Created in God’s Image
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Pastor Deb Kielsmeier
During Lent, we are looking at five values or faith principles of our annual theme, the ripple effect of faith. They are these five smooth stones on your faith practice cards. And will be the five themes of our Lenten mid-week services.
The first principle – is this: You have been created in God’s image and likeness. We first read about it in the very first chapter of the Bible. After God made the day and night, the stars and sun, the oceans and mountains, the fish in the sea and the birds of the air, after all that – God created human beings.
Genesis 1:27 reads “So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Verse 31 then adds, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”
What is the image of God all about? And why is it so fundamental to who we are, what we value and the way we treat others?
As human beings we possess a unique capacity to reason and reflect. We make memories and create meaning. And, like our Creator, we also create – It might be art, music, stories, gardens, programs, relationships, and the list goes on. And so, we are co-creators.
But we also have a unique capacity to be in relationship with our living God. It is more than just knowing ABOUT God, We can talk with, walk with and listen to Creator in a deep and intimate way. Indeed, we have been created for this relationship. Saint Augustine famously penned these words. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” This relationship with God is unlike all others and satisfies the emptiness and deepest longings of our hearts.
A pastor was walking one evening with his head down, lost in thought, and ended up in a restricted area of the city. A security guard stopped him and said, “who are you and why are you here?” The pastor looked at the security guard and said, “I will pay you twice your current salary if you stand outside my office and ask me those two questions every time I go in and out.”
“Who are you?” – we so easily forget. Here is God’s answer. You are of infinite worth. A child of God made in God’s own image and likeness. We have an intrinsic value – this is not something we earn. It is a gift from God. It is there whether or not you recognize it.
Look at a $20 bill. It is a printed piece of paper. It cost 16.1 cents to produce this bill. (I looked it up.) And is the exact same shape, size, and color as a $1 bill. But are these worth a few cents each? No way! How much are they worth? Well, we look to see whose image is on the bill. If George Washington’s = $1; Alexander Hamilton – $10; Andrew Jackson = $20. How much is a crisp, clean new Andrew Jackson bill worth? $20. How much is a dirty and tattered Andrew Jackson bill worth? $20. Why? It might dirty and tattered, but the image is still there.
Same is true of us. How valuable are we? Immeasurable value. Why? Because we bear God’s image. No matter our age, gender, race, or level of ability, all human beings have inherent worth and dignity.
The Spanish cellist Pablo Casals said,
“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”
You are a marvel.
And, “Why are you here?” Scripture tells us that you have been created to reflect God’s glory and love to the world. As God’s image bearers, we are given a very unique role in the created order to care for God’s creation. We see this in the scripture reading for today. As we work as stewards to care for creation and to bring healing and restorative justice, we reflect God’s glory to the world.
Who are you? You are a treasured child of God, a marvel, created in God’s very likeness. Why are you here? You have been created to uniquely reflect God’s image – God’s love, creativity, healing, and care for people and all creation.
Friends, Let us live into this foundational truth – and in so doing, cause ripples of faith for generations to come.