"You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11 NRSV)

Harriett Beecher Stowe was a most successful writer. She achieved her first triumph as an author at the age of twelve. She was a student at Litchfield Academy. With the other Litchfield students she was required to submit an essay at the end of the term. Her essay was awarded first prize by the unanimous vote of the judges and was one of two read at the graduation exercises by the headmaster, John Brace. So outstanding was her paper, the audience applauded when it was read. When it was revealed that Harriett Beecher was the author of this paper, her father Lyman, pastor of the local church, smiled proudly. The smile of her proud father was a reward Harriett cherished as long as she lived. Her biographer said, "Neither the honors nor the success she won in later life meant as much to her as her father's smile." A father's smile--a mother's nod of approval. Powerful! Deep within the heart of every young person is the need to have a father or a mother say, "Well done. I'm proud of you. You're a good kid!"

Mark tells us that at Jesus' baptism he heard the voice of God saying to him, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased!" What a marvelous affirmation!

If anyone has ever said you are bad or worthless, remember, God said, "You are my beloved."

God of all people, remind me often that I am special, because I belong to you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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