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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 3:21–38

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph son of Heli, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er, son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Sala, son of Nahshon, son of Amminadab, son of Admin, son of Arni, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God. (NRSV)

This long list of names might seem meaningless because so many of the people included are unknown to us. Their names are hard to say, and the list goes on and on. Who cares! But if we look a little deeper, we can begin to pick up the secret message that Luke has hidden in this long list.

Jesus, of course, comes from God and is part of the family of God. But according to Luke, Jesus also comes from the archetypal parents of all humanity. Every tribe, every people group, every town, city, and nation is populated by the descendants of Adam and Eve, the first children of God. So Jesus is related to us all.

I once made the effort to learn the names of my mother line, so that I could honor and recite my ancestry of women. I am the daughter of Grace Marie, the daughter of Nellie Ann, the daughter of Nellie Sarah, the daughter of Martha. But what Luke’s lineage of Jesus reminds us is that although we come from a long line of humans, as Jesus did, like him we are also children of God, tied back to the original parents. We are diverse in the particulars of our families, but we are all part of the same humanity and all part of the family of God.

In the baptism story, the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in a bodily form, spirit made flesh, and with the physical form comes a verbal blessing. In our own baptisms God speaks words of love to us, too.

O Holy God, help me to remember and understand that I am part of the wide, diverse human family, all of us created by God and beloved. Let me live out my baptism by receiving that blessing of love, and let me share it by honoring all of God’s children. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Minister for Congregational Life

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