the right words (most of the time), but I had to deal with my own heart and what resided there. I could chip away at the mountain of sin little by little, but the mountain was still there – it was my nature! But, I realized the mountain was a mirage. My trust in Christ had annihilated that mountain and His blood covered the lens of almighty God when he considered me and the mountain was gone!. It’s His pure Love and Grace! Now, that’s something to do a backflip over, dear sister!

  10. Kristi on February 27, 2017 at 21:48

    I can certainly say those words to God but I think it’s much harder to imagine him saying those words to me, mainly because I feel flawed as a human being Who struggles with being the best person I can and often failing in that regard. Consequently it can be difficult for me to imagine God saying those words to me, even though I want to believe that he does love me and is well-pleased with me no matter what. It’s a struggle but once in a while I do feel something that resembles love & pride for me

  11. Michelle on February 27, 2017 at 17:39

    It’s kind of hard for me sometimes to just accept that I am loved by God and don’t have to *do* anything in particular. I feel like I’ve been put on this earth to accomplish some particular task, and most of the time, I don’t feel like I’m doing it. But I do love God very much. I am so grateful for the joy in my life and for never feeling alone when I am in pain and sorrow.

  12. Nancy Walter on February 27, 2017 at 16:59

    Delight is such a beautiful word. Thinking about it, I delight in God when I appreciate the beauty around me, or laugh with my husband, or enjoy a good meal.

    I only occasionally see myself as delightful, which may be a good thing, but I do have those moments of connection when I feel God’s love washing over me!

  13. Patricia on February 27, 2017 at 15:46

    I often hear God saying to me: “You are my daughter, my beloved.” I like that God is claiming me as His child; it makes me feel contained. And the best part is “With you I am well pleased.” This makes me smile; I really need this approval. But I do not say the same thing back to God. I am a drop in an ocean of Love; I cannot apprehend God’s immensity. I’m just grateful to be included in this vast ocean.

  14. Lisa Drew on February 27, 2017 at 15:35

    I hear God’s proclamation of love most clearly when gazing on natural wonders or enjoying time with grandchildren, but I carry that knowledge with me as a spiritual heating pad, warming me from inside and strengthening me during difficult times. I am challenged to find meaningful ways to tell God that I love and delight in God, especially with so much negativity and vitriol surrounding us these days. AS I hear God in nature and in children, I am hopeful that God hears me in the acts of caring and nurturing that I do for other children of God.

  15. Margaret Dungan on February 27, 2017 at 15:16

    I became aware of God’s love for me when I was at my most unlovable. It was very humbling but it has been with me ever since and I am so grateful. It has also changed how I see other people especially when they are not being
    very lovable.

    Margaret.

  16. Kake Huck on February 27, 2017 at 14:42

    “Beloved” still feels like too tender a word for the awesome power that created the universe.

  17. Roderic Brawn on February 27, 2017 at 11:17

    Dear God, you are my beloved, and with you I am well-pleased. Now, how do I act? What should be my mission. I think of the Darke carol, give my heart? From what I see it is enough. Still I pray the Holy Spirit guides me to make good choices for action.

  18. LyndA on February 27, 2017 at 10:36

    I work teaching young children. Each time I comfort a child, assuage a worry or receive a smile from a child,I feel God is saying this to me.

  19. David on February 27, 2017 at 10:29

    Jesus is the filter through which His Father’s words “… in Whom I am well pleased” finds me, as a Christian. I am loved through a perfect Savior who says “and the second is like unto it; love your neighbor…” My prayer: that my love for God might be manifested through my love for others. After all, You loved this neighbor enough to die for and I am eternally grateful. It’s all about You, Lord! Thank You.

  20. Stan Lewis on February 27, 2017 at 10:28

    I do hear those words, and I offer them back to God on a regular basis. My struggle lately, however, is that I feel as though I have not found favor in the eyes of someone with whom I care for very deeply. This is very hurtful and frustrating for me. Were it not for God’s ultimate love, I would be very despondent. His unconditional love gives me strength to keep loving that person, despite my hurt and frustration.

