God's image as our compulsion to love
it's a constant process. So many people they can't "see" God and so God gets mixed in with religion and it all becomes part of this whole cultural exhistance. The truth is we can "see" God if we are looking through the lense of the Holy Spirit...I can see Him in you, In the face of the poor and hungary, In the kindness of strangers, even in nature or unbelievers because they all carry traces of the Image of God
Jesus is moments from taking his last breath. Hanging on the cross, totally mutilated, exhausted, and surrounded by the darkness that had fallen at mid-day. Then Jesus asks a simple question of His Father. “Where are you, why have you abandoned me?”( Matthew 27) And the word abandoned is rooted in this imagery of being made an outcast. An outcast from what? It seems to be, from the intimate presence of God. Much like Adam and Eve after their sin, when God removed them from the garden. Their interaction with God changed. And it was sin that caused Jesus’ interaction with God to change at that moment, our sin, the sin of humanity. It seems Jesus was abandoned for a moment so that we could have acceptance forever.
I’ve never met anyone who was happy to be stood up, or excited to be left at the altar. It’s a horrible feeling and it quickly changes the way we perceive the world around us. In my early twenties I spent many of my weekends hanging out at bars and clubs, the swanky ones with the pulsing sub-woofers and drinks served from real glasses and a dress code. There was always a bouncer, that single solitary figure standing between you and what you only hoped would be the best night of your life, since last weekend. And most nights getting in was no big deal, flash the ID, get the glow in the dark stamp, and be about your business. But every once in a while something would go a little askew. The cover would be astronomical, or my over-priced pre-ripped jeans wouldn’t be acceptable for the dress code, or occasionally there would be a bouncer who just straight up didn’t believe the guy on my license was me. Let’s be honest I was insecure enough as it was, so being rejected but what I could only assume was either A. an ex Conn or B. a police academy reject, made me pretty upset. It would start with, “ I deserve to get in. It’s my right, and would wind up somewhere around, This club sucks any way, that guy’s a moron, I’m out of here.
And that’s how it goes. One min we’re waiting in line with great anticipation of something great, the next min. we’re considering putting a call in to the health inspector to “report some rats.” Because not only are we never going to that club again; We are going to do everything in our power to make sure none of our friends, family, or social network, go either.And isn't that how we as Believers act sometimes. We act as some sort of pseudo-spiritual bouncer for the kingdom. It's a whosever will may come with an "as long as" clause. Whether it be corporately or individually we make these little judgment calls on who is and who is not a good candidate for community and ultimately grace. WIth that rejection comes the repercussions. The Church has found so much of it's identity in what it's against that we miss out on the opportunity to show people what we are for.
Why is rejection so hard for us? God in his very nature is an eternally relational being. Genesis points out the when man was created God said, “let us make man in our image”. It would seem the dialogue is happening between God the Father, God the Spirit, and God the Word. Which isn’t quite as strange as it sounds. Don’t we do this all the time. Twelve o’clock rolls around and your body gets hungry, and your emotions say I want a steak, and your mind reminds you that you can’t afford steak, and this internal dialogue between your brain, your emotions, and your physical need starts to happen until a decision is made. We are a less complex, assimilation of a God who is both personal and expansive. We are created in the image of that eternally relational being and thus it would seem rejection is contrary to the very foundation of our creation.
The longer I am a believer the more I really question if the Great Commandment and the ten commandments and the Levitical law and the letters of Paul that we have made such cemented Dogmas around are not more descriptive than prescriptive. I completely take II Timothy 3:16 at face value. I hold fast that the Word of God is true. But also try to be very clear that I worship The God of The Bible NOT the Bible itself. I really think much of that stuff was written as a survival guide and a love letter. Some of it was very culture specific for a people and a time and most of it is transcendent, good, applicable stuff. Love God & Love Others seems pretty relational to me, coming from a God who designed us in His image. A God that takes up titles like husband and father, a God who asks us to pray for his Kingdom to come, so that the space between Heaven and earth can close in just a little bit more each day.
We can "see" God if we are looking at each other through the lens of the Holy Spirit...I can see Him in you, In the faces of the poor and hungry, In the kindness of strangers, even in nature and those who are not yet saved, Because all of creation carries these traces of the Image of God. When we reject them we reject him. We love because HE first loved us. He Gave us the first fruits, the top quality selection, of His love. As we recieve that love we begin to see humanity as Image Carriers. We place value you on our believing brothers and sisters, we gain a compassion for the broken and the hurting, we tap into a desire to communicate with those who are not relationally engaged with God the Father to hear their story, share our own, and pray that the power of the gospel compels their soul to light up and walk out it’s deepest destiny. To know and be known. Love Others.