“Let Us Make Humankind In Our Image. . .” (Genesis 1:26)

The following quotes arrived in my inbox overnight:

“Like humility, generosity comes from seeing that everything we have and everything we accomplish comes from God’s grace and God’s love for us… Certainly it is from experiencing this generosity of God and the generosity of those in our life that we learn gratitude and to be generous to others.”

―Desmond Tutu, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time, p. 86

You have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: “These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”

-Henri Nouwen

White Christians should be leery of our own judgments; we are primed by culture to oppress and primed by religion to think God is on our side. 

– Caroline McTeer

Genesis 1:26 is the passage of scripture through which I heard these quotes this morning. It underscores God’s emphatic decision not only to create humankind, but to create humankind in God’s own image. The idea is that we are all created in God’s image and that whatever it may mean that we are created in God’s image remains with us and in us as we live the life God has given to us. God has left a mark on us. We are bearers of God’s image.

At times, I struggle to see that image in the words and actions of some human beings these days. Much of our public discourse these day moves quickly to blur, deny, or obliterate the reality of God’s image in us all. We seem to find it easier to oppose someone that we are able to think of us as less than human. Yet, every time i see what I thought I would never see in our country, and every time I see what I never wanted to see again in our country, I try to remember what I believe. I try to remember that I believe all of us humans are created in God’s image even when what I am seeing and hearing makes me wonder if what I believe can possibly be true.

Obviously, being created in the image of God does not prevent us from making mistakes. Neither does it free us from doing ugly, awful, and criminal things to one another nor the necessity of being held accountable when we do such things.

Yet, at a minimum, what I think that it means that we are all created in God’s image is that there is something of God in each of us and that we are all loved and cherished by God. Those of us who voted for Trump are loved by God. Those of us who voted for Biden are cherished by God. Those of us who voted for a third party candidate or who did not vote at all are loved and cherished by God.

What remains to be seen is what difference it will make that we are all created in the image of God? What would it look like in this nation that many want to characterize as a Christian nation for the human beings living here to treat one another as they want to be treated by others?

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