    • Beth on March 1, 2017 at 09:45

      Stan, that’s so difficult. One thing that helped me in a similar situation was to realize that the other person’s response had more to do with where they were in their own journey than it did with me or anything I had done. When people cannot see us clearly, often this is the case. We just have to keep on being loving, being open. I continue to pray for someone like this, and the steadfastness of that love over many years has taught me a lot, but I couldn’t do it without believing that God IS Love.

  21. judy on February 27, 2017 at 10:08

    This brings tears to my eyes; to be loved so profoundly, in spite of myself, is overwhelming.

  22. Pam on February 27, 2017 at 10:08

    Twelve or so years ago I was having a conversation with my pastoral counselor and in answer to a question about why I could not lead a group at church, II blurted out, “Because they’ll all know that I am worthless.” That shocked me. For 55 years I had no idea I felt that way about myself. After the session I sat in my car dumfounded. And then I saw the word “Beloved.” That was a turning point in my healing from an abusive childhood. Knowing that I was loved by God became the foundation of all the subsequent healing that I received. And do I love God in return. Absolutely. It was literally a moment of transformation. Even to write this brings tears to my eyes.

  23. gwedhen nicholas on February 27, 2017 at 10:01

    Thank you Br Mark.
    It is amazing how God works. I have been reading some books about how we are Gods’ beloved, very recently, and now here the same idea is expressed again. It is so freeing, and I feel so grateful, that I now know that I am Gods’ beloved. I knew Christ to be, but I didn’t know it for myself. Yes, I can say back to God “You are my beloved”, because I also have just come to the amazing realisation that I don’t have to do anything to gain this Love. I just need to be. I don’t have to do good works in order to “be saved”. I just need to do them in delighted response to Gods’ Love for me. I am already saved, because Christ already has the victory. Thank you Christ, my beloved.
    Gwedhen

  24. Laura Jean on February 27, 2017 at 09:43

    It took me a really long time to believe that I was God’s Beloved. And it took ‘God with skin on’ – other people loving me – to begin to believe it. Trusting God’s love for me has been life-changing. And now I try to share that love with others.

  25. Pamela Post-Ferrante on February 27, 2017 at 09:42

    For many years I only believed in God and not Jesus. Then in my early forties I was diagnosed with cancer, my father died, and soon my marriage ended and I lost my home, but Jesus started showing up in my dreams. They were powerful , unexpected displays of my needing him and his wanting me.
    Mostly now, it is a cooler relationship, I believe in his power, but perhaps not in his love for me. Although I sometimes sing the children’s song “Jesus loves me”- to myself.

  26. Bryan Cook on February 27, 2017 at 08:59

    Brother. Mark reminded me that I along with all others are part of the risen body of Christ, which we celebrate through Holy Communion. As such, I should be able to say not only to God but to my fellow person , regardless of age, persuasion or deed, that “You are my beloved and I delight in you”. This is much more easily said than done. To do so means I have to recognise and accept that God has through the sacrifice of his Son already forgiven all our sins. Often I find it hard to forgive myself let alone others. Why are religions of love always at war with eachother when the sacrifice of forgiveness has already been made? I will try harder to say these words to myself and others; I know it will help encourage Serenity. Thanks, Bryan

  27. Patricia on February 27, 2017 at 08:51

    Actually, I usually cannot hear God telling me I am His beloved. I don’t think he is very pleased with me. I am working on being worthy of God’s love.

    • Stacey Barrack on February 27, 2017 at 13:34

      {{{Hugs}}} You ARE worthy. You are a child of God. That is enough!

    • Doris on February 28, 2017 at 11:44

      Love Love Love You are Loved. Love yourself! Thank God for loving you as you! Lovely you!!!! Thank Him for your toothbrush! Thank Him for your day, for you friends and family. Thank Him for the valleys to get closer to Him. Pray always, thanking Him for making you so wonderful!!

