Baptism of Jesus: Beginning with Beloved

Blessing the BaptismImage: Blessing the Baptism © Jan Richardson

Reading from the Gospels, Epiphany 1/Baptism of Jesus: Mark 1.4-11

And just as he was coming up out of the water,
he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending
like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my Son, the Beloved.”
–Mark 1.10-11

Beginning with Beloved
A Blessing

Begin here:


Is there any other word
needs saying,
any other blessing
could compare
with this name,
this knowing?


Comes like a mercy
to the ear that has never
heard it.
Comes like a river
to the body that has never
seen such grace.


Comes holy
to the heart
aching to be new.
Comes healing
to the soul
wanting to begin


Keep saying it
and though it may
sound strange at first,
watch how it becomes
part of you,
how it becomes you,
as if you never
could have known yourself
anything else,
as if you could ever
have been other
than this:


–Jan Richardson

P.S. I have a number of previous reflections on the Baptism of Jesus; for links, visit this post: Baptism of Jesus: Washed.

A Gift for You…

Wise Women Also Came

Celebrating Women’s Christmas: Originating in Ireland, Women’s Christmas is celebrated on Epiphany (January 6) as an occasion to take a break at the end of the holidays. I’ve created a new retreat as a gift especially for you to use on Women’s Christmas—or whenever you’re in need of some time to reflect and rest. The retreat is available to download as a PDF at no cost. You can find the retreat by visiting this post on my Sanctuary of Women blog:

Women’s Christmas 2015: Illuminating the Threshold

Using Jan’s artwork…

To use the image “Blessing the Baptism,” please visit this page at (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

6 Responses to “Baptism of Jesus: Beginning with Beloved”

  1. anne Says:

    Thank you so much Jan, this is quite beautiful and something I shall ponder greatly

  2. Merle Says:

    Beloved, BeLoved, BELOVED!! Oh how wonderful. It wraps all the love, caring, compassion, and belonging into one beautiful word. Thank you!

  3. Carol Westphal Says:

    Your poem reminds me of this poem by Raymond Carver:

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

    Thank you!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Carol, thank you! I love this Raymond Carver poem; thanks so much for sharing it here. Raymond Carver’s work started showing up shortly after Gary died, and has continued to pop up throughout this past year, with an air of having been sent, so it came as a particular delight to see him appear in your comment.

      Thank you again! Many blessings to you.

  4. Yvonne Says:

    How truly amazing and so special are your gifts. Thank you for sharing with us all.

  5. Jan Richardson Says:

    Friends, thanks so much for your comments and the gift of your words. I am grateful! Blessings to you, and may you know yourselves beloved indeed.

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