10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Yesterday during Journey of Faith, we talked about faith… what it is and what it looks like. What it brings to our lives – a discussion long not over with.
One of the points of discussion was around our images of God. You know – the one with God sitting with all the children around God’s feet… Or maybe the one of the blue-eyed Jesus, or God on a throne with a scepter. God with the vengeful eyes pronouncing judgement, or God holding the little lamb against God’s breasts.
We all have our images of God. But it made me think about our images we have of ourselves, also. See, from what we read in Genesis, all of us were made in God’s image. So, how does our image of God then inform us of who and what we are – made in God’s image.
This verse from Ephesians 2 has always been a verse that I hang on to. Maybe, just maybe that is part of the image that we have to hold on to for ourselves. That we are what God has made us. That we were created for good works; that we were made that way for our way of life.
In these tumultuous times that we find ourselves in, what does that even begin to look like? What does it say to you that you were created in God’s image, as God intended you to be? What does your image of God tell you about yourself? And what does all of that say about the good works we were created for?
What comes to mind for me is Matthew 25 – to do to the least of these…. It is also Micah 6:8 – to love mercy, do kindness and walk humbly with our God. And it brings to mind the lectionary reading for this week from Luke 4: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Because if that is the image of God, it is also ours.
The only way that we will heal our communities, this nation and the world is to live into the image of God – the image that God has created us to be. So let this year be the year that we set straight our society, our systems and our structures. Let us be the ones who are tolerant and reaching out, talking to those who we don’t always agree with. Let us give up a little of ourselves, or a lot, to step into the shoes of someone else, or even to experience their struggles in life. Let us be merciful and kind and walk humbly with our God.
And yes, my friends, I know it will not always be easy – we will miss the mark, defend our ego’s, stay in our bubbles. But do not let that stoop us to us work continuously to become a little more of that which God created us to be and for the good works God created us. So, we will change the world.
Grant that I may pass through the coming year with a faithful heart. There will be much to test me and make weak my strength before the year ends.
In my confusion I shall often say the word that is not true and do the thing of which I am ashamed. There will be errors in the mind and great inaccuracies of judgment.
In seeking the light,
I shall again and again find myself
walking in the darkness.
I shall mistake my light for Your light
and I shall drink from the responsibility of the choice I make…
Though my days be marked with failures, stumblings, fallings, let my spirit be free so that You may take it and redeem my moments in all the ways my needs reveal.
Give me the quiet assurance of Your Love and Presence. Grant that I may pass through the coming year with a faithful heart.”