    • Marie on March 9, 2017 at 14:22

      Approximately one year ago, I was in Church, listening to a sermon and it was the first time in my life that I left the service feeling …angry ( for lack of a better word). The sermon had essentially been about hearing God when he speaks to us and feeling his love. I thought “well that’s all well and good for you, but I’ve never experienced any of that”. I felt like I was the only one…and this led me to feel…well…unworthy. It wasn’t until the next morning, when I was writing about it in my journal that it occurred to me that God has spoken to me in a thousand little ways…and that in every moment where I felt truly alone and isolated, God had sent me a sign that I wasn’t. A couple of very specific instances came to mind that to this day seem too fantastical but cannot be put off as coincidence.
      I still wonder most times whether or not I am worthy..but it’s a nice place to be in when you realize that sometimes you just may be.

  28. Bruce Pegg on February 27, 2017 at 08:47

    I am a part of the Lay Preacher Program in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. Here is the text of the sermon I preached yesterday:
    https://brucepegg.com/2017/02/26/you-are-my-beloved-in-you-i-am-well-pleased/
    It tells the story of a time when I heard those words spoken to me. I hope my words offer comfort to anyone who is struggling the way I was at the time.

    • Stacey Barrack on February 27, 2017 at 13:32

      Great Sermon! Thank you for reminding us to be mindful when making the trip to the alter for Eucharist.

      • Bruce Pegg on February 28, 2017 at 21:57

        Thanks for the kind words, Stacey! I am glad my words had meaning for you.

    • Justy on February 27, 2017 at 19:21

      Thank you for that sermon. I struggle as a widow of 20 months after 53 yrs. of marriage. Some days are better than others as I travel this new road-more valleys than mountain tops. When I am really down I find that God seems to send me messages of love in nature.

      • Bruce Pegg on February 28, 2017 at 22:06

        Justy–sending healing prayers to you tonight. You are loved by God, and that love will see you through to the next chapter of your life.

  29. Lynn on February 27, 2017 at 08:35

    I’m like Audrey. There are days when I hear those words and feel the love of God surround me. Then there are other days. On those days when I feel distant from him, I remind myself that God doesn’t change his mind about me. I’m always His child, always.

  30. Theresa on February 27, 2017 at 08:27

    I never fully understood God’ love and the unconditional nature of it until I had my children. Even so, never did I assume these words were meant for me. Living in a world where we tend to think more about how what we do defines us, it is something to think that God’s love for me has nothing to do with anything I might do, but simply just for being … I am amazed and overwhelmed by God’s love for me. His grace is inspiring. thank you Father for loving me.

    • Kathy on March 2, 2017 at 05:21

      I, too, can better understand God’s love for me because of my love for my children. I know of the hurt when one of them may seem to ignore me, be angry at me, or make a very poor decision even though I tried to set them on the right path. I know of the pure contentment when one of them spends time with me, mimics something that I do that they believed was difficult, or simply tells me they love me. I had this revelation one day in terms of how God must feel when I do the same and I cried.

  31. Lynn on February 27, 2017 at 08:27

    Do I delight in God? Oh my, what a question. I thank God and delight in what God has done for me. I delight in what God has created. I delight in the Word and what it means for me and all people. But when I really ponder it, this all sounds a bit childish and self-absorbed, a bit focused on “What have you done for me lately, God?” Thank you for challenging me.

  32. Audrey on February 27, 2017 at 07:43

    There are days when I cannot but again there are days that I do and many times it is through others when they seek me out and for e.g. yesterday when a parishioner wanted to be able to read the Daily Office but didn’t know where to get started and what a joy that was to be able to start her on her way.

  33. Ellen on February 27, 2017 at 05:34

    “A sense of God’s love emerges God’s mission”…what particular mission is God calling each of us in to? For me, this brings to mind two different mentalities of how we perceive the beloved-ness of God and how I seek to understand my particular mission. The first is a mentality that *requires* a sign, a proof, or irrefutable miracle..the second, a mentality of alliance…wherein we know God by loving ..and we seek to see others, and ourselves, with that same love, of being beloved. Christ knew that God was inside of Him..and in our connections with each other and the world. Our Beloved exists within and between..not exterior, to.

  34. Fr John E Harris-White on February 27, 2017 at 03:50

    Thank you.

    Those words of God sound so loud,loving, and clear.

    There can for me be only one response, thank you. Let me love you.

    A relationship that reflects the relationship of the Holy Trinity, bound in love by the Holy Spirit.

    Fr John

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