In French, when people se tutoyer, they address one another familiarly. They use “tu” rather than “vous,” the “familiar you” rather than the formal one. The one for close friends and family.

Sunday was Baptism of the Lord Sunday, and our pastor pointed out that in Luke’s gospel, and in Mark’s, God addresses Jesus directly: “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And that the direct address communicates something: it’s more intimate, more familiar, more relational, than the third person reports we get in the other two gospels. Tutoyer, in fact.

We can imagine it having a profound effect on Jesus.

It has an effect on us, direct address. Even when we are being addressed directly and familiarly by other people – people we know. Sharing that ordinary, familiar conversation touches us, gathers us in, reminds us of who we are.

Our numbers are down once again, as our county is experiencing a lot of COVID cases, and people are taking precautions. But those of us who are worshiping in person benefit from the direct address.

This past Sunday, people had received “save the date” cards from our daughter, who is now officially and deeply enthralled in wedding plans. So the conversation involved a lot of “I remember when she was just so [gesture indicating toddler height] tall” and “congratulations!” and “can you believe it?” [No, not at all.]

It helps to hear all that. And to know that others, too, know us, and her, well enough to have that astonished feeling at seeing that wonderful little person being so grown up.

“You are my beloved …”


red line embellished

shadow of a dwarf peach on snow with snow-covered boulder

Image: “Snow day,” own work, public domain

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