The Image of God
As we have looked at the theology of God in the church over the last few weeks, we have also been looking at how we view ourselves. The claim of the faith is that we have been given the power of God to become his children by Jesus, our first born brother.
The word we translate as “only” or “only-begotten” is monogenous in Greek. Literally it means first or only begun or born. It is used in many places outside the New Testament to refer to a first born son who had specific privileges and responsibilities. We will be looking at our theology of Christ on Wednesdays during Lent.
But for now believe this, the Spirit of God has been given to you because of Jesus Christ to be a child of God, a human being as you were designed to be. You were made to represent God in your life.
One part of how we represent God is how we treat other people. The call of Jesus as I understand it is that we are to love other people as if they were already a child of God as they were created to be, even if they are not yet aware of it, are not living into it, or even if they are rejecting it. We do this to represent the God who made us and them, to show our faith in God and his Son and our faithfulness as Jesus’ followers.
Last Sunday we saw a little glimmer of the church being a family beyond our cultural blindspots. We were together with our brothers and sisters from the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Rev. Canon Anita Braden. We sang together, worshipped together, and felt the presence of God moving over just one of the walls we let separate us from each other.
Sunday was awesome. We heard the Word of God spoken through Canon Braden as she reminded us to read our Bibles, know them, think on them, meditate on them. She reminded us that when we equip ourselves with the Word, the words will be there when we need them.
We live in a world that is not yet fully in God’s kingdom. We separate ourselves falsely and fall short of the call to be one family even at God’s table. But Sunday we saw a little glimpse of the kingdom lived in being together in God’s presence.
I was reminded of the joy that the Rev. Dr. Bradie Hopper, our deacon who passed last year, brought every week to worship no matter what his circumstances. He was a heroically joyful and kind. Sunday I heard his joy in our worship. Thank you for those who joined us.
Every week we get a glimpse of the hope we have in Christ of a world not divided but united in Christ. Join us this week.
And keep the Rev. Canon Anita Braden in your prayers. She was injured in a fall as we were wrapping up Sunday. Thankfully the Rev. Tim and Kathleen O’Leary, a nurse and friend, were there to get her help and see her cared for, along with Cathy Black and the extended family we become in church. We will continue to follow her recovery.
As Tim and I visited with her, she spoke with tears of joy and smiles in the midst of terrible pain of the love she felt at Christ Church. We both wept to hear her enthusiasm for you even as she winced in pain. She reminded me Paul’s letters come to life, deep love for the body of Christ gathered here. Keep her in our prayers, for we are one family.